“Discipline allows magic. To be a writer is to be the very best of assassins. You do not sit down and write every day to force the Muse to show up. You get into the habit of writing every day so that when she shows up, you have the maximum chance of catching her, bashing her on the head, and squeezing every last drop out of that bitch.” ~Lili St. Crow
I am not going to lie, the last semester of graduate school kicked my butt and I stopped writing every day. I am a bit perturbed because it took me so long to get into the habit the first time. I am still struggling with it now. (Hunting for a day job doesn’t help either). But that is me.
I’ve heard many writers say there is no such thing as writer’s block. I don’t know whether or not I agree myself. I think that writing is such an intensely personal thing that I can’t know if it exists for other writers. However, I do know one thing; it does exist for me – sort of. Please, let me explain. When I do not want to write there is usually a reason. I suffer from writer’s anxiety, writer’s depression, and writer’s fear. I occasionally suffer from writer’s denial of reality. Overall, I think it is easier just to say writer’s block.
When I don’t want to write or feel blocked it is usually because I don’t want to face the reality of the situation. There is an underlying emotion that the writing is bringing up and I want to run away from the emotion. And I can’t write about it and still run away from the emotion. (I never said I played nice with my emotions). It isn’t always that I am trying to run away from my emotions.
Occasionally, I have written myself into a corner and don’t know what is going to happen next. Or, I know what is supposed to happen next, but it doesn’t feel right. And the plan looks like it is falling apart. I don’t handle the plan falling apart well; it might be a slight tendency towards perfectionism. At this point, I start to avoid the page because I don’t know what to do. And I am afraid of failure.
If I don’t write – I can’t get it wrong. I know. I know. It is not exactly logical.
However, if I am smart, I ask myself what is wrong? For example, I am working on my rewrite in a two-pronged way. I am writing the chapters out longhand and I am typing up the longhand chapters. Not the most efficient method ever, but it works. I think. The point being, I am still stuck on how to make Chapter 24 work; it is the lynchpin of the novel. I really don’t want to screw it up. Even more, I don’t want the plan to fall apart.
So in an effort to do something productive towards the rewrite, I have been typing up the longhand chapters I have. I came upon Chapter 16 and realized the longhand version is wrong. I couldn’t explain it to myself. I looked at it again and realized I needed to do my research.
This ended up with me looking up how to write an alphabet encryption and creating a cipher. I haven’t written the new Chapter 16 yet, but now I know what is happening. I have a better mental picture of where the chapter is going and a clear path to connect it back to the overall plot of the novel. It took me staring at the screen, getting frustrated, and then scribbling in my journal to realize I needed to do my homework.
That worked for me. I don’t know whether or not it would work for others. I figured out what makes me tick and actively work towards keeping the words flowing. That doesn’t mean I don’t hit fits and starts sometimes. Now I know not to stop writing for six months, but actively go back to the page and try to figure out what is going on so I can fix it and move forward.
©K. Klein 2012