I don’t suffer from Writer’s Block. People talk about it, but I’ve never comprehended it. All my short stories are centred around a clear idea and they are easy to write, start to finish. The broad principle of combating Writer’s Block is simple – just sit down and write with the internal editor turned off.
I don’t believe in Writer’s Block, but I’ve hardly written a word on my novel in the last two months. The end of the novel is nigh. I can touch it. It’s the final scene, perhaps with a denouement to come. I know what’s supposed to happen. But I’ve tried several times, and the ending isn’t working. I wrote a hundred words a few nights ago, and then realised I had already written those hundred words a few days before.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary describes Writer’s Block as ‘a psychological inhibition preventing a writer from proceeding with a piece.’ Presumably I don’t suffer from psychological inhibitions, but I’ve not written a blog for two months either. I’ve not had anything I’ve wanted to share about the progress of my novel, probably because there is no progress.
A blog I read regularly says that you need to write shitty first drafts and I am all for this. So I tell myself to just finish the bloody novel. I suspect there are less than 5,000 words to go, which I could finish in a rush if I put my mind to it. But each time I open the novel I find new plot flaws that leave me stymied. This shouldn’t be a major issue because I know of other plot flaws earlier in the novel, and I will fix these in the second draft.
Time is not an issue. My work life balance has moved dramatically in 2012, perhaps too dramatically away from work. When work was busy I squeezed writing into tiny spaces. Now, with big open spaces, I fear to walk into them. I developed a good strategy for turning out words – 300 words a night just before sleep only takes 30 minutes. And if I do this 5 times, I deliver 1500 words a week, which is perfectly acceptable given I have a full-time job.
There are things to learn as I work through this. The 10,000 word outline for my novel is too short and vague. The plot elements required to bring the final scene alive have not been properly thought through. The next novel will have a longer, more detailed outline.
The internet has lots of clues to break through Writer’s Block. I’ve read several of them. They’re no use. There’s only one answer. I’m going to publish this crappy blog, and then tomorrow I’m going to get the three pages of the current chapter out, spread them on a desk, get some blank paper and write by hand. No more of this computer stuff. Just write and write until my hand aches. Then I’ll write some more. It’ll be shit, but I want to yell to the world that I’ve finished the first draft. You won’t be able to read it because it won’t be ready, but then I can get on with the next step – editing.
There’s no such thing as Writer’s Block.
I’ll let you know how I get on.