I admit the concept of writer’s block has been foreign to me. I’d always pictured it as a person sitting over their computer, struggling to produce a single word. Like a piece of wood had been wedged between his/her brain and fingers.
The idea was foreign to me because I’ve always been able to write. I have so many ideas for sketches, stories, novels, blog posts, etc… that I’ve never struggled to product words. And if I jump from one idea to the next, so be it. I’ll typically get everything done that I want to.
However, I’ve recently run into a problem and suddenly wonder if it’s what writer’s block really means. At least to some people:
My most pressing project is book 2 of The Gay Teen’s Guide to Defeating a Siren. Now, I can sit down at any time and write random scenes from it. In fact, I have several that aren’t going to make it into the final novel. I know and love the characters enough that I can put them in about any situation and write about it.
The issue I’m running into is I can’t decide where the novel itself needs to go. Essentially, I’m struggling with the overall outline for my book. Consequently, I’m having trouble actually writing because I don’t see a path in my head. It may not be textbook writer’s block, but it’s really frustrating. Nothing I write feels correct to the overall plot so I don’t write on the project. Instead, I find myself jumping onto other things because they feel more solid.
I’ve taken tons of walks, written pages of notes, created character sheets, etc… But it’s not quite clicking. And, according to my previous article on sequels, doing book 2 right is crucial. The main thing I’m worried about is a huge gaping plot hole. And, with previous outlines, I’ve already uncovered several. So it’s making continuing very tricky.
So I feel blocked in that sense.
How am I overcoming it?
Truth be told, I wouldn’t say I’m over it yet. But I am, slowly but surely, writing. And the way I’m doing that is also foreign to me. See, I like to have a rough outline of an entire story in my head before I begin writing. I often veer from that outline, but I like to have it there to give me a sense of direction. When I wrote my very first longer piece, I did it by the seat of my pants…and it was a big humongous gigantic mess. Since then, I’ve found I work better with direction.
But with book 2, I can’t see the finish line. And that’s scary! It’s Richard Scary:
OK that was completely unrelated – and his name is Richard Scarry – but how cute is Lowly the Worm? SOOO CUTE!
Anywaaaaay, what I’m ultimately doing is trying not to look past my nose. Wait, is that a real saying? I have no idea. To clarify, I’m going at the sequel two chapters at a time. When a scene and what follows it makes sense, I write them. A couple times, finishing the scenes has given me an idea for the following. And that’s how I’ve made it to where I’m at.
It’s very uncomfortable. With book 1, I had the entire thing outlined (roughly) when I started writing. And doing it this way is kinda jarring. And I really think I’ll find, when I’m done, that this novel will need reorganizing much more than the first. And entire scenes may need rewriting as well. But at least I’ll have something done. And I think it’s easier to break a block while working with something than starting from scratch.
So what’s my point?
I think the point of this is to suggest that, when blocked, try something out of the ordinary. Write something different for you. Or try a method that pushes you out of your comfort zone. It may not necessarily be the best method, but shaking things up can often jar you out of being stuck. And I think that’s true for lots of things in life.
Most importantly, you just have to keep writing. Write write write write write.
OK I’m done writing about writer’s block and am going to continue on with book 2. WHEEEEEE!