As a writer, is there anything better than finally breaking through your stubborn mind blocks during writing? That sigh of relief that comes with a villain’s new plot twist, the weight that leaves your shoulders when characters start jabbering again…there’s no better feeling than of accomplishment and for writers, that equals words.
While working on my superhero WIP (that we’ll tentatively call SuperNova), I’d been having some writer’s block. Usually my problem is plain ol’ laziness and while I’ve had some of that lately, too, it hasn’t been the entire reason behind the slow progress.
Any time I sat in front of the computer to write, I’d allow myself to be distracted by countless other things. I’d stare blankly at my Scrivener page, begging words to come to me, but when they didn’t, I’d wander away to watch TV or read (the Game of Thrones series really takes up every waking second some days). It wasn’t that I didn’t want to write–when driving around town or between work activities, I’d think up different conversations or scenes that needed to take place. When it came to getting them down on paper, however, the words wouldn’t come. I knew what should be done, but when I sat down to do it, I got nothin’ but white noise.
I know some writers recommend what I like to call the push it, push it real good method (Bam! You’re welcome for the old school Salt n’ Pepa jam now stuck in your head).
With this method, you basically glue your ass to your chair and start writing. You force yourself to get the words out, whether it’s in a word race, a special treat at the end of a session, or photos of puppies after hitting so many words. For some, this is a great method. By writing whatever comes to mind (the good, the bad, and the ugly), you’re at least guaranteeing hundreds of new words in your WIP.
But because I’m a jerk, that method doesn’t work for me–I’m an edit-as-I-go writer. I’m sure I’ll get some of you shaking your head at that process and I’m not saying it works for everyone (it rarely works for anyone from what I hear), but that’s just how I roll. I do a lot of rereading as I add new material to make sure it all matches up, that I catch typos or weird grammar, etc. I try to do this because I write whatever scenes come to me first, regardless of the order, so when I have to go back and connect the dots, I need to make sure it all flows. This saves me time down the road when I’m figuring out how the hell my hero made it from one point to another. For me, this means edit-as-I-go.
The way I get over myself is the same each and every time; I’ve only begun to notice this habit recently. I have to write to want to write. Make sense? Yeah, I know how stupid it sounds. Lemme ‘splain:
Last night after work, I was flipping through my pages (and pages and pages) of notes and caught a paragraph I’d written in terms of Nova (my protagonist) and her father. I decided to create an important conversation between them and suddenly, my fingers were on fire over the keyboard. Inspiration had hit me and I couldn’t be stopped. When JLo came home for our evening bike ride, I had to practically tear myself away from the desk. Even with a not-quite-finished-yet scene, it got my thoughts flowing in how to wrap up the scene, make sure it fits with the rest of the chapter, give character development to them and their relationship, and further establish the plot.
Once bike riding, all I could think about was what came next. I went home and wrote some more. I’ve spent half my work day wanting to write tonight, so I know I’m on a roll when my fingers feel itchy for the WIP. If I let too much time pass between writing, I lose momentum. Once I get over that first hurdle, I can go for miles. The problem is to keep going because if I pause too long, I’m right back in the same rut as before.
Right now I feel all the things that make me feel good about being a writer. I feel inspired, creative, like I can conquer any writer’s block as though it were my own personal villain. My brain is whirring with ideas, plot twists, and other ways to keep the reader engaged and liking the characters. And my subconscious is still working overtime for me–a decision I’d made about my villain, a small detail that might not ever make it into the books yet gives me insight to his character, actually mirrored my main character and turns out it works extremely well that way. It shows that opposition of hero vs. villain and I couldn’t believe I hadn’t seen it earlier. Besides being incredibly impressed with myself (I’m nothing if not humble), I really liked it from a reader perspective because it gave me so much more to look at with my villain. Which, in turn, makes me want to write even more because I get excited about seeing where the story is headed. Writer’s block, you’ve officially been conquered for now!
How do you jump over the writer’s block? Do you have any strange methods to get the ideas flowing?