Blogger’s Block

We all know about writer’s block.  We all experience.  I even wrote a blog post about it. https://jackiesmith114.wordpress.com/2014/01/04/the-block/

Today, I’m not suffering from writer’s block, but I do find myself with a mild case of blogger’s block.  I can’t think of a single thing to write about.  I even read a list of 135 blog post ideas that are supposed to make your blog hot.  Still, no inspiration.  Nothing.  Nada.  Zilch.

Perhaps it has to do with where I am in the new Cemetery Tours book.  I’m trying to write this particular scene to be creepy, chilling, you know, the kind that comes to life when you read it.  But I think I’m trying too hard.  I’m forcing the words instead of letting them come naturally, and as I’ve learned over the years, it’s never a good idea to force anything.  Granted, I do believe there is a fine line between forcing something and taking a chance, and sometimes it’s difficult to know the difference.  But I’m getting off-track.

I just need to clear my mind and keep writing.  Unfortunately, my mind always has like, a million things going on at once.  It will never actually be clear.  The good news is a lot of the stuff going on up there is rather exciting.

That being said, I’m going to go write.  Peace out, all.

Little Victories

I’ve posted on this blog before about the dreaded Writer’s Block (https://jackiesmith114.wordpress.com/2014/01/04/the-block/).  It’s a an affliction that plagues every writer, no matter how experienced or how many books they have under their belt.  I’m in the process of working on my third and for the past few days, I’ve hit a roadblock, wondering how to transition scenes while keeping the story flowing.  Transitions have never been my strong point.  In fact, I’m having a difficult time figuring out how to transition into my next paragraph.

Too often, I hear about writers feeling down on themselves because they’re stuck, or because their writing doesn’t come as naturally to them as it does to others.  The thing is when you read other writers’ work, you’re reading their completed project.  This project should read like it all came naturally and easily (unlike this awkward blog post, for example).  But I can almost guarantee that that finished book did not come without impatience, frustration, outtakes, and maybe even a little bit of booze (if the writer is over 21, of course).  

In my experience, outtakes are the most frustrating.  I’ll write and write and write, get a couple hundred words in, and realize that everything I just wrote has no place in my story, or that it will take the story in an entirely different direction than it needs to go.  Sometimes, these new directions are great ideas, but sometimes, they just need to go.  And let me tell you, it is HARD to take everything you just worked so hard on and delete it (though I never fully delete it, I move it to the “outtakes” document), not only because I just spent a good portion of my workday on it, but because it lands me right back to where I started.  And more often than not, it’s one of those awkward spots that trips me up and gets me stuck.  

The good news is that writer’s block does not last forever unless you let it.  Last night, after hours (yes, it can take hours) of staring at the screen and trying out all the typical transitions, my story finally found it’s way back on track.  It was a small paragraph, I think only three sentences, but it worked and it feels right.  Best of all, I’m happy with it and I can now continue on with the story the way it’s supposed to be written.  

It’s funny, but with writing, even the smallest victories are to be celebrated and appreciated.  Writing is not for the faint of heart.  It’s a huge commitment and it can be an enormous pain in the neck.  But it’s worth it.  In the end, it’s always worth it.  

 

The Block

I’ve only seen the movie Pitch Perfect once (unheard of, I know), but one of the funniest moments in my opinion was when Brittany Snow’s character was confessing to her fellow singers that she had “The Nodes.”  My sister is a singer, so I know that vocal nodes are actually quite serious and nothing to laugh at, but her delivery was priceless and I cracked up.  

I think that every branch of the creative and performing arts has some version of “The Nodes.”  I’m not really sure what actors’ or artists’ might be, for for writers, it’s The Block – Writer’s Block, that is.  

At one time or another, every writer has experienced writer’s block.  I’ve had some writers tell me that it’s the reason they quit working on their manuscript.  “I have writer’s block and I can’t get past it.  I can’t write.  I bet Stephen King never gets writer’s block.”  

That might be a poor example, because I feel like if there’s one person in the world who has more than enough weird and twisted ideas to last him a lifetime, it’s Stephen King, but you know what I’m trying to say.  

It’s easy to believe that Writer’s Block = Failure.  If you have writer’s block, then there’s clearly something wrong with you and you’re not meant to write, but that’s simply not the case.  Writer’s block is a pain, but it’s also, unfortunately, an inevitable part of life as a writer.  And when you think about it, of course you’re going to experience some kind of setback.  This story is precious to you and you want it to be perfect.  If what you’re writing is, in your mind, less than perfect, then it’s going to be difficult to go on.  If you know where the story’s going but you’re not sure how to get there, then you’ll probably drive yourself crazy trying to figure it out.  

The key is not to let writer’s block intimidate you or scare you away.  If you give me a copy of Cemetery Tours, I can go through and highlight every single part that I struggled through, that I rewrote ten times over, that made me think I was just the lousiest writer ever.  The good (or bad news) is that writing your manuscript is actually the smallest and least stressful part of writing and publishing a book.  It doesn’t matter if the first manuscript sucks, because guess what?  You are going to read and read and reread that manuscript over and over and over again while you’re editing.  But the best thing about editing is that it’s like endless second chances to make a great book.  

The only cure to writer’s block is to keep writing.  Even if you have to force yourself to press your fingers to the keys, keep writing.  Heck, you can even skip the part that’s giving you trouble and write what you know, then find a way to connect the two.  Once you’re finished, printing off the manuscript and reading it on paper instead of on a computer screen present a whole different perspective and experience.  It’s so much easier to read and edit and to make sense of things when you have the paper in your hands as opposed to scrolling mindlessly through a word document.  

Writer’s block is very real and it’s a huge nuisance, but it is NOT invincible.  No matter how much it threatens, do not let it overcome you.  Write your way through.  You’ll be glad you did.