Thursday, 23 September 2010

Writing yourself into a corner a.k.a Writer's Block

In all my years of having fun writing, I learned one thing very early on - Writer's Block is a killer. Over the years it has destroyed various pieces that I've had a lot of enthusiasm for by simply draining the will to write from me. In setting out to write a novel, I tried to prepare in advance for this. I knew it would happen, I didn't know when or where, but I knew it would rear it's ugly head. 

And of course - it did, recently, as you may have gathered from the lack of updates to this blog. My preparation has left me with notebooks filled with detailed notes, however having not made a timeline (something I intend to do in future!) - I had missed a 4 hour dead space in the novel, since this is a story that the main part takes place over a short length of time, that's a fairly big problem - and I didn't know what happened there. Ironically, I know exactly what happens aftewards and for the next 10-12 hours, but not this bit. 

I've spent the past month mulling it over, debating between missing it out and leaving it to do later, to trying to force it out now. I feel I am doing myself a disservice to leave it until later, I think it will plague me, mocking me as the bit I couldn't write. So, I am determined to write it rather than leave it. I have tried for a few weeks now to write it, it didn't feel right - I didn't feel right. Then I'd feel worse for not having done any writing. Writing can be quite a lonely and depressing business, especially when you want to strangle your own story, which I assume is transference to wanting to strangle yourself. 

But - tonight I made progress. It is only 2000 words, and it hasn't even reached the part I can't write. But the character is feeling empowered, and good for her, because damn it, one of us has to know where this going, and maybe I can follow her lead. It's a hard feeling to describe, a week ago, I couldn't write this bit, now - I still don't really know what happens, but I have an idea, and I have the confidence to have a bash at it. 

I suppose that it's the first of many stumbling blocks I am likely to face. I have put a lot of preparation into this, and I think by doing that I felt I would avoid this and have an easy write. Which isn't the case, I just have a bit more confidence in myself to get past the stumbling blocks. A few years ago, this sort of stumbling block would have signalled the end of the story, left in a file to be forgotten. Now - I don't want to give up so easily, although it's often hard to find the discipline and motivation to get past it. Before I would have moved on, happy to have reached 20,000 words, today, it nags at me, I have reached 20,000 words, but the goal is 80-100,000 and anything less than that isn't good enough. I guess in some ways this is about proving to myself as much as anyone else that I can write, and hoping at the end of it all - someone might concede it good enough to pay me for. 

My total word count as of just now (24th Sept 2010, 02:04) is 24,600 - I'd like to break the 30,000 mark soon. I think that is my next stumbling point. Writing 20,000 words is hard, but I have done it before. Writing 30,000 words - on the one story - will be a first, and something that will give me the boost to make it to 40,000. I guess it's like walking, except instead of one foot in front of the other, it's one word in front of the other, and just keep in mind, there is an end in sight. ~ Kitty

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