One of the hot topics that always floats around writing circles is the idea of writer’s block.
It’s always a biggy. Just what is it that causes the creative juices to suddenly stop flowing? And more importantly, what are you supposed to do to get them started again?
I haven’t been doing a lot of writing over the last few months.I completed a first draft of my current WIP (the comedy/fantasy/romance/satire/adventure novel) back in May and I haven’t even looked at it since. It’s only been in the last few weeks that I’ve actually sat down at the computer and forced a few more words out, and none of these has been remotely connected to that novel. Rather, I’ve been working on several shorter pieces – that maybe will end up as chapter books or picture books.
So what has been going in in the last few months? Why have I left my novel out in the cold for so long? Have I succumbed to the curse that stalks all writers? Am I a victim of the dreaded writer’s block?
There are a few things I need to say in response to these questions. Firstly, as I’ve mentioned a few times previously, I have had a bunch of other priorities to deal with, including my health and my job, which have limited the time available to concentrate on writing. But there has been a more significant consideration that has led me to place that first draft up on the shelf and leave it to sit for so long.
The plan was always to leave it for a while. It’s something I do with all my work, and the longer the work, the longer I like to leave it. It’s that chance to give yourself some space between you and the work, so you can come back to it with fresh eyes when it’s time to revise. I know it’s a process that many writers follow.
But beyond this basic aspect of my process, there’s another reason why I’ve left it for so long. I know there’s a heap of work I need to do on this MS. The structure isn’t quite right. A number of characters only took shape well into the novel so their development is pretty messy. Whole scenes I’ve written are not working at all.
In short, there’s probably more work to do on this current piece than any of my previous stories. I have a pretty good idea what most of that work entails. I’m just not sure when and how I’m going to make a start on it. To summarise, I’m not actually blocked. I’m just extremely daunted by the scope of the work in front of me. I feel like I’m standing at the bottom of a big mountain and I’m not sure how to start climbing.
I know eventually I’ll get over it. I’m sure I’ll summon the required energy and get on with the job. But I suspect it won’t be till after this year is done.
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