Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Overcoming Writer's Block: An Inspirational True Story (Part 2)

For two years, I did not write. I made due with journaling and poetry. But it wasn't the same. Sure, poetry was nice because I could write and edit the entire poem in a day or less. But it was not a novel. I wanted the drive, the writer's high, the sponge-brain I got from being creatively drained after a long day of writing. For two years, I starved for it. I had ideas, sometimes felt inspired. I'd sit down and...nothing. A few pages would trickle forth before the inspiration dried up.Where once I had a muse, now I had only wishful thinking.

This past December, I published the third Superiors Series novel and began reading over some old ya stuff I'd written. It wasn't bad. I dug through the files and inevitably landed on my favorite, the last novel I'd finished before writer's block set in. It wasn't bad, either. In fact, I got sucked in and read the entire book, editing a bit as I went. I thought I'd add some scenes between the protag and a future love interest and, to make it realistic, a few background characters.

It. Was. Like. Pulling. My. Own. Teeth.

The words did not flow. They were as hard to write as it is to read the inappropriately punctuated sentence above. Through much frustration, I forced what no longer came naturally. Then I went back to the first novel in the series, the unfinished one, and finished it. The ending wasn't great. I'll probably change it if I ever publish. It was more summarizing what I knew happened than showing the events unfold. But as I finished the few scenes, something began to happen. A bit-part character began to nag at me, circling like a mosquito. This had happened before, so I wasn't too hopeful.

Surrendering to the quiet nagging, I began to write the novel that was tentatively asking if it could be written. It petered out after a few pages, as most of my ideas over the past few years had. But my muse-troll had begun to scratch one stiff finger against the grimy, dust-covered block that had held me back for two years. Then it knocked a hole in the block and peered at me with its beady little eye. It taunted me with promises too good to be believed. I hated that thing by now. I told it to shut up.

It refused to be silenced. This story did not ask if it should be written. It demanded to be. So I began to write...painfully, haltingly, uncertainly. I made every excuse to procrastinate, distract myself, and avoid the call of duty. I spent hours pinning, unfollowing unfollowers, and exploring the creepy world of instagram hastags. I struggled through passages of my novel, rewrote, rearranged, deleted, added, rearranged again. It seemed an impossible task. How had I done this so many times before? Why was I putting myself through it again? And why on earth did I think I'd missed it?

I finished the novel last week, the first I've written in over 2 years. I'm still shaking off the dust, or, more aptly, chipping away at the block. But maybe, just maybe, I'll tear the whole thing down. If not, and this was just some sort of fluke...I've always got the backlog.

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