Process

Writer’s Block: Does it really exist, or is it self-imposed?

 Just reading the title of this post it’s easy to see what I’ve been dealing with the past week. The desire, the urge to write is there, but when I sit down with fingers poised over the keys, nothing happens.

It’s not that I don’t know what I want to write, because I do. I came back from my vacation more eager than ever to finish this novel. Had I not been ready to pass out at 10pm every night after our daily adventures, I would’ve gladly stared blindly into the abyss of my laptop, tap-tap-tapping away.

So what’s holding me back?

After talking with our family cousin who had first-hand knowledge of my muse, Mary Morton, I have a million and one story ideas racing through my mind. Listening to someone who could tell me what she was like definitely cleared the fogginess surrounding her. But, based on what I just learned, I now want to re-write everything that I’ve been working on this year so as to make her character more true to herself. With all of the characters I’ve yet to introduce, with all of the story lines that need wrapped up, and knowing that I want/need to rewrite everything I already have is sitting on top of my mind like an elephant. Oh, and they’re all struggling for control of my brain with 2×4’s.

And herein, lies my problem.

So, Option 1:

There’s a quote by F. Scott Fitzgerald’s that I absolutely love:

"Writers aren't exactly people. They're a whole lot of people trying to be one person." F. Scott Fitzgerald.

 

The trick is to tell all of the random voices in your head that are screaming for attention to shut the hell up. You are not their parent, grandparent, or even their friend. You can and MUST play favorites. Decide who is going to be your favorite for the time you’ve set aside to write and for that time, your only job is to listen to everything that single voice is telling you. It’s their time to talk. All you must do is write. Just make sure you pay attention because it might be awhile before their 15 minutes of fame comes back around.

Option 2:

Ignore all voices, do not pass Go, return to Page 1 and begin revising.

***

All year I’ve been telling myself: This year, you ARE finishing her story. It’s been my affirmation. I say it out loud, I write it down, hell, I should probably tattoo it on my forehead. But at what point does a rough draft become a first draft become a second draft become a third draft?

Did I hope to be further along than I am at this point? Yes.

But I also know that sitting here staring at a screen does nothing but put me one more day behind schedule. And at this point, I feel it’s time to begin a third draft. Wait: third time’s the charm right?

Hi-ho, hi-ho, it’s off to revise I go.

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