Over at Bookface[TM] (where I am I think spending far too much time... maybe) Jane Hart Mason was good enough to ask me:
Howdy... I hope you don't mind if I ask you a quick question, and I promise not be hurt if you don't have time to answer, or if it is your rule not to or whatnot. I am working on a little story of my own (not really to publish, just for my kid), and although I know what happens next and so on, I just can't seem to get it done. It may just be writer's block, but I am wondering if you have any tips or method as to what you do when this (if this?) happens to you. I have heard some writers set aside time to work on their stories, and even if they can't get anything written, they force themselves to sit there and think about it at least. Have you ever had any success with this? Mayhap you are one of those who is able to just pour it all out without pause, and if so please disregard this query. (I wish! DMC)
... to which my answer was:
Dear Jane, Great question. It beats at the heart of every writer's journey/struggle. For me writing can frequently be like pulling teeth from my jaw = hard and very painful. Even when I am enjoying a story (like I am currently with a novella also set in the Half-Continent) I still have this crazy reluctance to write!!! Don't ask me why, I just work here...Making yourself just sit and write regardless is probably the only way "to get it done"; feelings are rebellious and fickle - only sometimes do I "feel" like writing. Unfortunately it will have to be like getting an injection, you turn up, face the pain, push through and get on with the good stuff afterwards, congratulating yourself for your courage.You might try setting aside half an hour or so with a goal of 100 words. Sounds a tiny amount perhaps, but in such a small, hopefully less painful quantity two things might happen: 1/ the story will get chipped away in little lumps (re: the way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time) OR 2/ you just might find your flow and go on longer, writing more words and even get into the whole project again.Making a list of "beats" as I call them might help too, an extremely brief dot-point of each significant moment. I have just discovered this device in the latter stages of the 2nd draft of MBT Book 3 and it makes my head and the way forward so much clearer. Even if you reckon you know what is coming, this might make it even clearer and build some enthusiasm in you to press on to boot.How is that? Hope it helps. Unfortunately writing is not a magical process, it it the grind of getting the words down occasionally intersped with moments of inspiration, delight and relief. It is climbing a steep mountain on your own and when you are at the top, it is climbing all the way back down again. So, climb on, brave author.
Also, check the comments of previous post for answers to your excellent and helpful questions.
Thursday, October 22, 2009