Monday, February 16, 2009

Writer's Block - or not


It never fails that when I can set aside a day - a whole day from morn until night to write - something happens. Today I am bedeviled by a great reluctance to write.

I don't like to call it writer's block - since when you name something you own it - and I don't believe in it. (Being one of those people who glibly say that writers' block can only happen to those who aren't writing- so write, dammit!)

But what happens to me is that I think I'm on it, charging away sticking words on the page, when a kind of haze comes over me - BOREDOM. Whatever's on the page is not taking flight, coming to life, even sitting up and demanding to take notice.

Which is why I'm sitting here in the middle of a day when I should be able to produce at least 5,000 words (they don't have to be good), and all I've done is come up with two very lame chapters, that even before I print them out I know will be chucked.

So, here are my choices:

1. Keep writing. Keep going. Don't even bother rereading it. Just keep the hands moving. Don't judge, fret or sweat.
The trick with this one, is not to go back during the day to review what I ended up with. But if I pick it up another day I'm sure - I hope - to find something, just one small thing - that is worth keeping, that might not have been there if I hadn't kept going.

2. Reread what I've written, pick out one line, moment, or scene, and start all over with no reference to what's already on the page.
This really does work sometimes. But I just don't feel like doing it today. I'm having too much fun being disgruntled.

3. Move onto another project (It's not like this is the only book I'm working on, for heaven's sake.)
It could also be the reason I've got so many projects that are so close to being able to type - the end - but not quite there.

4. Quit writing, and read something good for 30 minutes.
Right now I'm reading - and loving - Marina Endicott's Good to a Fault and Pain and Wasting by Norah McClintock. But I know that's a slippery slopee. Once I move from writing to reading - esp. something as good as these - it's hard to get back to it.

5. Move from the creative stuff, to the analytical.
I often use a specific plotting process that I kind of overlay on a WIP, which might help me figure out just why I am so bored with what I'm writing - often I find out there's no story goal / plot problem or question inherent in the scene or chapter I'm bored with - I'm just blabbing on about something that no one will be interested in anyway, and that the book probably won't need.

6. Go and eat something.
Bad idea, unless it's because I'm really hungry. The big bowl of my sister's recipe for Christmas Cole Slaw (red cabbage, grated carrots and chopped Granny Smiths) I ate an hour ago should keep me until supper.)

7. Call a friend.
Problematic - if it's a writer (most of them are) they'll either commiserate, which gives me more justification than I need to slink off and do #6) . And if they're not, I daren't tell them I'm only calling because I'm bored with myself.

8. Arrange paper clips is order of size and colour. Do my online banking. Vacuum under the desk. Go out for coffee. Catch up on my ironing....
Perhaps all useful activities in their time and place, but not at all what I planned to do today.

9. Blog about it.
I can confess here, just between you and me, that I've never quite figured out what blogs are for. But in this case, it might be just the ticket. But then I promise, I'll get back to work. Honest.

1 comment:

Julie H. Ferguson said...

I sympathize. I think it simply means you're tired and need a break. Go for a walk, cook dinner, and try again tomorrow.

Always works for me; hope it works for you...