I’ve stated in a couple other posts that I had a really long period of time, years in fact, where I didn’t write. I claimed writer’s block and pretty much gave up. Things were different then. Life was in another place and I had other things going on like school work and failing relationships, etc. Once my writing picked back up, I decided I wasn’t going to let such a long period of time go by again without writing.
While I don’t write everyday (other than emails, status updates and tweets, which I don’t really count) I do, as you guys have realized by now, write at least twice a week. Yes, I consider my blog posts to be part of my writing habit. It may not be fiction, but I’m still writing something to inform or advise and it can’t be just gibberish or completely half-assed. I think a lot of you would call me out on that kind of behavior, no? I’m also normally editing, if not writing, four or five days a week. So no, it’s not a daily writing habit, but it’s plenty of times during a week.
Last week I was at a point where one work was being sent out to a friend to have some editing done leaving me with “nothing” to do until I get that manuscript back. I realized, “oh hey! I can get back to Staying Alive!” (which is the sequel to Near Death, which was already 51k+ words in). Fabulous! Let’s get this knocked out and finished so I can start the editing process on that as well. It had been several months since I worked on it, December probably being the last, so I needed to re-read to get back into it and remind myself of all that had gone on. This is what happens when you’re a pantser and not a plotter.
With that done, I was ready to go (and somewhat impressed with what I had already written. Don’t you like when that happens?). I packed up my stuff and headed to my favorite writing spot, the local Starbucks.Booted up the good ole Word document and just sat there staring at the screen. Mind blank. No idea where to go. I panicked a bit and re-read the previous chapter. That should help right? Normally it would, but not this time. I sat there for an hour or two, procrastinating, checking email, tweeting about anything but writing. I think I wrote a couple of paragraphs. It was pathetic.
Why was I stuck? I’d been writing other things all along. I enjoyed the story when I re-read it and could recall some of the things I had planned for it, yet getting the words to come out was like trying to coax a kid to take some nasty tasting medicine. I put it aside for a couple of days and instead filled my downtime by watching seasons 1 and 2 of Sherlock (which is awesome and you all should watch it).
By Wednesday I decided I couldn’t keep putting it off. This is a story that deserves to be finished. People want to know what happened to my little gang of friends who are now college aged. I couldn’t let all the work I had done on it already go to waste! I grabbed up my things and headed back to the Starbucks. Determined!
I decided to just start writing. Even if it was mundane actions for my characters. Anything to get the flow back. Things could be changed or deleted later, right? Type.Type. Typity. Type. I found my mundane actions taking a turn into something interesting. My characters started to lead me to a place I hadn’t quite expected and it worked out very nicely, referencing the previous book and making one character aware of things they hadn’t known in the past. The words started to rush out again and I ended with about 1,200 words for the day. Not too shabby for someone who could barely do 200 a few days prior. Huzzah!
The moral of this story? Don’t give up! This was a strange circumstance for me. Normally if I’m stuck, the re-reading and the regular writing schedule help me to get back on track. Not sure why this time was different, but it reminded me that it’s okay to just write for the sake of writing, to get back into the game, so to speak. This is not my final draft and things can be removed later. Take any avenue you need in order to get yourself back into the story. Giving up is not an option!