Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Breaking past the stuck points


That sounds so much better to me than writer's block.

I've got plenty of daylight hours to add pages and pages to my works in progress now that I'm not teaching this semester. Sounds great, doesn't it? I know my teacher friends are envious of my available time to devote to writing.

The problem is I've been stuck the past few days. I open my WIP and stare at the same chapter, number 7, if you want to know which one.

I hate the phrase "writer's block". That sounds like something outside of myself that I have no control over, and I feel like I should have control over whether or not the ideas flow from my brain, out my fingertips, and over the keyboard. I much prefer the idea of being "stuck".

So, I've been seeking out methods for getting "unstuck". I've been browsing several books in the series line that I'm writing for, I've been brainstorming in the shower, I've been looking for inspiration in songs, movies, TV shows. I've been staring at my character profile sheets, but nothing has been working until I had a moment of self-awareness.

I'm stuck because I'm thinking of story/craft mechanics instead of letting my characters speak for themselves. I've been caught up in trying to write a "great" story, rather than letting the story come naturally. I've been studying my character arcs, and plot points, and rising conflicts, worrying about making every page a pageturner, counting words and worrying whether my heroine has had enough time in her POV before I switch to my hero's POV.

YUCK! No wonder my creativity has been stifled.

Fortunately, I've broken through to the other side, at least for the moment. I think I'm nearing the completion of chapter 7, at least the rough draft version of 7.

And that's what I have to remember. This is the first draft, the rough draft, the vomit draft. I'm not looking for "great" here. I'm looking to put words on the page, so I have something to go back to later to craft into a "great" story.

How do you get "unstuck"?

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