If anyone says they have never suffered from writer’s block then they are either a, pulling your leg or b, not writing and never have.
Mine began the second that I landed a publishing deal, on the condition that I finished my psychological thriller in 90 days. Wahoo!
Or not wahoo.
I had not encountered many problems with writing my novel, in fact my ideas had been racing. That is, until I was asked to have it finished in 90 days.
Suddenly I was faced with: how do I pull it all together? How have I got so far away from the plot? What was the plot? Where is it going? Where am I going? Who even am I?
I had the ending of the book right from the beginning. I had the beginning and some of the middle, in some form but there was something missing that merged it all together, a kind of middle denouement if you will, and I could not for the life of me figure out what it was. Confused? Me too.
Then I made the dreaded mistake of re-reading from the beginning and ended up editing and got so lost in perfecting that I felt I would never find my way out and should abandon all hope of ever getting it finished.
You see writing is hard. They don’t tell you that. Writing is hard and writing is lonely (hence the reason for starting a writers group) but the only one who can write (and finish) your book is little old you and as much as I prayed that time would stop until I had this figured out, day 90 was getting closer.
I began reading about the greats and how they overcame writers block. Here are some of my findings, mixed in with the things that I have found beneficial:
- Yoga, meditation & swimming (my fave)
- Read, read & read (other peoples’ books)
- Get out of your head by doing something physical – go for a walk amongst nature
- Try not to edit your own work until you have the first draft down
- “My block was due to two overlapping factors: laziness and lack of discipline.” (Mary Garden)
- Put it aside for a few days
- Work on more than one project
- Get art & crafty
- Don’t wait for inspiration just get something down, anything
- “Writing is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way” E. L. Doctorow
And finally, in the words of Margaret Atwood; “If I waited for perfection, I would never write a word.”
I have 22 days to finish my novel!
Victoria Ward is a writer and tutor at Cirque Talent Academy. She teaches psychology based programs as well as writing classes. See website for course details.