Nothing Like a Big Case of Writer's Block
It all came crashing in on me at once.
Preparing for my son's wedding and an online meeting for my bi-weekly critique group. I had started work on the sequel to my first novel, 17 chapters actually, and felt good about where it was going until...
One of my critique partners suggested that it wasn't really a romance. What???
That really took me aback because that's what I had been doing all along, trying to get my characters back into the heat of romance. It's a medieval action/adventure tale and every one knows that if you're going to keep writing about the same couple in love, you have to keep them apart for a while so they can come back to the relationship with even more fervor than before.
She was right.
But it took a lot of self-reflection to realize that I really had been focusing too much on the action/adventure aspects than the love story. I was getting around to it, but I was writing too many subplots and taking too much time to get there. One thing she said was, "these characters haven't even thought about their love interests in how many chapters now? It's got romantic elements, but this is definitely not a romance." I've got to admit it stung and set me back. With the wedding, reception, and open house in full swing over the course of a couple of weeks, there was no time to breathe, let alone even contemplate what to do with my story. A friend of mine told me that weddings take up a lot of brain space. Wow, she's so right about that. I thought my brain would explode if I tried to pack in one more detail.
Then came November with my birthday, anniversary, Thanksgiving (a high holiday at our place) and diving into the Christmas rush sooner than I usually do because I had family in from out-of-town and wanted to do some Christmasing with them before they left. I was completely exhausted and feeling like I had failed in my writing pursuits. I didn't want to touch my story with a ten foot pole. I didn't have the heart for it. I didn't have the brain power to go in and try and fix this thing. And worse, I had no idea on how to do it anyway. This seeped into work I had to do on the original novel as well. I've known for some time that I needed to extend the final scene and I'd been procrastinating in a big way. I was just so sad about it that I couldn't even bring myself to try. And nothing spurred my imagination, nothing!!!
I wish I could say that I found the solution to this terrible case of writer's block. I still haven't tried to work on my story, but I am getting braver. I think I'll try and tackle it today. There were a couple of other writing projects I'd been thinking about for a while (essays about trials my kids had been through and how that affected our family) and dove into them. If anything, that got me back into writing mode, closer to "the zone." Now, I'm not as timid when I think about putting my efforts into my story.
Honestly, I think the solution is not let the disappointment and overwhelming sense of failure get to you. Don't get down about it.
Sit down and write. Maybe step away from you story and write something else, but...
JUST WRITE! Then it all comes back:)
How do you handle it? How do you get back in the zone? I'd love to know!