In my last post I promised that I would talk about my strategy for battling Writer’s Block TM. I am not going to give you a link to my last post because there is already one hanging out over this post. (Hint: It’s the one that says “Death and Writing”)
So…my strategy. It’s pretty simple. Whenever I get stuck, I try to change something. Easy, right?
No, I kid. You’re probably right. But seriously no it’s not that easy for me. See if you’re just joining my blog you might not know that I’ve already written The Dreamcatchers twice. But…now you do know that. Let me also tell you that it was pretty difficult. And writing this third version has been the hardest attempt of all. Because I’m sitting there thinking, Okay, this scene has to go exactly like this. That’s how it’s always been and that’s how it’s going to be. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.
You see where I’m going with this, right? I get so set in the way I think it’s “supposed to be” that I forget to stop and say, “Hey, I can change anything I want. I’m the freaking author!” So when I get stuck on something, that’s exactly what I do.
The setting: A dream in which three characters are playing their way across a life-size game board.
The scene: One of the characters is challenged to do a thing.
What it used to be: My main character did the thing.
What I decided to change it to: One of the supporting characters does the thing.
And you know what? It worked. It actually improved the flow of the story, in my humble opinion. I’ve been making a lot of little changes like that to help keep the ball rolling. Some big changes have been made, too. And hey, I don’t even know if it’s going to work out in the end. I might have to edit those changes out later, or change the changes to something else. But for now it’s helping me get words on the page, and that’s great! Because that’s my goal right now. To write and write without worrying so much about nitpicking and harping on every little detail.
I would highly recommend this strategy to anyone who finds themselves getting stuck in the mire. Really think about what you’re writing and how convinced you are that things have to be exactly the way they are. You might be surprised at how much better the story works when your wizened old grandpa character is changed into a twenty-something female stripper who goes by the pseudonym “Pretzel Twist.”
Hope that helps!
P.S. 21,600 words, all handwritten, and counting (I know because my hand felt like it was going to fall off so I took a break to type up everything I’d written. I did not painstakingly go through my notebooks and count all the words.)