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Writer's block?  Procrastination?  A case of the "Idon'twanna's?"  The Muse that always shows up with great ideas decided to go on strike and demand better wages?  Whatever the reason, we have all been there.

We're stuck.  We don't know what to write.

I've been there.  No seriously.  A lot.  And recently.  Like four days ago.
So what do I do?  (Or more specifically, what DID I do?) 

First off, know this.  I don't pretend to know all the answers, or anything.  I'm trying to figure this thing our just like you are.  However, I do know for certain that in order for us to move forward AT ALL, we do have to ultimately get to the keyboard (or pencil if you're one of those "longhand" weirdos) and just get SOMETHING on the page.  

But what?  I mean, it's really not fun if we are just pounding out something that we know we are going to hate.  You've heard that too, right?  "Just write anything.  It may not make sense or be total garbage, but at least you're writing!"  I mean, I guess that's true.  But I don't want to waste my time, either.  (Says the guy who is probably checking for new reviews on Amazon rather than advancing his story.)
However, that really IS the case.  Just start writing, blah blah blah.  It's hard, but I guess it is true.  And who knows, maybe writing something terrible DOES inspire the greater stuff to start flowing.  

But back to my most recent push through being stuck...

Here was my problem.  I'm working on Book 2 of the Jordy Nichols thing.  I thought I wrote a pretty cool prologue.  Introduced some new characters, but referenced some old ones, etc.  Advanced the mythology a bit.  Check.  Then I struggled with how to get back into Jordy.  I mean, I left a few BIG questions with the last sentence of RedBird -- so how do I address those?  I mean, if I'M hearing the story, I kinda want that addressed sooner than later -- or else I'm distracted with that question while hearing about NEW stuff.  I also didn't want to just have the characters "talk" about it and then move on to something else.  Yeesh.  FINALLY, I wanted to really explore the new relationships that Jordy has with people that he met from RedBird, and have some fun with what that could look like.

Cue my "muse" throwing her Toga over her shoulder and storming out the senate door -- leaving me staring at a blinking cursor.  A cursor at the end of a few sentences that I just didn't like.

So, just rewrite it, right?  I couldn't.  For whatever reason it was intimidating or something.  I felt like I owed something to my characters AND my readers, and I just didn't feel like I could deliver.  So I was stuck for awhile.  

Then I just did something different.  
I started writing something that WASN'T so important to advancing the mythology.  Started writing something that WASN'T about delving into Jordy's future.  Started writing something that WASN'T about the new "BIG" problem that they might face.

Nope.  I just wrote something fun.  I wrote an action scene.  A fight with a different character.  For me, that's fun.  I put on some inspiring music, and just played with a couple of characters grappling for their lives.  For you, maybe it's something else -- like a couple falling in love, or describing a comet racing through space, or the hero exploring a dripping cavern with a sputtering torch.  Heck, maybe you're like Tolkien and you have fun going into incredible detail about the heritage and naming of a sword.  

Whatever it is, have a blast!  For God's sake, aren't we supposed to enjoy writing? 

So I did.  Got a beloved character (by me, anyway) into a real pickle...in fact...I'm not so sure they're going to live.  Heh heh.  I just raised my own stakes and made things exciting for ME!  And that's what it's all about, right?  I mean, I'm approaching the page with a new sense of wonder, awe, and anticipation -- and hopefully that will translate to my readers.  And you know what?  I loved the action so much in that little "writing exercise," that I'm REPLACING my old prologue with that!  What better way to launch into a book?  Right in the middle of some fun stuff!  

So when you're stuck (like I was stuck) just find a way to "bliss out" again.  Write something that made you start writing in the first place.  You may not use it, sure.  But you'll fall in love with your craft again.  And who knows?  You might just show that muse whose boss after all...

Have fun, writers.  I'm stoked to read your stuff.

 


Comments

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