Tuesday, June 11, 2024

What Is Writers Block?

I started my current novel, Amnesia, at the very end of March, right before Camp NaNoWriMo.  Two and a half months later, I've almost reached my word count goal, and I'm figuring out the final scenes and the placement of flashbacks.  Not bad for a novel that started with just an idea for an opening scene, and no idea where it would go from there.

I don't often feel a true "writers block," which I interpret as not knowing what to write.  You know, the feeling that has you staring at the blank page or blinking cursor and having nothing to write.  Maybe it's thanks to NaNoWriMo or maybe it's just because of how I write, but I've always been able to write something.  Even if I later change it, it's words on the page.  I've always felt that way, even before I discovered the NaNoWriMo culture.

What I do sometimes struggle with is motivation, and this is in all areas of my life, not just writing.  Finding time to write when I'm not feeling motivated is difficult for me, especially when I have a lot else going on to fill my time.

Since the start of Camp NaNoWriMo in April, I've made it my goal to work on my novel at least a little every day, and for the most part this has gone very well.  Even if one day I don't feel motivated, I at least open up my Scrivener project and write a few words.  Sometimes that's been a very few words (a few bad days, it was actually one word), and sometimes I do something else, such as getting caught up on research I've been meaning to do.  Sometimes writing a few words leads to a few more and a few more, until I've written more than I had expected or hoped for.  Other times, just opening the project and looking at it helps to keep it more present in my mind every day.

But for the most part, I haven't experienced too much of this until last week.  Last week, there were a few days where I really, honestly struggled.

It wasn't that I didn't know what to write; it was that I'd decided where the end was going, and realized I was going to have to change my plan somewhat.  That was going to involve rearranging and even rewriting some of the scenes I'd already written while skipping around (which is not something I usually do, but I was inspired to write the material for the flashbacks before I knew how I was going to end the story).

In other words, it was going to be a lot harder than just sitting down and letting words flow.  And I was feeling a lack of motivation just in general during that time, so that didn't help.

One day I just opened the project up and went through the scenes, thinking about how to do what I wanted to do.

I didn't write that day, but thinking paid off, and the next day I rearranged some scenes and got it all ready.

Neither day produced words, but I gave myself credit for "writing" those days anyway, since it was still progress.

The third day I started working on writing the new scenes within the new framework, and rewriting what needed to be rewritten.  Each day I write a little more, and I have faith that I'll get past this rough patch and when I do, the story will be better for it.

It's been slow work, and admittedly, some days I haven't worked on it for very long.  But I don't see it as writer's block, just a rough patch that I need to keep pushing through to get to the other side.

What about you?  Do you get writer's block, and what form does it take for you?

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