Monday, October 6, 2014

Blocked

It's been a rough few weeks in the writing world of the Stephie, and I think I can say that I've been blocked.  Now, I know that there are a ton of well-respected authors out there who say that writer's block is a myth, it doesn't exist, it's just an excuse for writers not to write.  It's all probably true, but that doesn't make the terror of the blank page that much easier.  For me, it means that I now feel guilty for not being able to get the words out, as well as frustrated.  Guilt combined with frustration is usually a good way to make sure I don't make any progress.

I'm trying to work my way through it, which is significantly easier said than done, obviously.  I'm essentially using this blog post as a way to force some words onto a page, and hope that it'll get the words flowing a little more easily.  Considering it took about half an hour to write the last two paragraphs, I'm less than convinced that this is working.

The latest project is coming along slowly but surely.  I've worked on some character sketches to give myself an idea of who these people are, and I need to work out a better plot outline to give myself a better map of where they're going.  I think I've been focusing too much on the research, and that's been sending me into the research black hole that I tend to flirt with.  Were it not for the fact that I find nearly everything fascinating in one way or another, this probably wouldn't be as much of a problem.  On the other hand, I wouldn't be the veritable font of useless knowledge that I am, and I wouldn't clean up at trivia games nearly as well.  Everything has its trade off.

I think my next step to get things going is to interview my characters.  In the past, I've found that it gives me some good insight into the characters, and when I do it this early in the process, they can give me some ideas of where they want (or need) to go over the course of the story.  It also gives me something small and finite to work on, and when I'm fighting the blank page, giving myself a definitive goal (besides "reaching word count" or "finishing the scene") can really help.

Obviously, given all that, the last week hasn't been great - four of the last seven days spent writing.  Still better than half, still not where I want to be.