Monday, August 25, 2008

My Lightsaber's Broken

Darn! I was planning on doing a video talk about procrastination, but wouldn’t you know it, someone got there first. I can’t do it now – everyone’s doing it!

So I’ll write about writers’ block instead.

A creative writing teacher of mine once said: There is no such thing as plumber’s block. She meant that if you are a plumber, and you have a job to do, you do it. Without waiting for inspiration or the muse to take you by the hand and guide you to that blocked toilet. Writing is also a job. So go ahead and do it. An opinion I have always agreed with. As Yoda says, do or do not. There is no try.

Today, for what I think is the first time EVER I couldn’t write a word. Sure I’ve had days where my writing might have been better, and has to be reworked. Days when I didn’t write because I didn’t feel like it, although they are rare. But today I sat and stared at my computer screen. And nothing came.

Let me step back a bit and give you some details.

I have finished the second draft of the aforementioned Smith and Winters book #3. It has gone to a friend of mine for critique. At this point, I won’t look at the work until I get it back from her, and then perhaps not for some weeks after that. In On Writing, Stephen King wrote that you need to distance yourself from your work before reviewing it once again. He suggests six weeks, and I find that’s always worked well for me. After that six to eight weeks passes, I’ll edit the book again. Gold Digger is at my editor, and I am waiting for it to come back with her suggestions, so I know how the mind of my new publisher works, before I start thinking again about Gold Fever, the second in the Klondike Mystery series. I write because I like to write, certainly not for fame and fortune. So in the interim I have an idea that I’d like to explore for something completely different from what I’ve done before. I started on Sunday. Put my thoughts down in bits and bytes, filled out some rough character sketches, wrote a time line of the family involved. And then I wrote the first scene. All in all a good day’s work.

This morning I simply couldn’t get into it. I felt like a superhero character whose powers have suddenly left her. And so, I gave up.

I’ve been thinking about it all day. Wondering what’s going on. The first part of a new book is usually the easiest, ideas hitting me left and right, so fast my fingers can barely keep up.

Today, nada. Tell me, Obi Wan, will I ever get my powers back?


Unknown said...

Thanks for the post and sharing your experience with us. Writing is a art of expressing your ideas, feelings in suitable words so that it can be understand by readers. Blog is a place where you can write what you want to share with the people.

Debby (Deborah Turrell) Atkinson said...

I like Rick's advice, and that's the plan I would follow first. Sometimes, if I'm in the middle of a project and get stuck, I get a whole new sheet of paper (or new Word Document) and write backstory on the character(s). Parents' names, brothers & sisters, how old they are, when character fell of bike and broke arm, old boyfriends, most embarrassing experience. You know. It kind of gets me rolling, and there's no pressure--it's goofiness is liberating.

Debby (Deborah Turrell) Atkinson said...

Oops, feel free to misspell and make grammatical errors, too.