Tuesday, August 13, 2013

When the tap turns off

I’m currently in the New York City area, “upstate” as they say around these parts, meaning for me, Westchester County, where I grew up. Basically, this is a trip partly to see relatives and friends, partly to do some playing (my brother and friends are putting together a band), but hanging over my head is the novel I’m trying desperately to finish by the end of the month. “Desperate” is not any sort of hyperbole at this point. I’m really up against it.

A large part of the problem is that my focus and concentration are incredibly fractured at this point. I feel as if I’m being pulled in eight directions at once. When one is trying to write fiction (or probably even non-fiction), this can be terribly disruptive to the creative process. Writing requires exceptional concentration and focus. That is something in short supply for me at the moment.

The result is I’ve been staring at the proverbial blank page for an hour this morning with nothing much coming out of the creative tap. Yeah, I’ve written some sentences, but I’ve given all of them the boot. What I need is a way back into my story. I’m outside that door right now, and can’t find the handle, let alone the key.

Having been on Type M since the very beginning, I wondered if I or others had written anything on this subject. Turns out I did. To strip my acres of prose down to a pithy few words, what I said way back when was basically this: if you’re stuck, move on to a different part of your story and start writing that. Being close to the end of Roses for a Diva, I have the plot pretty much lasered in at this point, so working on a later scene is not a really big deal. I already know what needs to be said. So as soon as I finish this post, that’s what I’m going to do. Who knows? I may even write the last scene. Hopefully, by that point I’ll also know how to say what I need to say back at the place I’m currently got stalled.

The key is to not despair, throw up your hands, and walk away. I’ve got to get words down on the page any way I can at this point. And there is always something that can be done. Heaven knows, the parts of the novel I have written need work. I could also go back and do some revision.

So, even when the creative tap turns off for awhile, you can always keep working – if you really want to.

And now, back to work…

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