It’s finally happened. I have writer’s block.
Okay, so I’ve been stuck like this in the past. Usually I just take a break for a few days and it’s fine. Really, this is only Day One of stuck-ness, so I shouldn’t be this concerned.
But I think this time, it’s deeper than writer’s block. It’s not like I’ve just hit a wall or something. This time, my lack of forward momentum seems to be stemming from a self-reflection on my story-building skills, or, more realistically, my lack thereof.
Let me back up a bit, specifically to my last post. You know, the one where I said I was going to go freelance. Well, I am, but I’ve made one slight adjustment: the majority of my working hours will now be devoted to writing fiction.
Cue the harps and hallelujahs. My writerly dreams all sparkling like rays of sunshine through rainbow-framed clouds. Unicorns stampeding past, because let’s face it, you’re currently residing in my vision of heaven.
My first week of focusing on fiction was ridiculously productive. I read two and a half books on the craft of story telling, and some chunks of a few novels. On top of that, I wrote about ten thousand words, and I was pretty sure I was on my way to crafting a bestseller.*
All good. Right?
Then I started reading a book about fiction writing, which will remain nameless, that completely stopped me in my tracks. It made me question the first ten thousand words I’d just written, my characters, and my story in general. This fiction writing book was evil. It was maybe good. I’m really not sure which, or whether I can classify it in such a black-and-white way.
Basically, it’s making me question everything I know about story telling. Not claiming I know much, mind you, but I have spent a fair amount of the past ten years learning all I can about creative writing. I thought I at least had the basics down. Now I’m not so sure.
Or, this book could just be one of the hundreds out there that simply gives you one of a hundred other opinions about what constitutes “good” writing. I really can’t say, because I no longer trust my own judgement.
Now cue either writerly epiphany or breakdown.
I won’t go into the details about what this book is claiming. That’s not really the point of this post. What I’m really trying to get across is the fact that I’ve gone from the sparkly “oh-my-God-I’m-writing-full-time-my-dreams-are-real” high to the cold, damp asphalt road of reality. There’s a snail sliding past me here, and I’m pretty sure someone vomited nearby.
What’s funny, writing this out, is I’m realising that this situation somewhat reflects the main theme of the novel I’m currently stuck on: It’s not about what life gives us, but about how we react to it.
Life threw me a book that made me question everything. Okay. So what do I do next?
At least that’s a question I always know the answer to: