Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Pushing On Anyway

I don't believe in writer's block. I've never suffered from writer's block. I have, however, anguished with indecision, gotten bored with what I was writing, and even gotten stuck because I was forcing characters or plots the wrong way. These I can fix-- writer's block is a nebulous idea with no real solution. (To fix the problem, treat the cause, not the symptoms.)

My solution to these writerly problems is to keep working on the story. Sometimes, I'm not sure what exactly the problem is with the story. But I press on regardless. I may plot, scratching out new ideas, new plot points on scrap paper or at the end of the document. I may keep writing, churning out words and scenes that, hopefully, will be right for the story. Often in this, as I explore the characters and situations, I get a flash of insight into where the story needs to go. But I keep at it.


Why not?

The story ain't gonna finish itself. There are no story fairies that'll come in the night. (No Dish Fairies either, dammit.) Some people swear by letting an idea ferment. Maybe that works for them... I rarely get ideas for how to fix/ finish a story UNLESS I'm thinking about it with some sort of regularity or intensity. Just waiting doesn't solve problems for me, be they in fiction or elsewhere.

And on this note, I am happy to say that finally, I wrote the end of 'Bosom Buddies.' Again. Fourteen scrapped versions. Today alone saw the deletion of more than 1200 words, written only last night. As soon as I stopped writing last night, I knew in my little writer heart that what I had written needed to be excicesd. That came this morning, replaced with a new idea and 830 new words.

This damned story has vexed me for the better part of a year. I wrote it, but didn't like the climax. It was forced and put Bo in a position that I didn't like her in. So, I poked at it, rewrote it, edited it, restarted it, added, deleted, put it away, took it out, swore at it, swore about, and kept at it. Never once did I even entertain the thought of not finishing this story. I hate unfinished projects more than I hate giggly, vapid girls.

I spent most of the afternoon utterly delirious with delight at finishing the story. There's still a nagging worry that I've not pulled it off, likely because I've spent so long being frustrated over this story, that has tainted my perception of it. As soon as I'm up to it, I'll reread the story, then begin the process of preparing and seeking publication for this piece of work.

Even though this story has been damned hard to write, I am so very glad I kept with it. It makes the success (of merely finishing) that much greater.

Now, onto the next project.


Patrick Shawn Bagley said...

Hehe hehe...you said bosom...and climax...hehe hehe.

Okay, enough of that. I like this post. Just what the hell is writer's block? I used to believe in it, until I finally admitted that it was just a way of finding excuses for my own laziness.

Jamie said...

Excellent post - I totally agree, the only way to get through it is just to push on.

And congrats on finishing the story! :-)