Ever fancied writing a book? Sure you have… So, what’s stopping you? The list is endless… believe me, my subconscious is a busy-bee and can – given a few seconds notice – arrive at hundreds of valid reasons why I will never write another novel. Trust me.. the thing inside us that stops us doing certain things is way more powerful than the thing that helps us along. That’s what makes achieving something like writing a book, climbing a mountain, running a marathon or #insertyourowngoalhere so rewarding. But for me, it’s been a while since I’ve written proper words (6 months) and it got me worried for a while.. People who cared would say, “oh, you have writer’s block.’
Hmmmm. Do I?
I thought– initially– that perhaps they were right but let’s dig a little deeper. Writers block? What is that? By definition it is a flow of words, somehow jammed or blocked from rushing forth. Okay… so I’m lacking ideas? No. Actually, the opposite can sometimes be true. Well then maybe those ideas are blocked by something else? Work, pressure, family, money?
I read recently about ‘resistance’. A devious force within us of great magnitude that works tirelessly against our creative pursuits. It can helpfully offer thousands of reasons NOT to do something. It’s as if we are actually programmed to try and destroy our own dreams because, ‘hey, it’s easier not to right?’ Well, yes it might be easier but hell… they’re your dreams!
Work, external pressures, fatigue, family, money? Ahhhhh. Is that resistance I hear. You bet it is.
For me writers block isn’t any of those things, it’s actually a lack of clarity and resulting focus. Let’s take those one at a time. Clarity is achieved by removing uncertainty. By that, I mean I cannot write a single word unless I actively KNOW what I am writing about. Sounds easy. Surely you know what you are writing about? Right? Nope. Sometimes I have ideas and scenes and situations but what is the book about? Why does it need to be written? If I don’t feel I know that, then I am blocked. See? And, focus. Hard to be focussed when resistance is pecking away at you, telling you to quit, reminding you that you don’t know what you’re doing! It’s a vicious circle… down, down… down.
Ha. Well, screw you resistance. It may have felt like writers block (and trust me, it’s torture when you are in the middle of it). But the last 3 months have actually been spent planning; gaining clarity and focus in preparation for the war. And make no mistake. Writing a book is warfare. A war on art and one I have to win.
Joseph Bridgeman Book 2 is taking glorious shape in my mind. It’s going to be bigger, deeper and I hope better than book 1. I want to write it and soon, the tapping will begin and with a good headwind the book will get written.
My characters have spoken up, their desires have driven plot and I found the mentor I have been searching for. If you are thinking about writing a book, stop reading my waffle and head straight to ANYTHING written by Donald Maass.
Or, ‘The Don’, as I affectionately call him. Not to his face – I don’t know him – although I feel I do a little… Isn’t that what all great teachers make us feel? And good Authors for that matter. Donald knows his onions and has unlocked the future of the Downstream Diaries for me. He’s the man. And “Writing 21st Century Fiction” has literally changed my life as a writer.
So, there you have it. My rambling take on Writers Block. What is is and what it ain’t; for me at least.
Funny.. I can hear resistance groaning… It doesn’t like to be dragged into the limelight you see.. It prefers to lurk in the shadows and peck.. but I’m not going to kid myself that the job is done. It needs telling every day to “shut the hell up.” Or it grows in confidence.
Try it for yourself… look out for resistance. Be honest with yourself… but watch out.. It sounds just like you.. and knows the exact buttons to press to grind you to a halt.
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