Friday, January 11, 2013

Writer's (Lego) Block

I think I’ve hit a wall with my writing.  I pounded out three novels in a matter of eighteen months.  I had a fourth that I began to write, then put that one on hold and switched to another of a slightly different genre.  I’ve been working on the “other” book now for the past six months or so, and I have a decent concept but no direction.  I can’t figure out where I want my characters to go, how I want it to end, or anything in between.

It’s not that I have writer’s block.  At least I don't think.  I can write on and on aimlessly for hours and hours upon end.  I’m sure if you are a regular reader of my blog, that’s quite apparent.  My problem is that I can’t seem to put more than a few paragraphs together without getting distracted.  Or bored.  I’m thinking it’s probably time to put this one up on the shelf for a while as well and start a new concept, but I hate starting things and not finishing them.

It also doesn’t help matters that I had this brilliant idea in late October about a new book.  This thought spawned from a very real saga that I alone became witness to, and while the saga ended without much ado, it would play out wonderfully as a work of fiction.  Ever since that point, I’ve struggled on with my current novel, trying to hammer out some new ideas and give my characters more identity and purpose and plot.  But my thoughts are constantly trailing back to this other idea.

It's more like I have writer's Lego blocks.  I started on a magnificent castle, ran out of the pieces I thought I needed to finish, then examined the other options I had and started something new.  I'm sure the pieces were all there in my giant Lego block tub, but I either couldn't find them or needed a fresh perspective.  Maybe my castle needed another tower or levels or something of the sort.  Maybe if I come back to it in six months or a year, I'll look at it completely differently, get that spark I need, and create something amazing.

So that’s it.  I’ve decided, today, that my current novel is on hold while I pursue this new idea.  I’ll now have two half-novels, each about 25,000 words so far, sitting in my Google Drive waiting to be finished.  But why waste any more time working on something that only half interests me when I have a new project that I’m overly-excited to delve into?

I think everyone has this problem from time to time, and probably more often than most would admit.  We fear change.  We avoid the unknown.  Yet sometimes that’s exactly what we need.  Otherwise we keep moving along, beating a dead horse, going through the motions, etc. etc. etc.

Lack of inspiration is a common problem among writers and artists and creative types.  That’s probably why many of them tend to be “starving”.  They get so far with their work, become uninspired, and then either keep piddling with it for months or years or ultimately quit.

I will finish those two novels.  But I’ll finish them after this new idea—one that I’m fairly confident I can write in only a few short months.  Wish me luck.  And good luck to you if you ever find yourself in the same boat!

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