Sunday, August 25, 2013

How do you handle writer's block?

It’s a mystery that doesn’t have a rhyme or reason. As a writer it’s devastating to say the least. The symptoms can vary from staring into space with fingers poised over keyboard, the sudden appetite for social media, and even in some instances headache with slight nausea (usually this is when deadlines loom over your head).
I remember in high school needing to write a paper on my favorite movie, Gone With The Wind. I thought great, I know this movie inside out. This will be a piece of cake. Of course I procratinated and wait until the last couple of days to do the work. I sat down with pen and paper, then it hit, writer’s block. What? I knew this movie, how could I not figure out what to write? This should be simple. But writer’s block has no mercy. I finally finished the paper at the last minute, but it wasn’t my best work. My teacher was disappointed because she knew how much I loved the movie. 
It’s the same with authors. We know the story that needs to be written, but the words just won’t come. I had that problem last week. I’m working on “Victoria” and it’s a historical romance. I started this book last year and I knew exactly what I wanted it to be about. 
Well, as writer’s block doesn’t pick and choose, it started off really well, but around 5000 words in, bam nothing. Then I picked it back up over the summer and got to almost 30,000 words and here it was. Like a monster in the closet, looming there, threatening my concentration. Amazing.
I’ve often talked about using outlines. I have one for this book. It was no help as the block was too thick. I listened to my writing music. I watched historical romances to help spur me on, but nothing helped. The headache loomed, the pressure between my eyes, it was terrible. I could see the story in my mind, but to put it in words, nothing. 
I struggled, I dreamed about it, I worried. Well, after a lot of surfing social media, staring out the window at nothing, it finally hit me. I’d been working so hard to finish it before the end of August, that I’d blocked myself. Meaning I’d pressured my brain into overdrive. What with work, home, everything in life, I’d put too much pressure on the story. 
I knew what I had to do. I had to step back, take a breath. That’s when I did what I said I’d not do. I put the manuscript to the side and worked on something else. Well, when I put it out of sight and mostly out of my brain, I was able to cleanse myself of the writer’s block. It worked. I was only away from it a couple of days when it all flooded in and took over. 
WIth a sigh of relief I’m almost completely done with the first run. It’s funny, all of my books have meant something to me, but this one means something different. It’s like a renewal of spirit. I have a great feeling about this one. The planned release is September 15th. It should be available for preorder around the end of August or first of September. I’ll put out the specific date as soon as it’s available.
As always, good writing and May God Bless You…