Pushing Past Writers Roadblocks

Damn, it’s hard to reconnect with your story having taken three days off to be a tourist in downtown Los Angeles. It’s hard to reconnect with your story—or whatever you’re working on—after taking any time off. You lose your momentum.

So many excuses are available. I need to unpack, sort my notes, check email, and one which is always available—clean the house. I’ve caught up with Twitter and Facebook now and read some pretty insipid blogs and posts. Returned phone calls and emails, loved up the animals. Now I’m aware I’m procrastinating.

Are you familiar with the 4Ps? Planning, Perfectionism, Procrastination, Paralysis. It’s a steady progression from one to the next.

After any time away from my current book, A Very Private High School, the characters seem insubstantial and transparent, their voices grow dim. They don’t live and breathe in my head any longer. All my Planning and now they’re not Perfect. I’m well into Procrastination. I’m writing this blog, aren’t I?

The next step is Paralysis and I’m determined not to go there. It’s not simply a matter of buckling down and staring at the screen until words appear. I’ve learned a trick or two over many novels.

When I’ve been staring at the screen too long, fingers poised on the keyboard, I know it’s useless to keep trying. Instead I take out a yellow lined pad and my favorite pen and start writing in my best cursive. After a page or two, my momentum reappears. It’s mysterious and for me it works. I don’t question it.

I offer it to you, stalled writers. Perhaps for you as well the writers roadblock disappears and your characters take on form and begin talking to you again.

It’s worth a try, isn’t it?

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One Response to Pushing Past Writers Roadblocks

  1. Dan McFadden says:

    I really think I’m somewhat blessed in this regard. When I sit down to write, I usually know within five minutes if I should be writing…or if instead I’d be better employed working out, watching sports or reading a book. Those times are usually in the evening when I’m fatigued and have expended much of my energy on the mortgage-paying day job. And other times (usually in the morning before I’ve basted these other pursuits with creative juice), I can feel the words just gathering, eager to gray some pages. It’s almost a binary experience for me…I’m either full on ready to write or full on not ready. There is no middle ground, which is great. I don’t have to invest needless energy cajoling words that are deaf. And inversely, it takes no energy from me when they whip me out onto the dance floor. Which reminds me, I best get going. Can hear the salsa starting!

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