Fiction Writing

Writer’s Block

Writer’s block is caused equally by a preponderance of ideas in your head as it is a lack of them. It’s whatever force prevents you from writing, or even more insidious, whatever makes you doubt the words you first cast onto the page. The ultimate problem is that we can’t write like we read. Reading good literature is a function of what you pick up at a store or library…and if you picked up something that sucks, you put it down again. It’s the responsibility of the author, not the reader.

The ultimate problem is that the desire to write fiction comes from the same set of motivations that lead us to read it. We know what’s good, and what we like. However, we not only can’t produce that, we won’t produce it until we’ve produced a volume of rough work (read: utter shit) to mine through and refine. It’s a lot more work than reading a good book…it’s even more work than reading a bad one.

I need to remember what it was like the first time I did this. I had an idea for a first scene, which sprang forward fully formed onto the page without much advance thought. The second one was awkward, and didn’t really fit so well. But ultimately, I pressed on beyond, and stringing together a narrative became easier the more and more scenes I had to build off. Somewhere between 5,000 and 10,000 words it went from being a slog to being a creative process…one that was addictive, even if it took energy.

I hate not being there. Establishing a story takes so much work, and I’m not sitting unemployed in a frat house anymore. Getting the energy together to actually pull this together has been immensely difficult.

Life is mirroring this…I know I’m impatient, but being in a holding pattern sucks. And unlike my writing stall, I’m not entirely sure what I need to do to get out of it…or even if I need to get out of it. This always happens…there’s a depressive wave, and then it goes away after a few days, and I’m happy again. And in the past, solving whatever I was sure was the cause of my funk never helped…either it did nothing, or something else entirely ended up being the solution.

And I have total control over my writing situation…as for everything else, I guess I’m new at this. No surprises there.


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