October 8, 2011

Writersblockhead

So my story and I have been avoiding one another like the plague lately. It’s not entirely on purpose, I assure you, but it has been a good two plus weeks since we’ve had a good sit down together. True, there was a fairly large province to province move in there and a whole lot of packing before that, but even now we still seem reluctant to hang. While my story hasn’t exactly been hunting me down, I’m pretty much guilty of deking it out like it’s a bad smell, like it’s somebody I dislike and have now spotted at Walmart, like an appointment to the lady doctor… You get the idea.

What the heck is wrong with me?!

If I had to guess I’d say it has everything to do with a break in momentum (Thanks a lot, move!). I imagine another likely culprit is the fact that my story has reached the point where it needs filling in and fixing. I’m inching closer to the point on the horizon that is the end of my first draft, and am realizing that my story still needs so much. For me, this filling in the gaps is so much trickier than everything leading up to it and I’m not quite sure how to tackle the task. Where to start? Where to start? Hmmm…

Instead, I seem to be doing everything but. The following is a list of activities that it would seem I’d rather be doing than actually getting something useful accomplished (like writing or unpacking):
  1. Bouncing up and down in my chair (AKA ‘dancing’ that involves arm flapping like the chicken dance. It’s AWESOME.) like an idiot to banjo music (albeit good banjo music ala Mumford & Sons).
  2. Making list after list after list of things I need to do, but not actually doing them—I rock at this. Seriously, my lists have lists. 
  3. Getting high off the smell of new carpet, paint, and the new “Mountain Leaves” candle I recently purchased from Bath & Body Works. Wheee! (See #1 for the result of this) 
  4. Thinking about getting out my violin and having a go. Note: this violin has not left its case for about 5 years now as I have been a renter with shared walls. What can I say? I’m a courteous neighbour. But now I have good solid walls and am seriously considering a super screechy one-woman jam session.
  5.  Jotting down CAPTCHA words (you know those nonsensical security words that you need to type in when leaving a comment on somebody’s blog) and contemplating writing a Jabberwocky-esque poem. ‘Twas oryon and the psemyo poirs…’  Ha ha…if only I was joking.
  6. Writing this post about avoiding writing, while obviously avoiding writing by writing this post. Say what? (*shakes head like an Etch-A-Sketch*) I think I just hurt my brain.

Maybe it’s what Rebecca Behrens refers to as Firstdraftitis—the waffling back and forth at whiplash speed between ‘Man, this story totally blows!’ and ‘Wow, this is the raddest, ‘fetchest’ (nope, still ain’t happening) story ever!’

How about you? Do you ever have long stretches of time where you just can’t seem to get back into the swing of things with your story? What do you do to dive back in?

4 comments:

  1. In all honesty, Jaime--and this probably won't be helpful to you--I just grit my teeth and do it. If I know what needs to be done, and I'm just procrastinating around doing it (the arm flappy thing actually sounds quite fun), the only thing that really gets me back into it is to tell myself "I can do it now, or later, or never--if I want to finish this thing, just get on with it!"

    Now, if I'm not sure what needs to be done, then perhaps I'll re-read the novel, or do something else in the hope it spurs inspiration. Read a book, work on a short story that contains the word "osessedn," or... hmmm... cue banjo music! ;)

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  2. Colin, you're totally right (ha, I almost typed 'write' instead of 'right'). After writing this post, I actually forced myself to start writing, and it's not going too badly. Yay! I started out with some re-reading and that definitely got me into the zone.

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  3. There you go, Jaime! How to cure writer's block: write a blog article on writer's block! :)

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  4. I think Colin's comment above is on to something--when I don't feel like working on my WIP, I usually sit down and write a blog post first. It gets me into the act of writing, at least.
    I was working on a first draft while moving last year--I don't think I touched it for a month during the move. In my opinion, moving is a free pass to a writing break! But I have a hard time focusing on work when my writing space is disheveled.
    Thanks for linking to my post!

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