Friday, November 02, 2012

Overcoming Writer's Block

So, here I am, mind utterly blank, staring at a completely blank computer screen, and hoping some ethereal entity will sprinkle pixie dust in my hair or smack me with the business-end of a magic wand to get me writing.

Ummm. Still no Muse?

What was that Philip Pullman quote?

“All writing is difficult. The most you can hope for is a day when it goes reasonably easily. Plumbers don’t get plumber’s block, and doctors don’t get doctor’s block; why should writers be the only profession that gives a special name to the difficulty of working, and then expects sympathy for it?”

Why indeed?

In my case there’s an awful temptation to just keep on researching. Another trip to the library, a new techie toy, writing program, or workshop? A long drive down Route 66 to make sure my sensory details are accurate. Soon it's information overload.

However, today it's time to step back, reach for a strong cup of coffee, and toss my plotting notebook, with my almost-legible scribbles filling its pages, onto my desk. I don't want sympathy. I want a killer opening hook!

Experience has taught me that even when I haven't got an idea, I must start the story anyway. I can always press the delete button later. Perhaps by the third page I will have a workable idea.

If not, I'll save it to a file labeled backstory, and begin again. I'll rework my plot twists and my dialogue until I not only have a killer opening hook, but a darn good story!

No one said my job was easy, but it is sooo worth it!

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