Saturday, January 12, 2013


I love my critique group, but they are a picky lot. I began to clean up my NaNo story and gave them the first chapter. This was after reviewing notes from various sources on how to start with a dynamo beginning. Of course, they would only be awestruck with such wisdom in my arsenal.

They weren’t.

They offered suggestions and I’ve spent all week trying to make repairs. I’ve looked at it, re-read, re-typed a phrase here or there, looked at it some more, and an hour later, closed the lid to my laptop. I’ve repeated this several times and I’m stuck.

Being stumped is a major time-suck. I’ve dealt with this in several manners. A butt-in-chair mentality seems like a good idea. Keep typing and inspiration will strike, something will come. Good old-fashioned stick to it-ness usually works. Yet, staring at a screen with little keyboarding has only killed a few hours and did precious little to advance the story.

I tried a different approach. I pulled out another project I’m revising and spent a night on that. But the next day I was still stuck. I ignored writing altogether and read the next night; didn’t work.

I figured I’d just Google “writer’s block,” trade one time-suck for another. That ranged from interesting, to does not apply, to the bizarre. One site said to talk to a monkey – to explain what you’re really trying to say to a stuffed animal or cardboard cutout. Seriously. (Would talking to my dogs work as well?) I’m not sure if “writer’s block” is the correct term. Maybe I need a better phrase to put in the search field. Bottom line: writing-wise, one more evening wasted, though I was entertained.

Seems like the best thing to do is to put it away for a while. The critiquers are just going to get the next chapter. One of these days I’ll open it and try again.

It’s either that or start talking to stuffed animals.

What do you do when you’re stuck?


Scott said...

I try to prevent getting stuck by stopping where I know what comes next and writing a summary to remind myself. It doesn't always work. I'm prone to long blockages.

Julie Daines said...

My philosophy is that a first chapter can never be perfected until the entire story is complete.