I’ll be the very first to admit that I am not a professional author. I do this for fun! Sure, I try real hard to put out a good product that’s easy to read without too many mistakes (I’m fibbing a little here – I really hate mistakes and am almost obsessive about finding and fixing them). I’ve also gotten some very positive comments (thank you!), but it’s not my day job. I also didn’t study writing in college or get my masters in literature or anything. Any success I have, therefore, is thanks to God and whatever skills and creativity He’s sought fit to lend me.
All that said, I feel like I am learning some things. First, there’s a lot to learn about writing and editing and copyright law and paper book creation and electronic book creation and audio book creation… Second, I learn that yes, I do get tired, and sometimes the ideas don’t come as easily, or they don’t come at all. However, this isn’t my first rodeo writing a book, and I’ve learned to interpret my writer’s block for what it is – a lack of direction.
As I’ve been writing Beyond 2: The Burning, I’ve reached all the way through chapter 7, completed it, and I’ve hit a solid wall. Why? Well, the first part of my book had a very strong direction involving Van and someone she finds. Now, that character is, for the moment, taken care of, and I’m sort of in a “now wut?” mode. Yep, 150 pages in wondering where do I go from here. (Isn’t this how must books that never get written end up?)
This has happened with almost every book I’ve authored, at one time or another. When I said, above, that I suffered from a lack of direction, I didn’t mean a lack of ANY direction – it’s more of “how do I get where I want to go?” Sometimes, “troving” for a book comes before anything is ever written, and the same is true with planning. However, that’s not the only place they can occur. Now, I’ve read what I have in the book to this point, and it doesn’t lack direction or focus or relevancy. My “now wut?” state is my brain’s way of telling me I need to pause and get some ideas together in order to keep that true moving forward!
And this is the weird part – how I do it. It’s not weird in the sense that I force myself to listen to “It’s a small world” over and over again or watch physics lectures until my brain, out of abuse, pleads to go back to writing. The weird part is that how easily the ideas come when I decompose something. Books, decent ones I think, have multiple plot lines. At some point, all of these plot lines converge or merge or turn into a football pile-up and end with some meaning and resolution of the conflict.
So, practical tip time. Here’s what I do:
1) Summarize what I’ve written so far – short sentences, not paragraphs; five or six at the most per chapter.
2) Pick what the main story lines will be for the rest of the book (big actions, big targets, big goals).
3) Work on outlining them as separate stories.
4) Interleaving those separate stories in a plan for the future chapters of the book will give me the direction I’m missing and grant me new and exciting opportunities!
What’s even better, is the malaise one feels stuck in the “wut now?” mode totally vanishes (at least it does for me), once I go through this process. I have a plan! I have cool stuff to write about! I’ve thought of neat twists and turns that will totally work with each other! In short, I’m excited again!
I’m almost done with this “midway” troving so I can kick it back up into high gear, again. Not only that, I now have my boom mike stand and some royalty free music (for my audio book version of The Rescue). I also have some convention ads that are about to break, and I’m excited to see if those generate any interest. I’ll update more as I have new status to share, but as for right now, I have to say that writer’s block isn’t such a bad thing if you recognize what your brain is really trying to tell you, and you figure out a way to make the pause work for you.
Take care and see you in the future!