I’ve said on here before (and let’s face it, I’ve blathered it in lots of places over the years) that I don’t believe in writer’s block. Either it’s procrastination or laziness or a sign that something else is going on.
The past few weeks I’ve struggled with it. Part of it is writer angst because I’m getting ready to query on my YA project. Another part is that life is busy and I’m having trouble squeezing in the writing time. The biggest part is this: I couldn’t figure out how to attack a non-fiction essay I need to write. It’s easy for me to realize I’m hitting something from the wrong angle: I get stuck. On a short story I’ll get one or maybe three pages in and just … stop. For a novel the benchmark is around 10K. If I’ve written 4 pages on a short or say, 12K on a novel and I want to keep going, I know I’m on the right track with the POV and voice and all that. The essay has been particularly troubling.
I haven’t been able to get past three paragraphs. Less than a page.
I started that page four different time in four different ways. Still nothing.
Then I took a step back. Started and finished a flash fiction piece so I could see that my writing ability hadn’t completely left. Then I examined why I was having trouble. I want the essay to be poignant and emotional and maybe a little raw … but I was writing it with that in mind. I had forgotten my own advice: that if you’re writing drama or lots of emotional scenes, you can’t forget the humor. Humor makes the drama more dramatic. Like salt makes cookies taste sweeter. So I started outlining a different structure to the essay, trying to figure out how to bring the drama and poignancy while still bringing the funny. I won’t know if it’s working until I hit 1,000 words.
But you know what? I totally can’t wait to write tomorrow.