This is how I define Writer’s Block: It’s not a drought of words. It’s writing the wrong words.
I wrote in an earlier article that the goal is to finish your story. Putting down words – any set of words – was important. But now I’m defining Writer’s Block as wrong words coming out. And then I’m saying do not edit your work while it’s still not done. That should be for later. Am I saying just keep laying down the wrong words for the whole story while your heart breaks?
No. Let me finish.
There’s a certain amount of editing you can allow yourself mid-writing. It’s after every chapter. No matter how soul-sucking and dignity-vanishing the words may be, write them down and finish that chapter. They don’t have to be the best words.They just have to carry the chapter. If it’s so many miles away, fix it. All it has to do is pass, not fly. When it finally does, go write the next one.
Here’s the danger. You’ll find, while editing, inspiration will suddenly strike and say there’s a better way to write the chapter. It’ll totally make the whole story soar. You don’t completely know how it’ll fit or if it will even change everything, but you don’t care. Your story has to have it. So you write it down.
Stop. Right. There.
That’s a cardinal sin. After starting and trashing so many manuscripts, I’ve learned that “eureka” moments spoil everything for current projects.
Your original idea is just as mind-blowing. Give it a chance. I know, creatively, you should go with what your mind and heart tell you at any given moment. But, I beg you, restrain yourself.
As for that stroke of brilliance? Footnote it for later. These brilliances do not deserve to be insertions into already great works but become fully-standing, great work themselves. You now even have a project to work on next.
So get your words down like you originally planned, no swerving about. When your inspiration says go down another path, say you’ll look into it for a future work, not for this one. I can’t wait to read what you’ve written. Write away!
Photo Credit: WavebreakmediaMicro / Fotolia.com