I don’t want to jinx myself here, so hold on a second while I throw this industrial sized salt package over my shoulder…
… Phew, alright! I’ll clean up all that salt later.
So anyway, yes, the block that I mournfully discussed here is, I believe, gone. I don’t know if writing so pointedly about my block worked some kind of psychological voodoo on it, or if it was the redirection of my attitude, or the fact that I got myself back into a routine, but either way, I’m in a good place. Writing makes me happy again. 🙂
Part of what had blocked me so much was my own perfectionism. I felt pressured to “make it good.” Not to mention how taxing the book already was on me, with its daunting plot and other demands. I was working so hard that I forgot to enjoy myself.
So, what do I enjoy about writing?
- Playing with phrasing. No, not “perfecting” phrasing, which I had to remind myself. PLAYING. Discovering, trying something new, getting my hands messy. Fingerpainting with words. (Without the goal of cleverness or beauty. Just play.)
- Immersing myself. Feeling like I’m in my own story, watching it come to life around me while I jot down what I see. Not standing outside with a blueprint, yelling orders at it.
- Getting to know my characters. Fleshing out their inner selves. Getting down into that deep, raw, human place.
- Ideas! What would be interesting to do? What would be cool to see? Where would be a surprising place to go next?
- Laughing. If all fails, crack a joke. 🙂
And I had FUN.
I can’t explain what happened. Somehow, that little reminder nudged my psyche juuust enough to get out of its own way. It wasn’t an instantaneous cure. I’ve had to continually redirect myself. Ask myself, “What would be fun here? Never mind that partypooping left brain of yours, Shannon, what do you want to do here?”
I also decided to try a wordcount goal. My whole first novel I never wrote with wordcount goals, and I resisted it thus far with my second. Why? Because it’s one of those capital-R “Rules” of writing that everyone likes to yell at people, and I hate that. Also I firmly believe in quality over quantity, but that’s a post for another day. Anyway, I had nothing left to lose, so I gave myself the very comfy goal of 2000 words a week.
And so far, it’s working.
I can’t guarantee that I won’t slip off the wagon, or that my block won’t come back. But right now, I love writing again. I LOVE it. I LOVE IT SO MUCH I COULD MARRY IT!
And you’re all invited to the wedding. 🙂