In my previous post on this subject, I spoke about the need to identify problems in our writing which, with or without external factors, might well be the cause of writer’s block. I focused on asking the question ‘Why is this?’ and ‘What exactly is the problem?’ Once these questions have been answered another should be added: ‘How do I fix this?’
As straightforward as possible
Recently, I have been finding any number of reasons not to continue writing my latest novella in progress. Having worked out the ‘why’ and ‘what’ of the matter, I realised that I needed to deal with the ‘how’. I knew that a bit of rewriting would be essential and while I rode the bus home from visiting a friend yesterday afternoon, I thought about the way I was going to go about this, in order to make the process as straightforward as possible.
Mentally removing the block
I decided to make a copy of the document which contains the first few pages of my Act One. This would, in time, replace the original. I then bracketed the area in the original which required removal, then hopped over to the copy, and did just that. Next I returned to the original, and one by one, copied the structural labels I’d put in the comments boxes at the side, to the second document. After this I read the copy through, cross checking the labels as I did so, and found that the whole thing was flowing so much better. And just to prove the point, I continued with a few more lines of writing, crossing over the barrier and mentally removing the block from my consciousness.
Easier to handle
I’ll keep the original document for the time being, as the writing I removed will come in handy later. I need to incorporate the information into the continuing narrative in a different way, so to still have a reference point is necessary at this stage. I don’t want to waste my words, even though they will be used differently, to avoid my original information dumping. This in turn will make the continued writing metamorphosis an easier matter to handle.
A new perspective
Indeed, it is change that brings about writing transformation, I’ve discovered. Principally changing the way we go about things. Through riding the bus, I had removed myself from the four walls which surround me as I write, and this gave me a new perspective on the task in hand. Similarly my best ideas often come to me when soaking in a bubble bath. Best still, when appropriate, I take myself off on small, private writing retreats.
Lots of fresh ideas
I’m lucky to have good friends and family who live in some nice places. A year ago, when staying with a cousin in South Africa, I temporarily ditched the ending of the then current novella in progress, and began the start of the sequel, while sitting by the swimming pool. Soon after that I went to stay at a friend’s house in beautiful Perthshire countryside, making use of a variety of writing stations scattered around the lovely old house and rambling garden. Lots of fresh ideas came to me and I made copious notes. Formerly, a balcony with a view across a valley to a chapel on a hill, in Germany’s Baden-Wurttemburg, had inspired the climax of my first novella. My friend went out to ride her horse and I stayed in to write.
Another writing transformation
A beautiful gite situated on a hillside in rural Burgundy, was the scene for yet another writing transformation, last autumn. Turning away from my laptop screen to view the rows of golden vineyards stretching towards an awesome roche on the other side of the valley, I gradually overcame an advanced state of ‘blockedness’ by identifying the cause of another halt in my writing progress. More recently, at the back of the Beverly Hills in LA, I gained all sorts of new perspectives on my writing.
A bit of ingenuity
Lucky me, indeed! But a change of scene can just as easily be engineered in one’s own backyard. Yes, by riding the bus, wallowing in a bubble bath, or doing what I did last Christmas. Spending it alone, I created different places at my dining room table. One at which to eat. One at which to make notes. And one for my laptop and the actual process of writing. All it takes is a bit of ingenuity.