Of Roadblocks, Walls and Realizations

It’s never a fun feeling as writer when you run head first, at full sprint, into a wall.  Okay, I did start to notice the wall yesterday, but today was the impact.  Ow, I think I need a chiropractor now.  It sapped me more than a little bit of energy tonight (especially when coupled with several non-writing things, which are probably more a cause of this than the wall), but I think I have the problem figured out.

You see, I’m at a point in my outline where I had a bit of difficulty figuring out how I was going to handle a particular event and the lead up to the next one. And now that I’m trying to write that section, I’m feeling a tremendous amount of resistance in my own brain to writing what I had planned. This is a sign of a familiar problem. Without getting into specifics, the wall I just hit confirmed what I vaguely remember thinking when I wrote this part of the outline, that I had made the wrong choice for the story, that I was trying to force it in a direction that it shouldn’t be going in.  As I said, it’s not the first time this has happened in my writing history, but that means I know what I need to do to get back on track with Possession. In fact, I’ve already done it. I’ve gone back, evaluated what wasn’t working and why, both in the outline and in what I wrote in the draft, which led me directly to what I think will work.  It’s late and I’m too tired to actually sit down and start writing it, but I’ll get to that tomorrow.  I’m currently over 20k ahead of my pace. I think I can afford to give myself the rest of the night off after I’ve made a few more notes on the solution to my problem. It isn’t as if I haven’t been working on it tonight, just not in the manner planned.

No, this is not the post I had planned to write today.  That will probably come tomorrow after work, maybe first thing Saturday if I get totally wrapped back up in writing tomorrow (and I won’t complain about that one bit).

In the good news column, initial test reader feedback on DM is encouraging.

And no, no picture tonight. See above comment on being tired.  I don’t care if it’s only 9:15, my brain thinks it’s midnight.  I think I’ll call it a night early now.


About Julie

I'm a writer and photographer. I always have something with me to take notes for ideas or writing projects I'm thinking about or have on the go. I also like to go around with my camera and take pictures of anything that strikes me as beautiful or evocative. I'm perpetually working on one story or another, while waiting for enough distance to judge the last one (or more). I'm always working on several projects at once, developing the next book, even as I'm editing the last. Beyond that, there's always plenty of scraps and twists of ideas rolling around in my head, eventually turning themselves into full blown stories.
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19 Responses to Of Roadblocks, Walls and Realizations

  1. R. K. MacPherson says:

    I empathize, I really do. I’m starting the climactic chapters of my WIP and I just thought of a GREAT thing for the bad guy to do. It isn’t what I’d planned, of course, and I’m not sure how to get everything shuffled around to this new idea. You’d think it’d drive one to drink…

    The real bummer is that since I write more or less sequentially, I don’t have another section to work on. The most I could do was incorporate revisions to the love scene.

    Roadblocks suck. I hope you get some rest.

    • Julie says:

      Thanks. In some ways I’m lucky. This isn’t a new idea, and only requires minimal shuffling. I write the same way though, sequentially, beginning to end. And I did get some rest last night, which helps some this morning.

  2. Just a mid-month breather, you’re doing great.

    I think that’s the downside of writing challenges like this when the focus is so strongly on the word count that you feel as if you have to just keep on going and it takes a brick wall to make you stop and take stock. Just remember it’s your own challenge so you make the rules.

    Good luck!

    • Julie says:

      Thanks. As long as it’s just the one day, I don’t per se mind the breather. After what I did for notes last night, I think I’ll be back at it tonight. I’ll have to report back 🙂

  3. 4amWriter says:

    Hang in there, Julie.

    I have been there before, and it’s an interesting conundrum. While your new idea is fantabulous, it means shuffling a lot around to accommodate it. That can be good in some ways, not so good in other ways.

    Take heart that you are way ahead of your word count expectation for the day. You can afford this time off from actually putting down words while you reorganize yourself.

    Good luck, and stay well-rested.

    • Julie says:

      Thanks, Kate. Luckily, this isn’t a new idea, and won’t require a lot of change to work it in. It’s more like the right idea that I missed the first time around, when I wrote the outline. I swear, it’s Tavis arguing with me again, but as before, he’s right.

      It was a bit of an epiphany last night that stopped me. I could have sat there, forced myself to continue until I had my required 2500 for the day, but then I realized how silly that was because I’d just have to toss out whatever I wrote of that. I mean, I don’t mind revising or rewriting, but why write it in the first place when you know it’s entirely wrong, just for the sake of word count? 🙂 It gave me some much needed perspective.

  4. Em says:

    I probably could have written that word for word this morning. Those walls need to come with a map attached to them detailing exactly how one either gets around them or destroys them in a matter of hours so as not to upset the writing flow (no pun intended :P) I think it’s encouraging though that you can see where the problem lies and how you might want to get around it.

    • Julie says:

      Yeah, I know. Ah well, Tavis to the rescue again. I think I’ve got this licked, though tonight will be the actual test (silly work getting in the way of writing, but I know what I’ll be thinking of all day).

  5. It is usually best to do as the story says, or as you want the story to do, depending how you look at it. It’s interesting to me…I belong to several writer workshop forums and on one in particular, there is a lot of talk, usually, about what makes a “good” story, what elements or structure a story should have any of course, what editors and agents are looking for. That’s good to a point…we as storytellers should be considering these things. What I really don’t relate to personally, though, is the way many people talk as if they can just totally write whatever they want and bend it and shape it to these ideas. That isn’t how it is for me. I can only write…or leastways, effectively write…what is in me to write. Typically, when I try to go against how the story is trying to go…or how I want it to go…I hit the sort of wall you speak of. It just doesn’t work. And so I have to go back and find again the understanding of how the story should be to proceed. I’m glad you were able to do this quickly, before sustaining any more serious head injury.

    • Julie says:

      Yeah, my theme song currently is ‘Tavis is always right’. He’s one of the protagonists, and I absolutely adore him. He has his own ideas of what the story needs and doesn’t tend to be shy about telling me I’m wrong, though he’s always polite, which is more than I can say of some characters.

      I agree though, I would never try to rework a story to hit what someone else feels should be in all stories. I tell the stories that come to me, as they need to be. I’m old enough to know that conforming to “what sells” has a tendency to lead to “that market is totally saturated” by the time you’ve polished that conforming piece. I refuse to chase the trends like that. Trends are all transient anyway.

  6. Hi,
    I have been awarded the Liebster Blog Award, and because I truly love your blog, I am passing it on to you, so others will enjoy your blog too! Congratulations and have fun!

  7. WHAT? NO PIC?

    THAT does it … I’m complaining, who’s the manager of this outfit????

  8. jmmcdowell says:

    Even if your writing slows because of this, you’re not at the true “brick wall.” You’re thinking about the situation, you’re seeing how you can revise it, you’re able to take notes. An annoying bump, to be sure, but your momentum is still going forward.

    • Julie says:

      It sure felt like a brick wall. I think I was just stubborn enough not to let it defeat me. I’ve learned that stubbornness can be both a character flaw and a tool. I prefer to make it my tool than to let it hamper me. 🙂

  9. Pingback: Measurements, Goals and Progress « Word Flows

  10. MythRider says:

    I wish these stories would come out right the first time. BUT they have a mind of their own. As they develop in personality, they become even more demanding. Sometime we can control them, hopefully for the better, but sometimes they allow us to come along for the ride. We have no choice but to follow.

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