Writers block

I am sitting here staring at a story I have been writing for four or five years. You figure I would have it all figured out by now right? That I would know every twist, every turn and every detail that was possible. Too bad that  could not be further from the truth. I know the beginning, I know where I am currently at and I know the general path I want my characters to take. The specifics are happening just as I write them though. This allows me a lot of freedom in my writings of course. If I had everything planned out my writing would be robotic in a way. First my characters did this, then the did this and finally they did this. Since I do not have such a road map my story is more organic, I am growing and changing with my characters as I write them. The organic element is nice, but at the same time since I do not have a road map, it becomes difficult at times to figure out what my characters should be doing. 

Getting from point A to point Z in a fiction story can be super easy if you want your characters to have no depth to them. Instead you have to have all these points where your character grows and changes and develops over the course of the story. Without these points your story is just dull and has no life. Each step of the story has to be for a reason, A to B has a different lesson to learn than B to C does and so on. 

The other downside to writing a fiction/fantasy book is keeping things slightly believable. An alien just can not pop up in someone’s backyard and they are suddenly okay and accept that there is life beyond Earth when they did not believe in it before. There needs to be some transition period where they are in denial, even if in the end you plan on your earthling becoming best friends with the alien. This is difficult because typically the transition period is hard to write. I am over half way through my story and I know I have to go back and put in more of a transition for my main character before she accepts what is happening in her life. It is hard though, I want to write the riveting and exciting parts even though I know that my focus should be on the down moments just as much as it is on the high energy points. 

I get writer’s block quite often if you could not tell by the fact I have been working on this novel for four or five years. In the end I think it makes my writing better though when I walk away and do not look at it for a few days. For the last few weeks I had been trying to figure out how to link two parts of the the story I was sure I wanted to happen, but could not figure out how they were going to connect. After a week of not thinking about it, an idea finally came to me. Now my story is moving forward full speed again. Hopefully it will not take me another four or five years to write the second half of it. 


6 thoughts on “Writers block

  1. Are you still as excited about this story now as you were 4-5 years ago? You’ve grown and learned and changed a lot over the years, so it’s possible that you are at a point where you can think of a better plot and the one you thought you were going to work on does not excite you anymore.

    Also, if you’re not into outlining chapter by chapter (by the way, I don’t think it would make your writing robotic), knowing how you want the book to end can be a lifesaving guide. The specifics of the ending can change, but if you have a general idea of how the last chapters will look, it might help.

    I’m responding from the perspective of someone who is frustrated by spending more than one year on getting the first draft down on paper. I’m kind of impatient like that. Some people glory in the fact that it can take them half a decade to write a polished first draft (and kudos to them!). If you’re one of those, then just ignore everything I said 🙂

    • I am still very passionate about my story. I would contribute the fact it has taken me a while to write 75% to the fact that when I started writing it I was still in undergraduate and graduate school, so my time was very much taken up with my studies and 25% to the fact that when I can’t figure out how to proceed I walk away and wait until I just can not wait to write more to start writing again.

      I do have a general idea of how the story will end, but I am not sure how each character will be in the end, there are a lot of twists and turns, deception and betrayals occurring throughout the book so I have a general idea, but nothing specific or concrete.

      I can see your perspective as well as mine. I used to be frustrated that it took me so long to even write a page of the story. If you read my previous post (Writing is not always easy…) it address how I can write a 25 page academic paper in under two hours, so taking hours to complete just a few pages is frustrating, but I like that I can take my time and make it exactly how I want and not feel rushed or pressured to produce a perfect final project in very little time. I wouldn’t say I glory in the fact that I have worked on this for four or five years, but I can say I do glory in the fact that after four or five years I am still very much in love with the story and look forward to seeing what comes out of my mind next.

      • I read your entire response but all I can think is “Wow, a 25 page paper in under 2 hours? Where do they teach that, and how do I sign up?” Haha 🙂 I’m an undergraduate myself, so this is a painful topic

  2. Good luck! I tried to start a novel for four years, then realized I was writing the wrong story. Even then it took a while. The best advice I ever got on writer’s block: play. Write a scene that won’t go into the story and just see what happens, like having coffee with Mick Jagger or something. It may shake something loose.

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