Thursday, September 29, 2011

Writer's Block and Other Maladies of the Mind

My writers block this week took a different form. I had no problem coming up with ideas. My problem was coming up with too many ideas.
It centered on a single chapter. It isn't an important chapter, so it wasn't like I was working on a load-bearing wall in my house, but I kept coming up with flaws in the construction. I tweaked my first idea with a second idea. Later I considered a third idea ... and a fourth ... and a fifth. I stepped back and looked at the result. It read like a shattered mirror, with the broken pieces reflecting different angles. It was a mess.

So I did what any self-respecting author would do ... I threw up my hands and screamed to the skies. I asked for wisdom. I posted a note on my Twitter account and asked other authors who follow me for ideas. I was greeted by silence. OK, someone is trying to tell me I have to solve this problem on my own. So then I did what any self-respecting author would do ... I stepped back, looked at the chapters leading up to the problem chapter and examined the following chapters I had planned out. The result? I went back to my original idea, with some minor tweaking.

I simply spent too much time and energy working on alternative ideas. The chapter centers on the expanding relationship between a man and woman, and you would think that a guy who has been married for more than 35 years could handle that task. But it is a fictional relationship, and it is a supporting chapter ... kind of like filling holes in a brick wall with mortar. I spent so much time looking for the right mortar that I forgot about stacking the right bricks.

Am I alone in this problem? I think not. I am open to suggestions. Helpful hints, anyone?

No comments:

Post a Comment