Sunday, August 15, 2010

The dreaded writer's bl....bottleneck

August 15, 2010

I parked my butt in my office this weekend, intent on writing. I did write - all the way to about 3,000 words. If only those words had all been on the same story!

The Muse can be a fickle little thing. Even after spending so much time with her, she's often a mystery, but I think I may have figured out something.

I read a lot of blogs, and writers everywhere address writer's block. No one wants to come down with it since it's often resistant to standard cures. A writer can re-read their favorite books, take a little vacation, sit and stare at a blank screen until the ice breaks- whatever it takes. For me, the solutions are as myriad as the causes.

Experiencing either a total lack concentration or complete tunnel vision locked on one unsuspecting target, I have to figure out which pole I've gone over to before I know what to do to break a block. Complete focus is the easier of the two to manage. I simply take a walk, ride my bike - anything but write. It clears my head and allows my thoughts to reorder themselves back into some semblance of coherency. Lack of concentration is a harder row to hoe.

I never know for sure what triggers these little episodes of scatterbrainitis. Stress is such a catchall, but I'm sure it has a lot to do with it. And we all know modern stress is killing us, breath by breath. I'm sure if I could afford to retire, I'd be soooooooooo much calmer. (So buy more KC Kendricks books, please!)

This weekend, I realized part of my lack of productivity stemmed from not knowing what project I wanted to work on next. I'm signed up for two PAXes with deadlines of December 1, 2010, and March 1, 2011. I have another adventure for Fallon and Sundown started, and I'm developing a new series that ties the threads together through one or two central characters, much the way Theron and Austin did in the Southern Cross series. So with all this floating around in my head, it was no wonder I couldn't focus.

I decided to use that energy in as positive a way as possible. I opened each folder, one at a time, and went through all my notes, adding whatever flowed quickly out. As soon as the train of thought broke, I closed the folder and moved on - to the sum of 3K words! Writer's block busted wide open!

Do I want to work this way all the time? NO. I don't think it's good for me personally to reinforce this little problem I have with my attention span. But now I understand that sometimes the block isn't a block - it's a bottleneck. Now I have an easy, productive way to forge ahead.

Sometimes it takes a long time to figure out a simple problem.

KC Kendricks
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Unknown said...

Oh do I feel your pain. I am suffering from lack of concentration myself. I just can't seem to get my thoughts in order and every time I look at my stuff I want to run and hide. I know I've got to get them done, but it's so easy to let other things distract me right now. Though right now has quickly turned into a week. Ugh! 563 words written in one whole week. I am terrible. I'm happy things worked out for you. It gives me hope that I'll snap out of this soon.

KC Kendricks said...

You know the old saying, "this, too, shall pass." And it will. Give yourself permission to have an official night off. Every time I do that, I end up with a burst of words :)