Wednesday 19 January 2011

The Struggle

It happens every so often. I get temporary “writer’s block”.
I’m immensely self-disciplined and know that once I’ve been at the keyboard for a while, the words will begin to flow. I’m aware too, that the days on which everything seems to flow smoothly, I write less well. On the days when I struggle a little, I write better.
But what I’m writing about here is a little different. It is the day of the Big Struggle. Yesterday was such a day. I could not think where to take my story next. I had lost the plot – literally. I was beginning to question the main premise of the novel. There are many themes and many issues, and the main one was getting lost in all of the detail. Plus, I worried about some pacing issues. My main character was irritating me.
One problem may be that I’ve had to put this aside for the best part of six weeks whilst I did some remedial work on the novel’s prequel – due out next month. It is easy to forget the details when you’re working with such a multi-layered plot. There’s pressure, anyway. I need to get at least the first draft of this novel finished by September, because then I have to leave the world of futuristic science fiction and plunge into the world of the historical novel. There are, of course, a number of parallels – both include creating another world.
Whatever the cause, for once yesterday, I did not enjoy writing.
I guess we all go through this at some stage – somewhere towards the end of the middle of our novels. Knowing that is useful to me: it’s happened before and it will happen again. How do I get out of it? I carry on writing.
I’ll have that joy tomorrow. I alternate working on the big project with working on others. Today I’ll be working on a non-fiction book. Fortunately, it seems to be writing itself. That could mean, of course, that I’m writing less well.
I guess it’s a matter of confidence. At least I know that this is just a passing phase. The first time you meet this, it can be devastating. If you’re facing that right now, have faith: it will pass.

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