This last week, I hit 20,000 words in my new WIP–and stopped.
The idea, which had seemed so shiny and enticing, suddenly seemed a little tarnished and more than a little silly. I had no idea what I was doing; I wondered why I was trying to write at all. Sound familiar?
A few things helped me get perspective and move through my block, so I thought I’d share them here. You know, on the off chance that other writers get stuck or experience moments of insecurity. (If it’s just me, please don’t tell me.)
The first thing was this little gem from Stephen King, shared by my CP and fellow blogger, Tasha.
Sometimes we just have to keep working.
The second thing was a blog post on braided writing–in particular, this line from author Heather Sellers: “To get across the middle you must involve some element of discovery–something you have to figure out as you write.”
In other words, it‘s okay that I don’t know what’s going to happen next in my story. In fact, this might just be an opportunity for discovery. After all, this is just a draft–a work-in-progress. The whole point is that it’s supposed to be messy.
And the final thing was just a short post by author Shannon Hale on Facebook: “When writing a first draft I know mostly what happens in the story but not yet why it matters.” If a writer I admire as much as Ms. Hale can confess that even her first drafts are pretty thin, then there’s still hope for mine.
For me, all this means that my general feeling of “this-writing-is-crap” is perfectly normal. (It may even be healthy, because it means I recognize that there’s still room for improvement).
Perfection will not happen in this draft. Heck, it probably won’t happen ever. But each draft brings me a little closer to the ideal I have in my head.
I just have to get through this draft, one page at a time.
What helps you move through your doubts about your writing? What keeps you motivated?