Breaking through


There is a pattern to writing. And much like the tides, it is all about ebb and flow.

There are those days when stringing a single sentence feels like pulling teeth. You’re wracked by self-doubt–you’re tearing your hair out and are truly amazed that you were delusional enough to think that you could finish a 50K draft!

And then there are those days when everything is tickety-boo. You’re in the groove and your fingers are flying over the keyboard. You love every moment of it–those are the blessed days when you know that writing is your destiny!

But when you’re stuck and nothing seems to work, it’s truly a writer’s worst-nightmare-come-true scenario. That’s exactly what happened to me after I reached the mid-way point in my current WIP. Chapter Eight had me in a tizzy. I revisited the outline, tweaked it, went back to rewriting the chapter. But it just wasn’t working. I was trying too hard and it was stressing me out. Fed up, I shut off my laptop and for the next couple of days didn’t even look at it–well, the times I checked my email and hung out at Facebook don’t count! πŸ˜‰

When I got about to the WIP a couple of days later, I said a quick prayer and opened the dreaded Chapter Eight. Still no luck. That’s when it struck me. You’re meant to enjoy the process. Not run scared! So I decided that I needed a week off. And I tried not to think about it at all. Believe me that’s tough–and most of the time all I could do was think about that dratted chapter.

After a week, I took another shot at it–made a couple of passes at the chapter. Suddenly, I found myself writing a scene that was completely off the charts. It appeared out of nowhere. I hadn’t outlined it, it hadn’t appeared in a dream, but I was up and away. My fingers were flying on the keyboard. My mojo was back. I have no clue how that happened or why! I was only grateful that it did!

So this is what I learnt:

believe in yourselfIt’s important to believe in yourself. And more importantly to realise that there will always be some down time. If plodding away at your WIP doesn’t help you to overcome the block, it’s OK to take a break. To rejuvenate yourself. To immerse yourself in a book, to watch a movie or two, take a walk, play with your dog and smell the roses!

Your mojo will come back–hopefully sooner rather than later. But stressing about it is the worst thing that you can do! Writing is not any old process–it’s a creative process. There’s a magic to it that’s often beyond our control. The most we can do is channelise it. So enjoy your writing and also give yourself permission to go easy on yourself.

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19 Responses to Breaking through

  1. Love this, Adite! I get into this sort of rut like every other month…it seems to run on its own magical exasperating schedule – like a writer’s PMS. Haha. But I am learning to embrace it and even enjoy it. Perhaps it is the only writers are “forced” to take a break considering how much we love writing! ;p THANK YOU for this πŸ™‚

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  2. I love it Adite. This is a good thing to remind writers that we are assailed with this particular β€˜monster’.
    This part I loved particularly, β€œβ€¦ made a couple of passes at the chapter.” LOL – like a shark lining up a victim. Haha.
    Thanks!
    Kaz β™₯

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  3. Admin - Eleni says:

    Well said. Ideas always come when you don’t force them out. I go for walks or go to the gym to clear my head. It took me a while to believe in myself, but better late than never!

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  4. Karalee Long says:

    Sometimes breaks are needed. Walks work for me. I’ve learned not to stress over it. Instead I tell myself that the way forward always pops up, and I try to think around it. I try to think outside the box. Step back a bit and cast around for another way forward. That usually works for me. I’m glad you got your mojo back.

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  5. Noelle says:

    I went through this exact same thing a few weeks back and it was horrible! Thanks for sharing because when you’re going through it, you feel so alone.

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  6. Milan Vohra says:

    Love it Adite. Totally spot on about enjoying the process! Shirley, love your suggestion we think of it as writer’s pms. Easier to hang in there knowing it’s a matter of time before it passes πŸ™‚

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  7. Dola says:

    I hope it passes for me too..Reading this gives me hope that it will…eventually.

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  8. Love this! Sometimes *not* writing is part of the process πŸ™‚

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  9. janarichards says:

    I’m glad you were able to break through your block. I suspect that while you were doing other things during your time off, your subconscious was working on that plot problem. It just needed some time to work out the details!

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