Writing can be a long and difficult process. I knew from an early point when I properly began my writing journey back in 2014 that it would take years to get where I want to be.
With any long journey, there are good days and bad days; great days and horrendous days; twists and turns; elation and the blues; and all manners of emotions. Coping with the writer’s blues, and writer's block can be a huge part of the journey, I think, and it’s something any writer must strive to overcome.
Which is a great deal easier than it sounds…
When I get it, it’s like a mix of writer’s block and a lack of confidence. I start questioning the quality of my storytelling, and second guessing the strength of my ideas. I’ve always been a “thinker” when it comes to my personality, and I have a verified tendency to overthink almost any situation in life, no matter how big or small.
So, when it comes to writing, I’m always being critical, and sometimes, I may have to accept I’m being overcritical.
But isn’t this a common thing? Surely all writers go through these sorts of things…
To be fair, the fact I’m writing this blog now is a part and parcel of the way I cope with these situations. I wear my heart on my sleeve, and have a real tendency to express my emotions and feelings as outwardly as possible.
The very nature of this blog is a clear testament to that.
But, to that end, I feel it can be beneficial to write about this sort of stuff for not only my own personal sanity, but also for the benefit of others. I do love the act of giving, and if I can exonerate myself from the writing blues by, well, just writing about it, and this act itself can also help someone else in my situation by merely reading this article, I feel I’ve achieved something.
Yeah – that thing I said about being a thinker; it really is as obvious as I suggested!
But what I did this evening, as part of my worries and strifes about the current project I’m working on, is (begrudgingly) took a break, talked about it to my partner, and then mysteriously found a solution to my current problem.
On my ongoing project, I worry I’ve lost the core design of the story in terms of how I intended it to be from the start. But, I’ve also accepted that the narrative has evolved on its own, which isn’t always a bad thing. So, to help me get through this patch of second guessing and over-critique, I’m going back to basics. Rather than worrying that this project is ruined three quarters of the way through the initial draft, I’m going to reach my conclusion at an earlier stage in terms of the word count, and then flesh out the rest a lot more robustly than I had perhaps originally intended. Or, you could say, the reason I feel my idea has lost itself somewhat is because I’ve inadvertently missed out a lot of the body of the work. Naturally, the solution would be to go back and flesh out what’s missing.
This isn’t a solution that will work for every problem, but the major point here is I’ve found a solution to my problem on this project. In worrying I’ve lost the core identity of my current story, I’ve decided to hit the conclusion (which I already have in the bag) now, go back, and then rebuild and restructure the other parts to make sure that identity I fear its lost is reborn as I go over it again, and again, and again.
I guess it’s like building a house: it doesn’t need to be perfect from foundations to roof in that exact order. You can build the foundations and the exterior, and then flesh out the insides once the structure is in place. I’m already familiar with this concept and how it transpires to writing, but this project has perhaps made me realise its true significance.
When I finish my first draft, I really will be left with just the foundations, the walls, and a roof! All the interior plastering and decorating will need to come afterward. In my previous project, I at least had a house full of rooms, and it was more about putting in the paintwork and furnishings. On this occasion, I feel the first draft will just be a little rougher.
But hey, that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. And what a great analogy for writing, eh? No idea if that’s been used before (genuinely, this blog is an off the cuff free writing experience) but, if it hasn’t, someone ought to coin that one.
Perhaps I just did…
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