I’m working on something new right now, a long form story that might run over 10K words. It’s flowing very well, and I’m writing to a mental outline (because I’m really bad at writing them down).
What’s the problem, you ask? It isn’t my primary WIP.
I signed up for a course to help me plot that WIP like a pro, and then write it efficiently. Sadly, I am struggling with the step-by-step approach that is absolutely guaranteed to work. Except when it doesn’t.
Because the plotting isn’t working, my WIP has ground to a halt. In contrast to writing the shiny new story, I found myself blocked, struggling to regain that easy sense of creation. Meantime, I have written a few short stories for the writers’ group. But the more I struggle to fit into a particular way of doing things, the more constrained I feel. It’s like wearing blinkers inside a box. I can’t see which way to go, and straight ahead isn’t working.
Plotters vs. Pantsers
We are often advised, if we want to grow in skills and as humans, to challenge ourselves. I am all for this. So as a confirmed pantser, I am trying to learn the art of plotting. Currently, this is not going well. But – I am still writing. During the writing and re-writing of my first novel, taking time away to work on another short project had many benefits.
- A sense of achievement from finishing shorter pieces
- A rest from story problems
- During which I gave my brain a chance to come up with answers
- Returning to the main WIP refreshed and with new ideas
It’s all material
I found the picture above at random. I chose it for this post not because it’s immediately useful, but because I like clouds and mist, and it suggests a story, . It’s beautiful, and therein lies its utility. Inspiration cannot always be harnessed to a particular vehicle. Like a wayward horse, sometimes creativity needs to have its head and explore the meadow. Afterwards, it is more amenable to direction.
If I think I have writer’s block, it is a sign that I am trying to force myself in the wrong direction. Time to check out another path and keep going, because all writing is #writing.