• Abigail Linhardt

Writer's Block: Still Not A Thing

This month I experienced my first ever struggle to get good words onto a page. It wasn't writer's block because there is no such thing, but it was terrible and I hated it.

I have never had Writer's Block as other people describe it. I have never not been able to write. I have Not Written before, but never not had something to say or pen. There has always been something to write for me. But this last month, something awful happened.

I have a sequel due to my publisher in September (shhh, secret!) so I decided on the word-length (ish), did the math, and found out how many words I need to write a day in order to have time to edit, get some betas, and edit again before I send it to my publisher's editor. I cranked those words out! By February, I had something like 23k words written. They were ok words. The story was not coming out, the characters were not 3 dimensional, and I could not get to the first pinch point.

By the second day in February, I was in tears. Livid. Drinking, as writer's due, praying to the muses to have something better. So many words and only about half are going to make it to the final project. This can be disheartening: spending so much time writing SO MANY words you KNOW you are going to cut or edit super heavily.

But that's the side of writing no one talks about much. Everyone sees writers as these bearded, robed people who sit down at a typewriter and write like that guy from Stephen King's short story "Secret Window, Secret Garden." Some WritersTM flex and say they can write a novel in four months.

Side quest: Don't be that author that "plans" (not really planning) and wastes time on social media and says they are writing either. It's ok if your novel takes a year. But don't fart around and then say it is happening when it' not. PLAN YOUR TIME AND GET IT DONE.

Ok, any way.

I am still writing this novel and it's getting better. What was the issue? I only had the ending.

Yup, having your ending is crucial to know what needs to happen, but a story cannot live on ending alone. You need the Ending for the Begining, The Middle Ending, and the Almost Ending. I always start with an opening scene and then figure out the ending because I KNOW if I don't know what the resolution is, then there is no journey. But this time around, somehow, I forgot the journey. And then, when I thought about it and how "I know what happens at the end!" it didn't seem interesting to me anymore. I knew what was going to happen.

I don't have an answer, because this has never happened to me before. But I wanted to share it. I had to take a week off and do creative meetings with myself. I video chatted with myself for HOURS to get an idea. I listened to music on youtube and looked at the pictures accompanying them. I gave up and wrote on something else. Finally, the little spark came back and last week was a very profitable writing week. It is starting to fizzle again, but there are other things I am doing to remind myself that I can write this. One thing that is weighing down my writing is the "reality" aspect (Philip Athens says there is a difference between probability and reality). I write fantasy. I forget that some things really can just be Magic. I don't have to have a scientific explanation for why something is that way. And portal fantasy has a few rules I can break too. How did I forget what genre I was writing in? No idea...but remembering what I can do has helped. Anything can happen.


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 © Copyright 2020 by Abigail Linhardt