Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Road Blocks

Last night I suffered from a tremendously bad headache. I layed in bed pretty much from 6:00 until 10:00. And given that my husband had to work and my three little girls were home with me, this wasn't a good thing.

I do give them kuddos though. They were SO good to me. They played quietly and my eldest daughters (age 8 and 5) pitched in to keep my youngest (3) occupied and entertained. When the blinding pain finally reduced a little, I got up and found all three children asleep in the living room with the end of a DVD going. It was so cute. I felt horribly guilty, and before you think how aweful a parent I am, I was awake for those 4 hours, listening to them to make sure they didn't need me, just sitting in the room with the light out.

Needless to say, this is now how I planned to spend my evening. My hope was to play with them for a while, then get them occupied so I could get more writing done.

But sometimes circumstances are out of our control, and we have a road block.

There are many other things that come up to block our greatest intentions. Sometimes it isn't physical, but mental. Have you ever sat down to write and you just couldn't? No coherent words would come and your story just seemed... blah? Then you write a paragraph and reread it and think, "How aweful was that!"

*raising my hand* I DO I DO!

I don't have a cure for physical roadblocks (except for a hefty dose of pain killers...) but for these mental roadblocks, here are a few things that I do:

1.) Write anyway. Even if the paragraph is horrible so many times the stinkiest writing might spark a little idea to move my story forward and recharge a lagging scene.

2.) Review where you've been. Have you veered off the path into writer's block land?

3.) If you answered YES to #2, you can do one of two things. You can plant a bomb, run for your life, and blow through that writer's block with a big ole chunk of new conflict. This mught come by a new subplot, or a new minor character, or just a mean, evil author doing something horrible to their main character. OR... you can shift into reverse, find where you took a wrong turn, and start over back at that point.

4.) Talk it out. I do this with my hubby a LOT. Even if he doesn't respond, there's just something about explaining what's going on with my book to a LIVE person that makes my brain wheels start turning. (even though they are turning very painfully today...)

5.) Go have some chocolate. I said this vs. taking a break, because I think if we just allow ourselves to take a "break" until the muse restarts... the break might last longer than needed and curve over into avoidance. But... if you get out of your chair, go get you some chocolate and maybe a coke (can you tell I have a headache?!?) and then come back... you've had a little time away, a little pick me up, and can come back with renewed eyes.

The most important thing is: DON'T GIVE UP.

Discussion: What are some roadblocks you've encountered lately with your writing?

7 comments:

Heather Sunseri said...

I hope your head is feeling better. I have found myself relying on my oldest to entertain my youngest when I suffered a headache countless times in the past. It's amazing how wonderful our kids can be when they know mommy doesn't feel well. I think they trive on a little bit of "big kid" responsibility at a time like that.

Roadblocks, you ask? I suffer from guilt of not spending enough time with my kids in the summer while I write. So, for example, I pretty much took yesterday completely off from writing. I have a difficult time taking advantage of the one hour I might have because what I really want is eight hours.

Stephanie Faris said...

I needed this this morning. I'm feeling uninspired and restless after writing several books in a row and rejection after rejection. Thanks for the kick in the butt!

Wendy @ All in a Day's Thought said...

Kids asking for Goldfish and stinking up a diaper. :D
~ Wendy

Katie Ganshert said...

Having a nine month old son at home prety much fills my days with road blocks. Good thing I love my little road block. :)

I agree...just keep writing. JKW. Did I make that acronym up, or has that one already been established?

Erica Vetsch said...

:( about the headache. Those are so killer!

Road blocks I've had...most are mental right now. A death in the family after intesive personal care for a long time has left my mind mental mush.

Jody Hedlund said...

Ugh! Headaches and PMS. I get 'em both and they are big roadblocks! But it helps me to have my daily word count goals. I'm a list kind of person, so when I know I have to check it off before the end of the day, I'm motivated to plug away!

sherrinda said...

I tried #1 once with a headache, but only after I had taken a migraine pill. Not a good idea. Trying to get my fingers to do whay my brain was telling them was very difficult and when I did manage to write a paragraph, it was a bunch of...well, I was on meds...what else is there to say? lol