When I first started writing back in high school, I tended to plot where I wanted my characters to go. I had an outline, story beats to follow, an ending I must reach. I would stick with this method even if it went against the core of who the characters were. I was stubborn and rigid in my ways, rarely allowing the story to unfold organically, and while having an outline provided a sense of direction, this earlier style of writing mostly worked against me.
See, if I didn’t find a way for my characters to get to a certain point, I would stop writing, put the story away and tell myself I’ll wait for the right ideas to come. I would wait and hope for that divine moment when the words would flow from my fingertips and magically fall into place. So until that happened, I told myself I was simply suffering from what some of you may have heard of as writer’s block.
I don’t think writer’s block is a bad thing. In fact I believe that putting a manuscript away to create some distance allows for the writer to one day open up that same manuscript with fresh eyes. I myself have opened old drafts with new perspective and vigour after setting it aside for a while.
However a risk to writer’s block is that these two innocent words can turn into a constant excuse to not write. At all. I went years avoiding the first draft of my novel because I was scared of what I’ll read, saying that I have “writer’s block”, and that I was just waiting for perfection.
First drafts will never be perfect because that should be the time when I’m still trying to figure out what I want my story to be. The time to lay the foundations, the time to make mistakes. I’d be surprised to find someone whose first draft was perfect and didn’t require editing. And if you did manage to do this, please share your secrets. I’d like to be able to bask in this miracle.
So what changed?
Hearing these type of advices from author…
I soon gave myself permission to stop being perfect with my writing, that it’s okay for it to be imperfect. I created a schedule, wrote whatever I could in that time, good and bad, and stuck to it. If I wrote for longer, great, because even if I wrote a page or two of garbage, garbage that I may never use in the overall story, that’s still writing. That’s still words on a page.
And who knows?
Maybe within that page, I might find a paragraph that I love, a sentence I adore, a word I’m proud of using, an idea, a theme that I’ve never considered before. To me, it all counts, because doing something is better than doing nothing. Imperfect writing is always better than a blank page.
I would like to point out that this is a writing process that works for me and may not work for others. Everyone has their own writing style and if that works for you, I’m honestly glad. Please continue with what you’re doing. If you reached this point of my post, thank you so much. I appreciate it a lot. Now here are the questions of the day for you.
Have you ever experienced writer’s block? If so, what techniques do you use to overcome it?
Let me know in the comments below and I’ll see you next time.