How Writing is like a Dead Armadillo

20130915-210419.jpgAs I drove home today, I thought of writer’s block. I thought of this mostly because I needed to figure out how I had a block on certain projects but not on others.

If I’m writing flash-fiction, or for Daily Picspiration, or some random fancy that caught my attention, the words come only moments after I’ve set a goal.

When I sit to do that for my actual wip, my fingers develop some sort of disorder where only a handful of words are pecked free every few moments. I’ve never felt such a need to write with such a lack of…product.

So, I decided to figure out what my problem was…you know, to fix it. What is it that keeps me from writing on the most important project (besides my thesis)?

It has been the most frustrating block I’ve ever had. And it’s entirely mental. (I guess what else would it be?) I’ve been feeling like I don’t know what I’m doing. Not that I don’t know the story. I do. I know where it’s going, how it’s going to get there, why. But when I try to write it I question every decision as I make it. It takes me forever.

I don’t want to take forever.

So I experimented.

I stopped re-reading as I wrote and just wrote. I didn’t re-read it after I reached my goal. I closed the document. When I went back, I read two or three sentences to get my bearings and charged in. I got results. Not great results. But results. And then I thought–well, writing (or at least writer’s block is like a dead armadillo in the road. Slight discomforting, hard to face…but you can move past it. You can drive past it.

Then, you just have to keep it up. That’s really the hard part.

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5 thoughts on “How Writing is like a Dead Armadillo

  1. I had a similar problem recently. I’ve never experienced writers’ block in any all consuming way, but I have had a block for certain projects – usually the big ones. I have a theory that might fit for you too, that this is because these projects mean more, we are more invested and so there is more pressure to make them good… so we stress and can’t write anything.

    I discovered that if I just skip a scene and move onto the next one this helps. Unfortunately, I’m not good at keeping it up… so I keep moving it fits and bursts. And now I also have two half finished WIPs with scenes missing all the way through.

    PS. I thought armadillos were fictional creatures til I googled after reading this post… heh.

    1. I think you’re right. These projects that are like concrete walls mean so much more, and this one does have a lot of significance for me. I’m kinda holding it up as my last chance at something—I’m sure I’m putting undue stress and importance on it, but even saying that, I can’t effin change it. Pulling hair has never been so therapeutic. And painful.

      You know, I’ve skipped scenes before but I was hesitant to do it for this wip. I think for the very reason you’re saying–it’s going to turn into (even more) fits and bursts of writing. But that’s gotta be better than nothing, right? (Right?!)

      As far as armadillos, they seem fantastical to me, too, so I can see why you’d think they were fictional. Fortunately, they are real! Unfortunately, they are often road kill here in Georgia. :(

    1. I know my silence doesn’t show it, but you’ve been on my mind, Sarah. Whenever I seriously consider writing of any sort, I think, “Sarah would know,” or “Sarah could help.” In other words, I’m really glad you needed it as much as I needed to say it. And have it be heard. You’re welcome, and thank YOU.

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