In my last post, I talked about hitting my brick wall in my first draft. It didn’t seem to matter what I did, I ended up tinkering, rather than making proper changes, or indeed, moving forward.
Psychological thriller writer Jess Ryder suggested I just start on another chapter. I tried, but to no avail.
I tried stroking my WIP, smoothing out bit of text in a chapter or two, adding (and subtracting) the odd word or phrase. I thought I read somewhere that Ernest Hemmingway would spend a morning putting a comma in and then the afternoon taking it out. That didn’t work for me, I can report.
I tried ignoring the WIP, hoping to sneak up on it and take it by surprise. Idiotically, I thought I would be able to wrestle it into submission and then, by God, I would WRITE the damn thing.
What actually happened was that, after weeks of tinkering, I heard a suggestion from a podcast which said to just READ everything that I had written from the beginning and try and experience it as a reader. So I did.
What I found was that I giggled at the bits I was supposed to and was intrigued by my characters. A good start, I thought. I read on.
Bit by bit, the text embraced me like an old friend, and I rediscovered my writing mojo. To my enormous relief, I opened my laptop and I began work on it again last night.
My concerns (I didn’t know if it was good enough, didn’t know if the plot would work, wasn’t sure if my characters were sufficiently engaging) have been soothed. There are issues (all nicely highlighted in yellow), it’s probably not going to be the next bestseller – but there is hope.
This is hardly a unique problem for writers, but it may be a rite of passage of sorts. While I was in it, it felt as if I was lost in a grey, cold mist, but eventually, the mist lifted. This was greatly helped by all the experience and advice from others who’ve gone through something similar.
I offer no advice because what worked for me may not work for others. All the other suggestions I tried just left me feeling more hopeless than before.
And it was so banal. I am a writer, therefore I suffer? No thanks.
And if I come here again, I’ll be armed.