It’s been no secret that I’ve been struggling with my writing of late. Motivation has been low, enthusiasm weak and my faith in my abilities has been questioned on a routine basis. Yet, being able to share my difficulties and write about them here has transformed my problem into a solution. After realising I needed a break from my current Work In Progress and being able to admit that to myself in my ‘When writing your novel is like trying to coerce a cat into a bath…‘ post, something changed. I began to allow myself to simply write the story as it occurred to me, not concerning myself with the previous version and just let the words flow.
As a result, I’ve now written the next three chapters – bringing me to the end of the first section in my novel. They’re not the best of chapters, but they are certainly better than the ones I had originally. My writing has improved over the last three years, I do understand my characters and their motivations in more detail and, surprisingly, I feel able to deal with the new material with a little bit more objectivity than I thought I might.
Whilst writing, I discovered that two characters I had previously thought would not seen one another for twenty years were actually in more regular contact. This interferes with my original plot. However, I now have enough distance and experience to know that I need to make this newer version work: the reasoning behind their contact makes much more sense than being estranged for twenty years. It also creates a lot more tension and will provide a stronger climax moment when a big secret is revealed.
Without knowing it, my muse is taking control of the plot and guiding me in the right direction – a direction I can now appreciate adds additional flair and intrigue to my original novel concept. My mind is taking what I have learnt over the past three years and is putting it into practice. Outwardly, I just haven’t caught up yet.
Having a place where I can confess my fears, analyse my feelings and logically arrive at conclusions regarding my writing life helps with this process. Just by admitting I was struggling and acknowledging I needed a break – that I understood my enthusiasm was flagging because of external factors and an element of repetitive strain – gave me the mental freedom to put those frustrations aside and move forward. And now I feel that I’m back on track; capable of completing those first five chapters that I wanted to finish before April to a standard I’ll be happy with.
What helps you refocus and move on when you’ve been having a tough time with your writing? Do you think that airing out your thoughts is a useful process to help us move past that which might be bothering us?
Let me know in comments, or (as usual) Tweet me.