Last week I had a bout of Presque Vu, otherwise known as Tip of the Tongue Phenomenon.
Let me backtrack a bit…
At the beginning of summer I was so far into the writing groove that I was having a hard time climbing out of it when reality begged for my attention. Things like laundry, meals, and other boring stuff was pushed to the back burner in favor of living in my imaginary world and hanging out with my characters.
Then school let out and I spent a lot of time away from my writing and enjoying summer vacation. (Totally worth it by the way and I regret nothing. Click here for the pictures)
However once summer ended, kids returned to school, the house got unearthed from a shameful amount of dust, it was time for me to write again.
And there’s where the trouble began.
Last week I knew what I wanted to write, and what I wanted my words to accomplish. The goals I had for my characters and the storyline were very clear in my mind.
I just couldn’t get it out right.
Everything I wrote was nowhere the level it needed to be to portray the emotions I needed, my word choice was off, and my sentences were stiltled and choppy.
Did I walk away?
No! (aside to some trips to the kitchen for more coffee, and probably too much chocolate)
I applied my tried and true method for overcoming a bout of writer’s block.
A.I.S. (Yes, I stole this from Everybody Loves Raymond 🙂 )
Simply stated, I put my A$$ in Seat and trudged through my block, one rotten word at a time. After I’d spent some serious A.I.S. time I found that the words came to me easier, and soon the scene was just as I’d envisioned.
What do you do when you’re facing writer’s block?
Today’s quote comes from Norman Mailer…
Writer’s block is only a failing of the ego.
Today’s quote is from Rebecca Hargreaves…
Part of being a writer, particularly an aspiring one, is studying craft, but all those rules and tips can become like shackles. It can create timid writers. Ones who are afraid to make giant awkward splashes and instead write safe, neat sentences that may conform to guidelines but are often uninspired. There is a time for rules in writing, but one should only cage the beast after it has been let free to run and wrestle and tumble in the mud until it is exhausted and ready to collapse, willingly, inside the cage.
I belong to a bi-monthly critique group. We kick off the meeting by writing for ten minutes from a suggested writing prompt, then we read the snippets aloud.
Usually I enjoy this part of the meeting, but lately I’ve battled “Writer’s Angst” and its close relative “Writer’s Block” so this what happened when I was given the prompt of “The water was heated, the tea was brewed.”
The water was heated, the tea was brewed, but Sara..
Wait a minute. Nope, can’t use that phrase. I need to practice using active verbs and phrases. Ok, try this instead…
The piercing whistle of the tea kettle filled the air, but Sara ignored its piercing cry.
No good. Piercing repeated twice. Ok, easy enough fix. Cut it from whistle and leave it in front of cry.
The whistle of the tea kettle filled the air, but Sara ignored its piercing cry.
Ugh. Still bad. The order of the words makes it flow weird and makes for horrific grammar. Needs rearranging, but I’m running out of time so I’ll just go with it. Now, how am I going to fit in the writing prompt phrase? It’s definitely passive, which I’ve seen waaaay too much lately in my own work so I don’t want to do it here too. Maybe if I–
“Five more minutes left.”
Crap. Ok, easy fix–just activate the sentence.
The heated water beckoned Sara.
No, no, no–water can’t beckon a person. Great, Christie (writing group member sitting across the table from me who just announced her grand prize win in a prominent literary magazine) just turned a page to add more to her work.
“One minute left.”
And that, my writing friends, was all I got done. But, at least it made for a good blog post :).
I thought today, instead of TELLING you encouraging stuff about keep going, push through writer’s block, you can do it, etc… I’d SHOW you what it means to persevere, and give a blast from the past at the same time.