For the first time in a very very long time I have (shhh) writer’s block.
Writer’s block doesn’t really exist: if you write every day, even if it’s rubbish, the ideas keep flowing and eventually a good story comes.
But I haven’t been writing every day. In fact I haven’t written something new since I penned a story for my niece back in April. I’ve either been editing existing works or doing other stuff. Knitting, gardening, moving all the downstairs furniture to make room for the decorators coming next Tuesday.
But it’s November. It’s Nanowrimo time. My audio-typing work is done, the children are back at school. I should be able to bang out a 50,000 word manuscript in four weeks. I’ve done nearly that much in four days before.
But the blank page is defeating me. Dog walking isn’t generating ideas like it should. My brain seems semi-comatose. I can’t even get the kids to give me ideas. My son wants a story about Ninjas or Minions, or he wants to write it with me (!), and my daughter isn’t interested in stories at all.
I even embraced technology, instead of giving in to my technophobia, and purchased a bluetooth keyboard to use with my super-duper new phone. That way I don’t even have to worry if the laptop has charge. But nope. Still nothing.
November is four days old already. Nano is happening all around me. I get the Cambridge Nano Facebook updates and people are hitting 10,000 words already. I haven’t done Nanowrimo for years, but I’ve not forgotten that it’s what got me writing novels in the first place.
But sometimes life conspires.
Actually I think partly what’s triggered it is the feedback I got from Mslexia after failing to make the longlist with Dragon Wraiths this time (it made it a few years ago). Their view was that too many stories start in predictable places: school, home. All my children’s books start in one of those two places. It’s hard to think of something else without plagiarising the fabulous books I’ve read or am reading.
Maybe I’m just trying too hard. When I started my first novel all those years ago, I proper-pantsed it. I had no idea, no character, nothing, just a free-write from a bunch of items on a table at college. Now, though, I know the hot mess I get into pantsing. I need to at least know my character, setting and end-goal.
At the moment I can’t even come up with one out of three! Nothing, zilch, nada.
I refuse to believe in Writer’s Block, but perhaps I can accept that everything has a season, and my season now is home-maker and knitter-extraordinaire.
That blank page still hurts though.
As I read your message today, I am hearing a story in your words about how paralysing it is to choose when there’s so much at stake. Perhaps I am dwelling on that thought because my daughter is experiencing that right now in deciding on 6th form and careers when she’s just a little kid but it is not the first time she decided. Among the first was to run away or tell someone, next was to face an autism diagnosis with angry grace, and now it is schools. Good luck, you’ll be great! 🙂
Wow, I can’t imagine the paralysing choice facing teenagers now. When I was at school it was so expected that I would go on to be a teacher (even though I do not have the temperament for it!) and just do the subjects I was good at, there really was no option. I quit art because I wouldn’t get an A: that seems awful to me now!
I hope that I can at least say to my children, don’t worry, you can’t get it wrong, there are always second chances. I did my MA while working a full-time job, and I quit that job to be creative and take happiness over money.
I have just managed to start writing a little bit, after my blankness: I went for the ninjas my son wanted. But you’re right, when there is so much to choose from, making a choice is almost impossible.