If you are a writer then you know that inspiration doesn’t always come at the most convenient times. We’ve all hit those moments in our writing where it’s suddenly like you are walking through a tub of goo. During these times the words come out awkwardly and all the parts of the story seem to almost fit but not really like when you are putting together a 1,000 piece puzzle and some of the pieces are upside down and backwards. During those times of blockage it seems like all those “inspirational” writing quotes that flash by on twitter and Facebook come out to mock me. Images that advise things like:
(To this one I always want to say- “YEAH, it was only 500 words and will probably need a complete overhaul but, yeah, I wrote today. *eyeroll*)
Then there are the relatable ones that make me want to ask the person that made it to be my best friend:
There are lots of ways to deal with writer’s block but sometimes it just takes a “pushing through” phase. It reminds me of a 24 hour road trip I took from Chicago to Yellowstone with three little boys ages 4, 3 and 1 (don’t ask me what we were thinking). The trip seemed to fly by until we South Dakota. Suddenly we were speeding down these looooong barren roads with warning signs that read “Last Chance” because there wouldn’t be a gas station for another 50 miles.
These were the hours where Joe and I sang loudly to ska music and gave the kids ANY food that would keep them happy. It felt like we would NEVER get to our stop in Montana. Then, hours later, exhausted and almost out of gas we stopped just outside of Billings to fill up. As we pulled into the dilapidated gas station I was all up in my head, dreading changing the kids into their pjs in what was sure to be a gross gas station bathroom. But, as Joe filled the gas tank and I crossed the empty parking lot with three little boys in tow, I noticed the sun setting over the mountains just west of us and how it reflected off the rims that encircled the city. The natural beauty of that sunset stunned this girl from the flatlands of Illinois and suddenly I was grateful for the long, rocky roads of South Dakota, because they got me there, to that sunset.
Sometimes when we write we need those long, seemingly never ending roads of hunkering down in order to get to the “sunset over the mountains” pay off. It’s sticking with it through those rough moments that make it even more satisfying when the words come easily, the story all seems to click together like it popped into your brain fully formed and the characters become as real (in your mind) as your best friend or next door neighbor.
Right now *knock on wood* I’m enjoying that “on a roll” stage in my current WIP. I feel a little weird declaring it like that, like I’m bragging or jinxing myself but I think after working so hard to get here, it’s worth celebrating. It’s a trick I learned while running. As soon as I could see a hill ahead of me I would force myself to get excited for it and to run extra fast to get to the top because I knew for every up hill I struggled through there was ultimately a downhill following it. Well, unless you start at the top of the hill and end there too…but that messes up my analogy so I’m ignoring that option.
How are all you writers feeling right now? Are you on a roll, going slow and steady or maybe stopped off at a rest area? If you are stuck on a hill, take a moment to savor the burn because it’s making you a better writer and soon you’ll be running downhill so fast your feet (or your fingers) won’t be able to keep up with you!