When at First You Fail, Try Again, and Again, and Again…

I think I may have touched on this at some point in the past, but I wanted to expand a little bit more because I find myself in this situation, unfortunately, more than I like to admit.

Being bored with what you’re writing, stalling out, avoiding it, not being sure where to go from that point, is not near the worst feeling I get about a story, but it’s still frustrating. You stare at the screen, or you do all sorts of other work, tab out, look at other sites, instead of writing. And then you look at the clock and sigh and realize how much time you’ve wasted not writing. This is especially bad for NaNoWriMo because every minute in the day is absolutely crucial. Or, when you’ve got a deadline due.

Nothing is quite as flustering as having to make the most of your time and yet not being able to go forward.

The best advice in this situation, for me, has been a phrase about perspective, how if you change yours, then you’ll see a situation differently. It’s something used most often with fights and controversy, but it works too for writing, I’ve found.

Desiree sighed as she stared up at the large rock wall. 

The sentence makes you pause and stare and eventually you’re looking somewhere else for entertainment than your own writing. You become stuck because something put you in a corner that you’re trying to get out of, but there’s no way out that you like.

So look at it from a different angle. What was Desiree doing when she got to the rock wall? How long did it take her to get ready, what else was going on prior to this moment that maybe you could expand upon?

It took her longer than she wanted to get ready, but she could still feel the nerves and jitters about climbing the wall.

You have more of a way out here. There are other things to talk about past the first sentence and more ways to transition through to the actual task at hand that you want to write about.

Don’t let a single view throttle your ambition or your story. Experiment, look around, try to find different ways to go about it. When you limit yourself to a single path, you find yourself less satisfied than you would if you had several options, and, again, you trap yourself.

If it’s not a reflective or slow part of the story, instead fast paced, and maybe action packed, the same still applies, but let’s go with a different example.

Bernard took in a deep breath and leaned back against the wall, trying hard to keep himself quiet. 

The same happens here where you lose interest. Some may not. You might look at it and just find yourself stopped. Stuck, caught up in something else and disinterested all of a sudden. It may be what he’s doing instead of how you write it in this case, that you can’t see yourself writing him in a way that has him forcing himself to be quiet.

What can he do differently? Do you see him fighting back, reloading his blaster/rifle, or is he trying to get the emergency back up?

There are always a lot of possibilities, and ideas are everywhere. Don’t write things off immediately, give yourself a chance to try different things, to see what may or may not work. With limited time, you may not have the ability to take a break like you want, but you can still refresh your head and get back in the game if you cycle through other options.

Don’t let the story defeat you, you own the story. Show it who’s boss. 😉

– The Novice Wordsmith

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