This summer I worked on the second draft to my story. Then I went away to Texas for a family reunion. I didn’t bring my story with me for various reasons. However, when I returned to the novel I had trouble.
I struggled to get excited about the plot or the characters. I had to push myself to work at it daily. Writing that novel was the last thing I wanted to do in life.
It wasn’t until I was taking a walk, simply pondering the story, letting my muse frolic, that I had my breakthrough. Immediately my writer’s senses returned to normal, and I was eager to get back to the computer. From that point, I was able to write scenes that had purpose. Give characters a reason to be on the page.
I realized my mistake. I should have stepped away from actively writing. This is different from putting your project aside. I’m the kind of writer who is happiest and most productive when I work on a project every day. If I step away from a project for too long, I lose my writing momentum. Then, I panic and push myself to make up for lost time and my muse stalls out.
Rote activities are awesome remedies for mental blocks. Not just for writing, but for any time when you’re feeling overwhelmed or unproductive. With rote activities such as walking, driving, washing dishes, you don’t have to concentrate on the task. Your muse roams freely and uncensored. There is no pressure to perform.
When you’re actively writing, sometimes your logical mind intimidates your muse. Then your inner critic jumps into the fray and all hell breaks loose. You’re blocked.
Yes, it’s important to stay engaged with your story on a regular basis to keep moving forward. Just remember, giving your muse a chance to work from a pressure-free zone helps to work through snags.
What do you do if you’re writing junk that makes you miserable?