Writer’s block afflicts even the best of us and usually at the most inopportune of times. This blockage is fundamentally tied to our fears. It is not as though we awaken one morning and our literary wells have become bone dry – it is that our doubts have somehow crept up on us and have corked all of our outlets.
As I was writing my novel, there were times when the words would not eventuate. I knew where I wanted the story and the characters to go, however every sentence felt as though I were pushing the proverbial boulder up a hill. I realised that it wasn’t because the words and ideas were not there, no, they were plentiful enough, but it was because I doubted my ability to say what I wanted to say eloquently. I wanted every sentence to come out as gilt-edged perfection and when that wasn’t happening, I felt inadequate and the words became even less frequent.
Rather than letting this insidious affliction get the best of me, I used my time of stalled verbosity to find inspiration for new projects. I took time away from my novel and searched for new ideas and experiences for my future endeavours. Sometimes you can be immersed so deeply in a project, that you forget to breath and that can be the worst thing, not just for your project, but also for your own health.
Since I have finished my novel and it is now out there in the big wide world, for everyone to see and judge, it is time for me to move onto my next project. In the spirit of helping fellow writers to remove unwanted bouts of writer’s block, I will be throwing out a challenge to anyone who dares. From tomorrow, I will begin my ‘10 stories in 10 days’ challenge.
Each morning as soon as I wake up, I will free write for half an hour. Free writing is the process of writing without thinking about what you are putting down on the page. Much of the time it is unstructured nonsense – however, there is always something in there that is the cornerstone of a great idea. From my free writing, I will then pick a theme and write a short story. Each day, I will update my progress on this blog and post the first few paragraphs of the story I have written for that particular day. By the end of the ten days, I will have a collection of ten short stories – which I will then publish.
Free writing is a wonderful way to restart the creative process and to eliminate some of the flotsam and jetsam that gathers in the brain and obstructs our progress. It also provides inspiration for stories that you may not have known were inside of you. Try the ‘10 stories in 10 days’ challenge and see how far you can get. It won’t be easy, but I do enjoy a good challenge.