Most nights, I can sit down at the computer and pound out 1,000+ words no problem. In fact, my most frequent problem is deciding when to stop. I’m a believer in writing fatigue. I may be able to write for hours on end, but it’s not going to be good.
Occasionally, I encounter a night when it’s just difficult to write. I wouldn’t call it “writer’s block” because (a) that’s a bit cliché and (b) that’s not exactly what it is. Let me explain how I see writer’s block, and then I’ll go into more detail about the ailment that I’ve got.
Writer’s block is a condition. It’s a disease. Unfortunately, it’s a disease that affects more than just what you do or don’t put on the page. It finds its way into other areas of your life.
I have said before that confidence is an important part of writing. I must be confident that what I’m putting on the page is worth putting on the page. To believe that you’ve got something to say, and to have the follow-through to go ahead and say it requires confidence. Gobs of it!
Writer’s block is not just an absence of ideas, or wasted time staring at the blank page. It is a disease that strips confidence. By stripping confidence, writer’s block does much more than these momentary inconveniences, it attacks at your heart: the place that longs and needs to write.
For me, writer’s block is the disease that results from a terrible virus called “self-doubt.” I have bouts with self-doubt all the time. It’s important that this not kill my confidence in what I’m doing. Otherwise, I would look at the pages and the hours and feel that it’s all a waste. Such a feeling can only lead down a negative spiral. For me, staying confident and upbeat are important to the process (and the best ways to fight off infectious disease!).
What I Got
Confidence is not my problem. Writer’s block is not my problem. Laziness is my problem.
At the moment, two of my characters in “Execution” hang in the balance. An important decision must be made that will not only affect them, but will also affect what I’m writing. One possible road could so drastically alter my path that “Execution” would need to become novel-length in order to unravel all of the threads lying exposed.
Is this where I want to go?
Before starting in on a novel in earnest, I want to be sure that I’m writing about people and situations that I can live with for an extended period of time. I need to be able to marry this thing. Not like a short story, where I can date it for a while and dump it if I need to (or, set it aside, only to come back later…begging: Ike and Tina style).
With such a big decision looming, I get a little lazy. It’s really easy to decide not to decide. It’s even easier to make no decision at all and just let it sit.
But, it weighs heavy on the mind and the soul. The next time I sit down to “Execution” (tonight), I’ll take a path. You’ll probably know tomorrow what path that is.