Posted: July 4, 2011
I don’t believe in Writer’s Block. If anything, I have the exact opposite problem. I have never faced a blank page and grown daunted or felt that I’d have an inability to fill it, rather, I see a blank page and my mind explodes with potential and opportunity – it’s not that I can’t think of anything to say, it’s that I’ve got so many things on my mind to write about that I can’t choose just one. I don’t think that qualifies as Writer’s Block as nothing is really blocked at all, per se. Imagination Overabundance. That describes my problem a lot better. Nothing’s blocked, instead I get afraid to open the door for fear that the flood will overwhelm and drown me.
I keep trying to start my second novel, and I have done so at least a dozen times now, not including ideas that come into my head that I never get around to writing down – if we were including those then the number would literally be in the hundreds. I’ve started one about a man who gets lost in the realm of imagination, one about growing up Jew-ish, one about equal rights for men, one about a guy who makes his living being a contestant on game shows, one about two princesses and a prince who go to meet a dragon, many more about love, exploring family dynamics, an apocalypse driven by business and market forces, a novel about space pioneers, three different ones about time-travel, and so on and so on and so on… It’s not a lack of inspiration that’s killing me; it’s that I have so much to say and write about that every time I get going on something, I suddenly find myself getting excited about something else and wanting to explore that instead.
I recall one time, while working on my first novel, I thought I got a case of writer’s block. It freaked me out. I got to a point in the story where several things could have happened, and I didn’t know which way I wanted to go. Again, it wasn’t that I had no direction, but instead I had so many options that I was stuck standing still and having to make a choice. I remember staring at the screen – through the screen, actually, as my mind was a million miles away – for what may very well have been an hour or more, just going through every option in my head, weighing them out, seeing where they might take my character, how each will change outcomes to take me either further away from or closer to my desired ending, and I remember being frustrated about not knowing which one to choose. I just kept running over the scenarios in my head ad nauseum, to the point where I really was standing still for a ridiculous amount of time.
So, what did I decide to do?
Find a cure for Writer’s Block, that’s what I did. I closed my chapter, opened a fresh page in MS Word, and wrote about why I couldn’t write, put all my arguments down on paper, and by the end of the page I knew not only which direction I wanted to go, but where the outcome of each of my choices would have taken me.
My advice: If you’ve got so-called Writer’s Block, try writing about it.
I just did, and I now know why my second novel has had so many false starts – because I’m letting my head rule my discipline – I need to make a choice and stick with it, no matter how much more interesting the next idea seems when it inevitably pops into my head. The first idea was just as exciting when it was brand new, so it’s just a matter of sticking with something instead of exploring every little whim that catches my fancy. Now all I have left to do is choose one of the aforementioned story ideas and see it through to fruition. It may not be the best of the bunch, but I won’t really know that until I’m finished.