I should be working on my current manuscript, but (as is my tradition) I’m experiencing an annoying case of writer’s block now that I’ve hit the two-thirds mark.
I have no idea why I always hit a wall at this point in a manuscript. Maybe it’s because I write nearly every scene in order, so if I get stuck I have a tough time moving forward until I can nail the particular scene that’s holding me up. Sure, I could skip to the end and fill in the rest later, but somehow that feels like cheating. It’s one thing to write scenes out of order when I’m jotting them down in my journal, but when it comes to actually writing a rough draft, I like to write the scenes in order so that I can chart the progress of the plot and let the story unfold as I go — agonizing over the crisis, fearing for the happiness of my romantic couple, experiencing the joy of their eventual happily-ever-after, just as my readers would.
Another contributing factor to this obstinate blockage is that my stories have a tendency to take on a life of their own and evolve in ways that I hadn’t anticipated. The fringe benefit to this approach is that the story often turns out to be much richer and more intricate than when I originally plotted it. Unfortunately, it also means that sometimes I write myself into a corner and have to figure out a new escape route.
The worst part of it all is when the self-doubt sets in. I know it’s irrational and melodramatic, but when you sit staring at a blank screen long enough and no words come to you — not one — you start to fear the worst. But, when this happens, I force myself to keep writing — even if it’s just a paragraph each day. And, as I’ve done in the past, I’ll just continue to chisel away one word at a time until I break through the blockage. With any luck, the wall will crumble sooner rather than later and the floodgates of creativity will once more open wide, releasing a torrent of ideas that will sweep me swiftly to the end.