How I Went Out for a Walk and Came Back With a Chapter

424863_10150565031583912_2046016596_nSo, I’ve made little to no secret that I’ve been creatively constipated for months, because of personal struggles and, of course, because I’m working on the first draft of two (generally speaking) wholly new stories.

When writing new material, I often find this start-stop-start happens, especially when working with a completely new universe.  The first rule of new universes is to be very, very careful while exploring them.  Unfortunately, that leads to hesitation, which leads to self-doubt, which leads to second-guessing and obsessive micro-editing of everything I’ve previously written for that particular story, going forward and writing a paragraph or two, realizing I have no idea where to go from there, which leads back to hesitation.  So the cycle becomes recursive, leading to full-on writer’s block.

Recently, we finally started having the warm weather that Montreal usually associates with our eye-blink long spring.  This got me out of hibernation mode and started me walking again.

On one such walk I found my thoughts turning to a scene in the chapter I’d been stuck on, when I came up with an idea for a later scene in that same chapter, and suddenly, from that new idea to the one I’d been stuck on a bridge was built!  There it was, clear as day: the progression from the scene that stuck in my brain to the much, much later scene!  I was elated!  The story was unfolding in my mind and no sooner had I gotten home from my walk that I was writing and working towards that next great scene.

Because Life Happens, It took me three or four days of writing to get to the Great Inspirational Scene that I had imagined, the one that had unlocked the story previous…and the goddamn thing no longer worked in the context of what I’d written so I scrapped it.  Fortunately, I was on a total writing jag, so I kept going, creating a wholly new scene that, frankly worked a lot better than the original idea I’d had.

Again, I don’t like handing out writing advice, just because I find creativity is a subjective thing.  I have my own methods of overcoming the usually short-term creative constipation I normally suffer from (As opposed to a full-blown case of Writer’s Block).

Those methods involve changing venues – IE, getting out of your home and going out to the café to write; switching to another café if that one has no mojo; weed, of course…occasionally alcohol, but I’ve never fully enjoyed getting my drunk on; the effects of drink on my motor skills lead to other problems.  But I can also recommend that you take a walk, clear your head, think about/do other things or find a trusted friend to whom you can talk out the story with.

Also, writing requires a certain mindset: you have to be determined, focused, driven to write.  You can’t be preoccupied by other things, either intellectually or emotionally.  Anything that gets between you and your creative impulse and impedes you from writing is either something that you have to deal with first and immediately, or you have to thrust everything aside, tell the world to fuck off and hide yourself away with your laptop your ideas and a good cup of coffee.

Of course, I shouldn’t say “you” I should say “I”, because what works for me might not necessarily be your flavor of ice cream, and may in fact be completely detrimental to your individual writing process.

The one universal truth about ease of writing is this: you have to be in the right space, both inside your head and outside your head.  Otherwise, well…you spend two and a half months on a chapter and somehow manage to pull a half-dozen blahg posts out of your ass in the meantime.

…or should I say “I?”