Sometimes, we complicate our writing process to the point where we become inert. I’ve been adrift for months, tinkering with the same third chapter of my novel for weeks at a time, editing a word here, changing a paragraph there, but making no progress. It’s like I’m on some sort of crusade and my horse won’t stop for water.
I know what has to be done. I mean, after innumerable courses, pitch sessions, reviews and critiques and reading hundreds of how-to blogs by authors who claim to be successes, I’ve accomplished squat in terms of finishing. Am I afraid of finishing? A serial procrastinator because the process rather than the product has my attention? Maybe. I started another novel, in fact, as a distraction, thinking that if I wrote something, anything, I’d be inspired and my creative juices would flow faster. Nope. My creative juice maker has blown a fuse.
I know the novel is too long and too meandering and the pace is not brisk enough but my protagonist has locked herself into a closet and is sulking from lack of attention. I’ve cut 15,000 words already, but my writer’s voice feels muted, smothered. I’m just not ‘feeling it’, if you know what I mean. The third draft was supposed to be done by the end of October but I find myself like a fly trapped in pine gum, poised to do…something …but flapping my wings to no avail.
This morning, though, I stumbled across this video. Perhaps I’ve found my answer. Stop making things so complicated. Start having fun with writing what I want instead of what I’ve been told to do. Here is some excellent advice from Steven Pressfield, the author of The Legend of Bagger Vance about how to simplify planning your novel. “The Foolscap Method”, part 1.