Thursday, February 28, 2013

Staying the course

Sometimes a story does not want to cooperate. It becomes longer than you intended, or perhaps it is shorter. A character moves the work in an entirely new direction. Or worse, everything comes to a halt.

In the course of writing, it is important to maintain your energy and enthusiasm. However, when it becomes difficult to progress, it is essential to persevere. An obstacle is just something in your way. And it must be removed for the work to continue.

There are precious few instances where the story proceeds smoothly. When this happens, it is magic. You can progress unhindered. And it is easy to spend long periods of time typing as fast as your fingers will go. Page upon page just appears on the screen, ready to be printed or stored.

Usually, there comes a point where you hit a roadblock… or worse, writer's block. There is that one idea that is missing. Or your energy flags. You struggle to even write anything.

Sometimes, it means you are really interested in writing something else. If you force yourself to continue, the work will be lifeless: a dead thing propped up out of desperation.

Yet, often when the energy fades, it is not a signal to start afresh. Rather, you might need to reexamine what you have. Something drew your interest and it is that something you must regain. Come it at with a fresh perspective, or just with renewed effort.

I have had to force myself to continue many times. I feel like an oarsman on a galley when the wind has died. But I pour all of my strength into fashioning sentences and building them into paragraphs. 

And slowly, the story begins to move. A second wind starts to blow. I set the sails and continue on course. My destination is that much closer...

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