The comment on my last post has got me thinking. There is nothing like the words “writer’s block” to inspire real terror in the heart of a writer. Is she right? Do I keep coming up with excuses not to work on my writing — I’m busy with work, I have to cook dinner, I’m going on a trip — because I’m blocked?
No, I wish it was that simple. I could spend the next five hours writing, but what stops me is the thought that it won’t be quite right, won’t be exactly the way I want the story to go, won’t be consistent with the first half of the book, won’t be this, won’t be that. I’m not blocked, I can write. I can prattle on endlessly (and this blog should be proof of that), but I keep delaying picking up my novel where I last left off because I’m blocked by worry about what it should be, instead of just letting it be what it is, and worry about changing it later. After months and years of critiques, editing, and rewrites, I’m finding it hard to just sit down and write a draft that may or may not be thrown in my (electronic) trash can later. I’ve forgotten how to write for the pure pleasure of writing, without worrying about how the end result will be evaluated.
I keep thinking of Stephen King’s Misery. Maybe I need someone standing over me with an axe to make me just get on with it. But I don’t have Annie Wilkes demanding that I resurrect a character that I’ve killed off, telling me what direction to take the story in, and threatening to break my fingers if I don’t get it right. Or maybe I do, and it’s my inner Annie that has me hesitating.