Monday, January 25, 2010

Looking Out the Window of An Inner World

I'm not sure what it is about me that always makes me question an entire story as I near completion. I constantly hear myself asking; is this right? does that work? did I forget about this? how does that make sense with this other part? These and a whole other galaxy of questions soon make me mentally unravel the entire narrative thread until it resembles nothing more than knotted shoelace within my mind. 


Perhaps it's my own self-destructive nature, or the writer's inability to refrain from being his own worst critic. Maybe it's just the ever-present urge to start over nagging at the psyche. For, there is an unavoidable attraction to the blank page when your pages are full, this is because you've unconsciously blocked out the fact that a blank page is daunting when there is nothing to follow it. 

Though I have absolutely no plans to scrap what I've been working on. I know in my heart that it's solid. But I did suffer this common crisis last week. It's nothing new. It's part of my creative process. It seems every novel I've ever written has included a similar stage of development. In my younger years, I'd have given into the temptation...thankfully I'm older and wiser now and know all of these doubts are much better eased in revisions rather than restarting. 

I'm telling about this because it's one of those things I often hear from teenage writers. They tell me they get stuck and give up on a book at some point. I tell them with complete honesty: me too. But if you are ever to become a writer, you must learn to navigate the pitfalls. This particular pitfall is a doozy. 

Helpful Hint for Writers: How do I get past this doubt? I generally decide to skip ahead. I jump right into the teeth of the closing act. This always seems to propel me and energize the prose. 


  1. I just plow through it, one tough sentence at a time. It's the "hitting the wall" part of the marathon. It's nice to hear I'm not the only one this happens to.

  2. Yeah, that's how I handle it too in the end. But for some inexplicable reason I always try to navigate around the wall first.