When you are a linear thinker, *raises hand and waves frantically* learning new things takes on a life of their own. You, er, I spend way too much time searching, reading, and studying before settling down to a course of action. (The psychology major in me would call that procrastinating.)
My writing process follows this all too predictable pattern. I started with classes in May of 2013, leaping in with terror and enthusiasm. Surely there had to be a formula writers used?
Yep. There is.
It’s called writing.
Of course, there were other things to learn. Plot, conflict, character development, voice. Not to mention all the details about writing for a specific audience.
Once I finished my first book, 42 Rue de Jardin, I thought I knew what the next story would be. There was a logical progression in my mind. But one character (Stoney Carrington) had a different idea and demanded his story be told next. He was so insistent, he talked to me the entire way on a beach vacation trip. Garage Guy suffered through three hours of my dialogue with an imaginary person. Can you picture that scenario?
By the end of our vacation, I had the basic plot for Belle Chene. So I rolled up my sleeves. Outline done, things moved along nicely. Then, BAM. I hit a roadblock. Like an avalanche across the road.
For over two weeks, I stared at the blinking cursor as it mocked me, feeding my insecurities. I knew writers hit snags, so once again, I resorted to my tried and true methods. Remember that whole linear thinking and formulas strategy? Off I went on a tangent.
I’d like to say that this worked, the boulder in my mind cleared and I merrily moved on. Didn’t happen. HUGE frustration. Instead of reaching out for help, I pulled a turtle and withdrew into my shell. Why let others see what an abysmal failure I was at this stuff?
Then I received a phone call from one of my coaches who said she knew there was a problem. (I swear the woman is psychic.) After discussing my book vision, she made suggestions. Go back before the spot where you’re blocked and take it out. Look at where the characters are going. What are they doing? How do they feel?
And it worked. It took me another couple of days to clear out the debris in my head, but the words started flowing again. *happy dance*
So Belle Chene got back on target with a finished first draft.
Lesson learned — To get out of your own way, sometimes we all need a little push (and a large shovel) from someone in our corner.