Breaking Down the Wall

I shouldn’t be writing this blog post. No, really. I have a short story whose deadline is the end of next month. It’s for an anthology a fellow writer is assembling. I started it last night. I should be working on that. Why am I not? I’m stuck. Call it “writer’s block,” if you want, but I can’t get the story going.

Every writer, if he’s honest, will admit that while he loves the craft, there is always a part of writing that is most difficult for him. Personally, I’ve noticed I usually have the most trouble starting a story. This isn’t always true (I drilled out last week’s flash fiction in less than 30 minutes, I think), and sometimes I overcome that initial difficulty faster than others, but it still tends to be the hardest point in a story for me. The ideas are swirling in my head like overzealous bees locked in a hive, but when I stare at that blank page, silence falls. (Gotta love unintentional Doctor Who references). Suddenly those bees don’t want out. I managed to crank out a few hundred words, but it was a chore and I hated most of them.

However, when I get past that initial “block” and find the story’s rhythm and voice—it’s like dancing with a whirlwind. Characters come alive; descriptions jump off the page; and settings envelope my mind’s eye until they become my mini-world. It is glorious! I live for times like that. All writers do.

But in order to get into that “zone,” I need to break through that first wall. Some days I can smash through it like Superman (which is funny because I have a Supes costume—maybe I should wear it during those hard days!). Other times, I’m a mere mortal who bruises his shoulder while constantly running into the wall hoping to find a weak spot. Regardless of whether I smash through the quickly or not, it’s a triumph, for out of the white-hot throes of creative energy a new story is birthed. This one I’m working on in particular is one I’m excited about. I just need to get break down the wall.

Now, where’s my Superman costume? 😛

What’s your “wall” in writing? Let’s discuss it in the comments.

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  • I used to think beginnings were easy, but I overthink them some now. But for longer projects, I generally find the beginning easy; the end moves on its own; but the middle is tricky because you have to get to point A to point B in an interesting manner.