When the Work Becomes the Block.

So. Writer’s block. It mostly boils down to fear, right? Fear that you’ll ruin a good idea. Fear that your good idea actually sucks. Fear that you’ll never write anything as good as the last thing you wrote. Fear that… well, you can fill in the blanks for yourselves.

Lately, my main fear has been that my characters won’t talk to me. This is usually my most crippling fear, because when my characters are talking, I know a plot will present itself eventually. But if my characters won’t talk, then where am I?

High and dry, that’s where I am.

However, I have been telling myself that, even though I’m afraid, I’m not blocked, because I’ve been doing getting-to-know you exercises with my characters. Literary icebreaker games, if you will. If I’ve been doing all that, I can’t possibly be blocked, right?

Right?

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It’s sheer denial, ladies and gents. It’s just another avoidance mechanism. No matter how “fleshed out” the characters become, they can’t actually create the scenes.  I’m the only one that can do that.

I’ve been allowing the work of writing itself to feed my block.

I realized that at six o’clock this morning, and I’ve been disgusted ever since. Every time I think I’ve got this writing thing sorted, I realize that my brain has figured out a new way to wiggle out of getting any work done. To the point where it is actually using WORK to avoid work.

Have I leveled up? I think I’ve leveled up.

At any rate, it’s something to watch out for. Are we engaging in pointless busy-work in order to avoid doing the scary stuff? If so, there’s no way around it; we simply have to pull ourselves up by the bootstraps, stop clutching at our character questionnaires, and wade into the scenes. Even if they’re not working right, they’re still on the page, and we can use all that deep knowledge of our characters to fix them up later.

Now it’s time to stop working and get to work.

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