When I sat down to work on a chapter in my new novel the other day, I thought I had a clear idea of what I wanted to say, of the action I saw in my mind, and the attitude of my protagonist. Yet, when I began to type, the words didn’t feel right. I kept at it anyway, just telling myself I would go back and tweak it later. Then later came. Ugh. When I read what I had written, I hated it. Not only was it not what I had envisioned, it wasn’t good. It didn’t flow and felt like it had been pasted into the story by a very bad guest writer. I looked at it and thought, “Who wrote this mess?”
I will not pretend it wasn’t discouraging. One, I had wasted my time. Two, I felt a little like I had hit a wall. Could it be a form of writer’s block? There were words on the page so it didn’t fit my perception of writer’s block but there was definitely a block of some kind. Sure, I’ve gone back and rewritten chapters, chopped out scenes, done my share of editing in the past. Who hasn’t? I’ve written pages I knew could be better but they weren’t terrible. It was not one of my better writing moments.
The only solution I could find was to step away. Then I asked myself if I still liked my concept for the chapter and I realized I did. In fact, the scene had actually been playing around in my head for a while and I had been looking forward to the time when it would fit into the novel (I always write sequentially). It’s an important chapter to the storyline and for one of my protagonists. While I’m tossing out the actual words I wrote and believe I need to start from scratch, I will retain the scene. I’m still not sure I’m ready to work on it, instead choosing to take more time to flesh out the chapter in my head (do other writers do this?). When I do sit down to type again, I may be apprehensive but I’m convinced it will be better – not perfect – but better.
In other editing-related news, I expect to have A GUILTY MIND back from my editor shortly. While I’m eager to see her comments, I’ equally anxious. But just as with my temporary writer’s block, I don’t plan to let it get me down for long. So, here’s to not giving up and not letting writer’s block or any other barrier stop you from trying again. Keep on writing!
Ten Tips for Writers’ Block (Margaret Atwood)
Life Is Funny – Writer’s Block How to Overcome It
Proof Positive – 5 Things to Do When You’re Experiencing Writer’s Burnout
7 thoughts on “Is it Writer’s Block if it’s Just Bad?”
I don’t think it is a form of writers block. You just need to find how it fits in.
I just wanted to let you know I picked you for the Lucky 7 award. Congrats!
Thanks, Ben, for thinking of me. I’ll get on it soon!