Every now and again we hear something we really need to hear in that particular moment, something that wouldn’t have the same impact at all if we ran across those same words in another time or place. What I heard the other day was this, from a friend:
“It’s always good to remember that writer’s block is basically a response to stress.”
She was speaking of her own situation, but those words made so much sense that I’ve decided to keep them in my pocket at all times. I don’t have to scold myself or penalize myself or be angry or mortified with myself for not having had the focus to write for a while. I have plenty of ideas, I just haven’t been able to muster the self-control I know I need (or put aside the time) to make anything of them.
I suspect that most of us who write have trouble finishing things. One thing I loved about NaNoWriMo last year was the sense of accomplishment when I hit that 50k word count. Of course, that was just the beginning before the hard part started. I’ve been lucky enough to have received varied feedback from the not-so-helpful (“you need more characterization”) to the extremely useful (“this paragraph doesn’t work for me, but here’s a way it would”). Synthesizing it all isn’t easy, but I’m finally at a place where I believe all the comments have sunk in as far as they’re going to go. That means I can move forward.
Between then and now I’ve taken a few online workshops and while I didn’t agree with all the feedback I got, I do agree with the sentiment behind it and can see the common threads from different people. As summer ends and the toughest things (a death in the family, many hospitalizations — though luckily none for me — and the resultant continual travel) lose their sting, I look forward to getting back to my very own rhythm. I’m not sure I’ll put the word count tool back up as a motivator, but I hope to be back to slow and steady, improving this book. I still have faith in it and believe with a little TLC it will be submission-worthy.