When writing is going well, the words spill out of me faster than I can type. I feel like I am in a losing race to keep up with the scenes playing out in my head.
When writing is going badly, as it has been the last couple of days, I feel like I am trying to chisel granite.
I have an outline, so it’s not like I don’t know where I’m going… I just don’t know how to get there. Every word, every sentence is a struggle, and even when I get them down on paper, it hardly seems worth it, since every single word sucks. The writing is flat, the dialogue rings false, and the humor is non-existent. But I keep pounding away, waiting for that moment when I will write the line that sings, that unlocks everything, and then suddenly I will be on a roll again. Writing will be easy, the characters alive, and the world they live in filled with color and details. Not only will I go back and fix all the crap I wrote before, but I will steamroll ahead without a moment’s doubt or uncertainty…
Until I hit that granite again.
10 thoughts on “Breaking Rocks”
It’s reassuring to know that you, too, are human.
since every single word sucks. The writing is flat, the dialogue rings false, and the humor is non-existent.
Sounds like you’re writing one of my scripts.
When I hit the wall, I go away. Completely. Regardless of deadline. I don’t look at it, don’t think about it, nothing. For at least as many days as I’ve been struggling with it.
What I do do, is I’ll think about/work on another project that is similar in genre, or style or character as the problem child. Usually that will kickstart something fresh in my mind that I use to get over the wall.
Man, I so hear you on that one.
There’s times when I’m writing a script and I can plug out 20 pages in a day that I’m actually happy with. Other days, it just doesn’t come.
But even with books – it’s amazing to me that on some days I only can eek out 2 pages, and others (when you unlock that missing whatever) just flies out of you.
That usually happens to me when I’m trying to make the characters do things they don’t want to do–like taking the story in a direction they don’t think it should go. 🙂
Oh, yes. I hear you.
My bang-the-head-against-the-wall writing moments come when I’m trying to make the characters do something they don’t want to do as well. Nice to know one isn’t alone…
It’s good to know that other people (people who know what they’re doing) go through this too. For a while, I thought it was just because I was a shitty writer*. I’ve learned to keep going. It used to stop me cold.
* That may still be true, of course.
I hear you. I’ve been keeping a project diary on my latest script, and it’s really interesting to see consecutive entries that say: “Wow, finished 15 pages today, feel great!” and “Sat for ten hours in front of my computer and typed 2 pages, and they stink.”
The mysteries of the creative process.
That said, I’ve found that I need to stay chained to the desk through the bad periods, just going through the motions of writing, in order to get back to the good.
Love the site, by the way.
I think Hemingway called a blank sheet of paper “the white bull.”
Strangely, I was relieved to read this entry. Tonight has been a horrible writing night.
I’m 3/4 of the way through on my first ever contracted book and the words are NOT flowing this evening. Took a break, stumbled across your blog and read your entry about breaking rocks.
Until things flow again, I’ll keep chiseling granite and hoping for the best.
Thanks for such a great blog. And for being such a great writer!
You too, huh?