DO I EVER GET WRITERS BLOCK?
Writer’s block is a devasting phenomenon that some writers experience. We often get the image of what it is like from movies. You know the story - the writer has an overwhelming feeling of being stuck and not being able to move forward or write anything new – usually a muse appears and they become inspired somehow and get back into writing – usually with gusto – and ending with a best seller. But in real life, I have heard of writers becoming paralyzed by writer’s block struggling to find their creative spark. I can only imagine that how devastating it can be for a writer.
I started writing fiction seriously in 2016. I’ve written novels, children’s books, and flash fiction. When people ask me if I’ve ever experienced writer’s block, I always laugh because so far, in my world, I have the exact opposite problem. I have so many ideas for stories in my head waiting to be written that I doubt I’ll have a lifetime to write them all.
My issue with writing is that I can get stuck on how or where to start a piece. But I’ve learned quickly that the solution for me is to write a scene, any scene and work out from it – like tentacles. For Love and Mercy, my latest novel that was just published, is a case in point. I wasn’t sure how to start the story, or even what point of view I was going to use. But I had a clear vision of a particular scene – a love story between a small-town girl from the prairies and an Opera singer who meet on a train in Greece. So I started writing that scene. As I began to write, my characters began to develop – almost on their own. It was like they emerged into real people. Once that happened, I wanted to know their background - who they were, where they came from, what quirks they had, struggles they faced in their past. Somewhere in there I started an outline on cue cards – different scenes. As I wrote, I moved those cards around in different orders. From there, the scenes and other characters and plot began to take shape. Once I started to have dreams about my characters, my writing took on a whole new level. My characters become real to me.
I should say, that I write literary fiction so my stories are character driven and I focus on the human condition, so my characters development is always key to the story. So once I had my characters down pact, the plot began to emerge.
I still wasn’t exactly sure what point of view the story should be told in and that too was a struggle. I wrote different versions in different points of view and through discussions with my editor, we decided on which one worked the best.
Although I can’t see myself ever having writer’s block – sitting at my screen staring at a blank page – I do struggle at times when I write, but for me, it is just the process of writing and it almost always works in my favour in the end so I don’t concern myself too much about it.