Writer’s Train Wreck

Look, I’m not going to try and fool anyone by saying that I have writer’s block at the moment, because in all honesty I’ve probably had it for a total of two years. Which is completely terrible, embarrassing and shameful to admit. There’s probably a little bit of laziness and lack of confidence thrown in there somewhere too, but I’ve also genuinely been unable to come up with anything solid to write about. When I say that though, I don’t just mean stories or short stories, poems (not that I’m an avid poet or anything) and even, *sigh* blog posts. It’s not like I haven’t had the prompts or means to do so either. I’ve read so many wonderful books since I last posted, bought so many great items of clothing and even celebrated an amazing birthday. I’ve done a lot, been through a lot and have no more excuses.

I follow a lot of Twitter accounts that dedicate their 140 characters of space to inspire aspiring authors (or writers in general too) to just keep writing. A lot of these accounts post hourly, or even more regularly than that, about anything that’ll help such individuals *cough, me, cough*. This ranges from quotes by famous authors and philosophers, short stories of success and sometimes even their own experiences in overcoming writer’s block and how to carry on. A lot of the time these quotes help, and they do inspire me to find something new to write about, but there are those times were they do nothing at all. In my head I create an ideal situation where I become a machine. I sat down, and I write and I don’t stop until it’s 12 hours later and I don’t know where the time’s gone, but in saying that, it rarely becomes a reality. At least recently. (Note: one of my most favourite accounts is @AdviceToWriters and I highly recommend following them if you ever find yourself in a particularly sticky writing situation).

To make up for all of that though, I’ve been doing my best to keep up with other forms of writing. I don’t mean writing a short story or drafting a new novel idea in it’s entirety, what I mean by that is writing an entry in my journal or completing my Sentence A Day challenge. It’s helped, I’ll admit but now that I’ve had the time to mull it over I’ve realised that writing means a lot more to me than just those little things. I want to experience those days where I fall into a world of my own making again, to meet new characters and see where their story takes them. Where I can take them. I want to create a world of magic and mystery and adventure, if only to make my own life that little bit more intriguing. I’ve had so many ideas trapped inside my head for months, years, days, and maybe the headaches that I’ve been having lately are a sign, telling me that they need to escape their cage. Maybe it’s some twisted (and painful) way of my self-esteem telling my consciousness to suck it up and create something already. If so, knock it off. Also, thank you.

There are so many reasons, excuses, whatever you’d like to call it, that I can think of to explain why I haven’t been writing. It’s true that a lot of it has to do with school and academic pressure and socialising and my apparent inability to manage time and schedule things properly. But if you love something, you’re supposed to make time for it aren’t you? So why haven’t I tried more? Why haven’t I given my worlds and my characters the attention and dedication that I owe them, that they deserve? I feel as though it’s an injustice to them if all I manage to do is think about them on a regular basis instead of develop them further. What’s the point of doing that and having them serve as tiny little pieces of my subconscious when I could do so much more than that? I know I can do so much more than that. To me, they deserve a chance at the very least. I know that a lot of popular authors say that the characters that they create hold a piece of them, and I can totally believe that. Whether they do it willingly or unknowingly, every author puts a little bit of themselves into each of their characters. After all, they created them. They’re the ones who are able to determine the course of action for each character, what decisions they’ll make, who they’ll kill or fall in love with, even the more mundane things such as what they’ll eat for breakfast the morning after they save the world (yes, even something as ridiculous as that). It can be hard at times to know exactly where they’ll all go, what paths they’ll take. It’s what I imagine having kids would be like. You want what’s best for them but at the same time, it’s impossible to know what might happen. It might be that a path appears out of nowhere and that’s where they’re supposed to go. It’s not only what’s best, but what’s right for them. Every path is tailored to every character, and at the start it can be difficult to perceive. In my own experience I start out with this great character. For example, a strong-willed female who’s able to fight off almost anyone that challenges her. I know exactly what she looks like, how she dresses, her dietary preferences and her inner wishes and desires, but I don’t know how all of that will influence where she goes. I might have some sort of outline or expected outcome, but I can’t be sure until I write her can I? I owe that character the chance to live out (so to speak) her own story, and there’s really no better feeling than knowing that, taking comfort in that. Who am I to know (at this point in time) where she’ll be in 50 pages time? By the end of the book? Is this a stand alone, a duology or an entire series that I’m writing? How long will this story continue? How much is there to tell about this character’s destiny?

I guess what I’m really trying to say is that it’s time to nip whatever this feeling is in the bud and do something. Even if I start off slow, day by day, chapter outline by chapter outline, eventually (with the right amount of determination and motivation) something will start to appear. It could be the worst thing in the entire world but at least I allowed myself the opportunity to find out properly. If I’d never done it, I’d have never known that it wasn’t the right thing to be writing, or creating, and I can change that. I can make changes, start again if I have to. I can improve, because I’ve made room to do so. To anybody out there who’s ever found themselves in the exact same situation, or had the same thought then I urge you to build something from the smouldering remains of that writer’s train wreck. There might be an award winning story in the rubble, a diamond in the rough just waiting to be written. By you. 

– emilyp0tter


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