The first draft of this post is being penned, rather than typed. I had my computer open for all of five minutes before I decided I’d rather feel the flow of ink, than the click of keys. (But I soon got over it, as you’re currently reading this on some sort of screen, not paper. If you are reading it on paper, then you’re trespassing, and I’d very much like you to leave now…quietly, with no sudden movements.)
As I await the results of the first round of the 2017 Short Story Challenge, I confess, I have not written much.
*nose grows an inch longer*
Fine. Scratch that understatement.
I’ve not written at all.
I went all of February without opening Scrivener. This is worrisome in and of itself, as Scrivener is a joy to play with; I’ve even gone so far as to say it is worth the price of a Mac, in order to buy the OS version. (And I stand by that. Anyone try the iOS release?) And what of my self-imposed deadline for a rough draft of a manuscript by June?
Every writer’s block is unique, which is why there is no one sure remedy to cure it. (Or prevent it, really.) Only much trial and error. Some might experience a dizzying influx of ideas, and are overwhelmed so by it that they find themselves unable to unite them with one, coherent story thread. Others may write and write and write, only to find that what they’ve taken a great many pages to say…amounts to nothing. This, and all the forms in between, I have experienced, as I’m sure everyone who calls themselves “writer” has. The Delete key is the most abused one on my laptop.
The episode of writer’s block I’m currently experiencing, however, feels…different. At the risk of sounding melodramatic (me? Never!) I’d say it feels downright sinister. My desire to write has morphed into a longing, a word typically used to describe the “look, don’t touch” feeling we experience when we admire something we cannot have. It has become for me a feeling that cannot be sated, and I’ve made a somewhat chilling (at least, to this author) discovery.
My writer’s block is not a stationary obstacle. It has begun to push back.
I wrote a page of dialogue between my two main characters. Every word felt like a knife under my fingernails. Forced. Unnatural. The characters themselves wear masks when I approach, when I try to prod them into action. Other times they run and hide.
I’ve blamed everything, everything, from my day job, to where I decided to set the novel, to the one who inspired the main character, to the gender of another character, to the subject matter – I have blamed anything and everything for this impedance, to try and make some sense of why this story doesn’t want to be written anymore.
And therein lies a shred of the answer. “…this story doesn’t want to be written”.
Hostis de auctor. The enemy of the author, is the story that develops a sense of self. Once it has, it no longer needs a guide. Guides are resented.
I feel I am at a crossroads. Either this stream-of-consciousness post is my not-so-subtle way of admitting that the story’s inspiration has dried up, or…I’m finally realizing that the story is trying its damnedest to resist becoming something it’s not. Perhaps I should get out of the driver’s seat.
What’s the worst that could happen?