A thousand excuses to hide behind
Sleeping through the voices blind
Crack the Writer’s Block and find
All the Gems inside
A thousand excuses to hide behind, Sleeping through the voices blind, Crack the Writer’s Block and find, All the Gems inside
via Asking Big Questions #003: “How do you overcome Writer’s Block?” —
The Orange Obfuscating Mage has asked a question (he likes asking questions). He wants to know how his contributors and readers overcome writer’s block. The simple truth is that writer’s block doesn’t exist. And anybody who says that it does has failed at the most important stage of the writing process: planning.
A good plan will always save you. Not planning, on the other hand, is deciding to make it up as you go along. Are you sure you can do that? Because it’s a lot of faith and blind trust to place upon yourself.
There’s no way of knowing that you’ll be able to write a story from nothing. Why choose to think that you can when you could plan everything first? It’s illogical. You wouldn’t jump into a lake without the right equipment.
Why would you jump into a story without a plan? And yet, so many writers seem to think they have writer’s block. Writer’s block is supposedly not knowing what to write next, but you can avoid this entirely by already having planned that. If you’re serious about an artistic project, would spending time and energy on preparation not be taking it seriously?
If you don’t plan, you won’t know what to do next, and worrying about that will use time which could’ve been spent writing, had you only used your time more wisely. Someone serious about writing wouldn’t put themselves into a situation in-which they’re not writing. But lack of planning will do that. Therefore, anyone experiencing writer’s block hasn’t planned well, therefore hasn’t taken the care necessary for an artistic project to flourish, therefore should reconsider whether they’re a writer by life or by hobby.
Whatever it is you’re working on is going to be a long haul, so you need to know that you’re not wasting your time, and that what you have by the end will have been worth making. And in this case, if you’re telling a story, you’re building a world. But you can only create Earth if you let there be light. You really think you can build a world without having a plan for it all first?
Because that plan is a tool box, full of plot opportunities. If you think you don’t need that, feel free to not use it. If you think you only need a handful of plot points, so be it. But that attitude is choosing to get so far in, realise that you don’t know what you’re doing and that you’ve used the few plot points you had and then you’ll think you’ve got writer’s block.
And it will be your fault. If you were landing a space capsule on the Moon, you’d plan and prepare. You’d want to know what you’re intended location is, and how you’re going to get there. That way, when you do get there, you’ll know that you’ve completed the mission.
Conversely, people who write stories that don’t have a planned ending will never finish writing them, because you cannot reach a place that doesn’t exist. Having a well-planned story will also reduce the number of redrafts that are written, because the story will have been perfected before the writing has even started. Any redrafts that are needed will likely be for cosmetic purposes – only the way in-which the story’s been written – and that will be a much simpler process, because the story already worked from the beginning, so you’re not overhauling anything. My next writing project is still in the planning stages, and I have pages upon pages of everything I’ll need.
As a result of starting with the foundations and adding ideas to it as they come to me (and also by doing a lot of research on different subjects related to the story) I have a thorough, watertight plot breakdown. It’s bursting at the seams. It’s about to hit capacity. Only then will I know that I do in fact have enough plot to actually write the story.
And when that times comes, all I’ll need is to get on with it.