A Guest Post
by J. B. Brooklin
A lot has been written about writer’s block but what about those who can’t stop writing? Nothing! I have surfed the web, researched libraries but came up without a shred of information. Apparently this is not a common problem or if so nobody dares to admit that they can’t stop writing.
If you don’t believe me, please let me tell you a story:
After having been deprived of my computer for four weeks I was boiling with ideas. During those weeks I wrote approximately three books and numerous short stories in my head, but now finally, I could work again.
Great! Despite the fact that it was 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit outside and I hadn’t been sweating that much since living in the Seychelles, I was there, at my desk, writing like a maniac. Each time I promised myself to take a break of at least an hour and actually tear myself away from the computer the same happened: I got away from my desk, started relaxing and then without me even wanting to, the story I was currently working on took on a life of its own in my thoughts. New scenes, twists and characters came to the surface until I could stand it no longer. I sprinted back to my desk, restarted my computer (which I had shut down in order to really take that break) and started typing. Repeat this six times, add three bottles of water, and you get the picture.
The only problem was that all these books and stories were now vying for my attention. Getting these sorted out and all those ideas into the computer was a challenge. I could have used three different sets of arms, computers and work spaces to complete this task, but after a while I found a way to deal with the idea overflow:
First: I gave each idea half an hour’s time to get written down and outlined. This way I kind of capture it and make it mine, which is important because, believe me, if you don’t do that someone else will suddenly come up with a very similar plot and you will be the one wishing you had written it down first. So, write it down and make it yours!
Second: Another half hour was dedicated to writing a scene of this particular book. Often, when I have these ideas, the story is told with a very distinctive voice of its own. If I fail to write this down I usually have problems trying to find this unique “persona” again. This is a shame because each book has its own personality. Once you succeed in writing – if only just a few sentences – you can come back any time, even years later, and write in this distinctive way that makes a book unique.
Third: And this is a very important step – be organized. Each idea deserves at least a working title and a folder that you will be able find on your computer even after several years have passed. I have still ideas on my harddish that I captured as far back as ten years ago. One of these I am turning currently into a book. It may take time until you feel that now is the right moment to dedicate your time to one particular plot. Make sure that you find the plot outline and that special telling voice on your computer.
Fourth: You have now done everything you need in order to be able to write all these books that were lurking in your head. Now is the time to sit down, decide which one you want to start on and write it! There are authors out there who can work on more than one book at a time. I am not one of them. For me it works best to write only one book, finish it and then start the next. You need to decide which approach works best for you. But make sure that you do finish a book. Don’t jump from one idea to the next without ever getting to those magical words “The End”.
J.B. Brooklin is a German author who recently published Black Sacrament – part one of her fantasy series “Creatures of Fire”. Having lived abroad for several years in the US, Spain and the Seychelles the writer recently returned to her home country and started writing mystery and fantasy novels. When she is not writing, her husband, twins and her cat are keeping her busy. You can learn more about J.B. at her blog and her Amazon.com Author’s Page.
13 thoughts on “Writer’s Block? Yes, Please!”
Wow! I can only work on one major opus at a time. There are also the posts and short blurbs but they are mostly one shot deals. They fill in the holes when I don’t have a consistent time set aside.
Interesting post. Thank you.
Glad that you found my post interesting, Yvonne! I usually do work on one major project at a time as well but I simply need to write down new ideas otherwise I forget them 🙂
Thanks, J.B. I especially like your idea of writing a scene to capture the story’s voice before you set it aside.
This is really important. I am still a bit put out with myself for one scene that was perfect in my head. I didn’t “catch” it by writing it down and now I can’t start the book because this special “voice” is missing.
I know exactly what you mean, JB; at any one time I might have twenty projects sitting in the backblocks waiting to roll. However, I do sometimes have a problem sticking to one until it is finished.
Nice post, JB.
Well, always finish what you are working on even if the new ideas seem to be more enticing :).
Great tips, JB. I can’t work on more than one book at a time either, for fear of losing its particular rhythm and voice. I’m finally getting better at the organization part, but it’s been an uphill battle!
Don’t I know it. I had a knack for naming folders in a way that I never found the contents again :). But I am getting better!
Yes! I actually have a folder labeled ‘New story ideas’ and some of those ideas are actually making it into short stories if nothing else. 🙂 Great post.
In my opinion one of the great thing of ebooks is the fact that it doesn’T really matter anymore how long or short a story is. That gives me a lot more freedom than before when I always thought that I had to write at least 200 pages +.
J.B.- I suffer the same. Except my ideas usually hit me in the middle of the night leading to a wonderful case of insomnia. So I lie in bed running the ideas through over and over, afraid to forget them before morning. Some folks said why don’t you just keep a pen and paper, or tape recorder by the bed- naw, doesn’t work. So when I finally get to my computer, I pray I haven’t forgotten all I had in my mind from the previous night. Ugh, the curse we live with!
That sometimes happen to me too and the pen and paper thing doesnt work for me either. I am usually simply too tired to write anything down.
I have the same problem… too many stories vying for my attention. Ideas assail me at all times of the night and day. If I don’t write them down, or run to my computer, I’m afraid they’ll be lost forever. I have enough partially finished manuscripts to keep me busy for years. My New Year’s resolution will be to finish one project before moving on to the next.
Thanks for the tips!
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