Stuff Happens

"Rocks fall. Everyone dies."
So, drafting a new book can be...(choose your word carefully)...fun? Interesting in the Chinese proverb sense of the word? More aggravating than a honey badger singing Narn opera while you're trying to get your baby to sleep? Anyway, drafting is tempestuous. At its best moments there is elation and confidence, a real feeling of excitement for what you're creating. At its worst, you've been staring at a single paragraph for the past hour and you hope that a hole will open in the earth to swallow you up so that humanity will no longer be infected by your hopeless drivel you call a 'story'.

When flailing about in authorial insecurity, the temptation is to blame Writer's Block. Really? Let me just tell you now, right here, that this ailment is bullshit invented by your tender snowflake mind. Writer's Block is a balm, a healing salve to nurture your artist's ego.

Fuck that.

I don't know what to write. I can't think of anything. I'm blocked. No, you're really not. Well, okay, maybe you are, but it's not this illusory disease plaguing writers since the dawn of time. The "blockage" is in your head. Think about it for a minute. You have a story you want to tell. You've got an Idea. You just don't know how to put it out there. At least, that's what it usually is with me. I have too many ideas. Or I know *exactly* what I want to happen two chapters from now but have no earthly clue how to connect the two. Sure, it's just a matter of pages, but that gap feels about as big as the Grand Canyon. So, my tendency is to turtle up. It's like some form of paralysis where there's so much I want to write that I don't know where to start with any of it and aaaahhhhhh! *hide in the Internet! Oh look! Kittens!*

Or maybe you're scared to write a scene. I know that might sound silly, especially to non-writers. But, if you're going to write from a place of truth, you have to dig deep into your own emotions, experiences and bleed on the page. It can be terrifying to face the stuff that comes out of your own head. There's a scene in the book I'm drafting that I do not look forward to writing because it's going to bust open a wound that is finally starting to heal. I'm a little scared to scream those things out to the world, afraid to go back into those thoughts. But the story will be better for it. I will be better for it, too.

At its core, Writer's Block is about fear. Fear of allowing ourselves to suck. Look, it's a rough draft. It's going to be lumpy, uneven and raw. And that is okay. It's better than okay, it's what you need to do. Get that story out of the muck and slime of your mind and put it out in its most elemental state. It doesn't have to be perfect or nuanced or praiseworthy...the story just needs to be told. All that other stuff can come later. Just tell the story.

So when you're drafting, it is okay to insert a placeholder to act as a suspension bridge across the Grand Canyon of your "block". Stuff happens. Put that in there and move on. Tell the story, fill in those gaps later. Shape the landscape during edits.

Trust yourself. Tell the damn story. You're the only one who can.