life, writing

A Writer’s Paradox

elec flowers 587x800I’ve had a paradox regarding my writing … an epiphany and writer’s block at the same time.

I sat down to write the next chapter for my WIP, and my mind went blank. I don’t know where to go from here.

Unfortunately, my epiphany has nothing to do with moving forward with my novel. I had a realization about my author’s signature. No, not the signing of my name, but my author’s style, or the signature thing I do with my writing. I didn’t even know I did this until recently.

Of course, I knew that I wrote characters who faced real life situations and how they dealt with them. But, the stories have a signature style all my own.

What do you mean, Lori?

Thanks for asking.

First of all, the plots are told from two characters points of view. The two characters are facing the same situation but make different decisions.

For example, in my completed unpublished novel Road to Whitaker’s Place, the plot is about two unhappily married women. Each makes different decisions to try and help their situations, including whether or not to have an affair. The story takes you on both of their paths and shows how each of their decisions affects their lives.

In my present work in progress, the points of view are from two disciples of a 20th century prophet. Each disciple has a different (or opposing) perspective on the prophet’s teachings. Each goes in a different direction, bringing their lives and the lives of followers on alternate paths.

In looking back at the notes I have on other ideas for stories, I have that same running theme … two opposing paths tackling the same subject. Which character chooses the right path? Which chooses the wrong path? Are the right and wrong paths really that clear?

On having writer’s block … I’ve lost the drive to sit down and write my WIP, and also for anything new other than this blog.

Being a person who introspects … in other words, someone who thinks, rethinks, and then thinks again, I know why I’m blocked. After moving 1,200 miles, I’m trying to adjust to a new way of living. I not only feel stuck in my writing, but in every other direction of life as well. I’m frozen, and I haven’t even experienced my first winter yet! I find myself just going with whatever is happening around me, but have no drive for anything else. Not to mention, I’m exhausted a lot of the time. I’ve gotten frustrated and angry with myself. I must need a longer adjustment period than most. Four months isn’t long enough for me, I guess.

There you go, I’ve tossed those emotions out into cyberspace and through your computer screen. Thank you for catching them.

Have you ever felt like your life was stuck before? If you’re an author, have you ever had writer’s block?

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20 thoughts on “A Writer’s Paradox”

  1. I believe like a circuit board we get overloaded and seize up… and when it happens I’m just too tired or too inundated with stuff to think about anything other than the necessary basics. I can see where you would be adjusting to a whole different life even though some aspects of it are familiar.
    Sometimes I grant myself a break from day to day stuff just like I do with work… a holiday to refresh – the 3 week festive season hiatus works best as it disconnects us from routine & technology 🙂

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  2. I have writer’s block all the time. Sometimes, it lasts for weeks and sometimes, just days. You’ll work through it. Take a break from it, take a walk outside, work on something else, or even read another story. Those things always help me.

    Outlines do help. I didn’t outline for my first one and wasted about 6 months writing chapters that I actually ended up cutting out completely. Ever since then, I outline like a mad woman. Of course, that’s not to say that my plot can’t or doesn’t change. I’ve had changes, but the main plot line never does.

    On your other note, I think it’s a good thing to have a “style”. Readers like when they know what they can expect when they open up a novel from their favorite author. Now, not to say I’m a “favorite” of someone, LOL, but for readers who have read both of my novels, they know that they can expect for there not to be heavy sex scenes. They know my stories are on the sweeter side. If I were to ever change that, I could have some pretty pissed off readers who prefer my stories because they are sweet. Like I hoodwinked them into a dirty book after mine have always been sweet. Of course, this is a double edge sword if I do ever want to branch out, however, I’ve already decided if I do anything out of the norm of what I have been doing, I will do it under a different name.

    Good luck with your writer’s block!

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    1. Hi Angela. Thanks for the tips. I think the block is a result of the move. We were pretty isolated in Florida, just the two of us. Where we live now, there is lots of social activity with family and friends. I like it, but I’m trying to adjust my routines and such. Oh, and this house we’re renting has a lot of spiders. Didn’t you say you were afraid of those? I’m reeeaallllyy creeped out and paranoid throughout each day for fear of running into to yet another one. Eeeek!

      Thanks again for the tips and the support on writer’s style.

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  3. Lori, I kind of have the same feeling. I seemed to pulled in so many different directions that I don’t seem to be accomplishing anything at all except staying afloat (and I am not doing a very good job of that). I haven’t done one bit on my present WIP, don’t seem motivated to market my book I have already written – I am just basically stagnating. I attribute all of this to the changing of the light, I know Fall is on it’s way and although it is not anywhere near as debilitating as the light change in Chicago, I still sense it. I am hoping a change in the weather will trigger some energy – perhaps the onset of the cold weather will be a good jumpstart for you as well. Don’t despair my friend, we must have a valleys to have our peaks.

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    1. For some reason, I just saw this comment now. Thanks for sharing about your stagnation as well, SD. I don’t know how busy, working moms write, too. Sometimes, life just gets tiring. Thank you for reminding me about the peaks and valleys, and they’re all just a scenic, right? Have a great weekend.

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  4. I’ve gone through this, and what I needed was someone to give me a pep talk to reassure me that I could do it, that I was good at it. Just do it! The next step was to write just a sentence. And then another sentence. And then the rest started to come.

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      1. My dentist nagged me at every checkup. What chapter are you on now? So I knew that before my next appointment I had to have more work done. You can do it too. I’ve just had an idea to get me out of my “between novels” slump and I think I’ll be writing my next one soon.

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  5. Big changes can be emotionally and mentally exhausting, so it’s understandable you feel like your energy has been depleted. Once you become more adjusted and settle into new routines, your writer’s block should clear up.

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    1. Hi Joy Hopefully I’ll have more drive to do other things, too. Had no social life in Florida, and here I’m trying to balance lots of social activity back into my schedule. Thank you for your support.

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    1. Hie Seyi. When I was grieving a loss in the past, I had no interest in writing either. I’ve never really had writer’s block before. I seem to be blocked in every other direction of life as well. The move has thrown me off kilter. Thank you for sharing your experience.

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    1. Hello Amanda. So, you do the same thing with two characters tackling the same problem but making different decisions? Cool that we have that in common. I tried going over to your blog, but it said it was no longer available. Thanks for reading and commenting.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. wait. . . WHAT! My blog isn’t available?! Well that certainly explains some problems I’ve been having. I’m so sorry that you couldn’t reach my blog, it should be at http://www.oddauthoramandamccoy.com. I’m so glad you mentioned this, I think I need to have a word with the people at word press. If you have any more problems like this, please let me know and I will do what ever I can to fix it.

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  6. Sorry to hear you’re in a funk, Lori. I’m a firm believer that physical activity is the best pick-me-up for the doldrums.
    As for writer’s block, I’ve never experienced it, but I have experienced lack of enthusiasm for a project. When that happens, I’ll put it aside and work on something different.

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    1. Hi Jill. I seem to have no drive for anything including writing. On the other hand, I’ve been pretty busy. In Florida we were sort of isolated. Back home, I need to learn to adjust to all the new found social activity. Perhaps once I learn to balance that with daily life, I’ll figure out a way to get back to writing again. Thank you for sharing some ideas that help you.

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  7. Sorry you’re in a rut. Moving adds so much stress to our lives, stress we didn’t even necessarily know was there until it finally rears its ugly head after we settle in.

    I’ve not had writer’s block, but I think that’s only because I’m such a detailed outliner. When I outline, there’s no pressure to create nice sentences or competent description. It’s just me deciding where to take the story, scene by scene. That way, when I go to write it, I have enough elements at play to avoid a block. Well, so far, anyway. Doesn’t mean I won’t experience block in the future.

    But many writers don’t like such a rigid outline (not that I can’t change things–I often do), so this technique won’t be an option for them. But regardless, I hope you get unstuck. It’s frustrating when our mind doesn’t do what we want it to do.

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    1. I don’t write outlines, but I usually write notes for what I want to see happen in each chapter. I haven’t done that with my latest, so maybe I should try and see if that takes me anywhere. I appreciate you sharing your process. It gave me the idea to write chapter notes.

      Aside from writing, I find I have no drive to do much of anything. We were pretty isolated in Florida for so long. I need to adjust to all the new found social activity so I can balance it with daily life and writing.

      Thank you for your support, Carrie.

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