I didn’t think I had a problem. I would have denied that I had writer’s block. I was still working on my novel, mostly. I just was avoiding writing scenes that I didn’t want to write. One part of the novel seemed like a chore to develop. So I did other things, like research and plotting.
Last week, I bought this card that said, “Be Daring.” I love this idea, the opposite of being rigid and fearful. I didn’t connect it to my writing until I came across this blog post. The Dharma Diva wrote about writer’s rejection and how she changed a piece to fit a theme. How it started with a truth that got lost in the writing. Her whole post is wonderful but that part about forcing the writing into a theme, rang bells in my head. Why was I forcing myself to write these scenes that I thought I needed? How had I forgotten that my writing is supposed to fill me up? The dramatic plot line had become more important to me than the characters themselves. I still love to outline, but I had forgotten to allow some space inside the outline for the kind of magic and feeling that makes my favorite books sing. Instead I was moving bodies around and making speeches for them.
I quickly did a comparison between the two books that I love so much. One is Enchanted April by Elizabeth Von Arnim and the other is Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher. They both involve groups of people that find a change in setting allows them to flourish and find happiness. I argued about it for a minute with myself. These books are old and readers don’t look for this stuff anymore. The “Be Daring” card reminded me to write it the way that makes me happy anyway. Ok, I will.
Another theme that the Dharma Diva touched on and I heard echoed this week on Facebook, was the idea of quitting writing altogether. It is hard to choose to pursue a love of creating something. Or even choose between different forms of art. Writing is a field where the chances of arriving at the status of your heroes is barely likely. I have been “researching” the writers of British literature. One wikipedia page neatly covers thousands of years. Lots of writers were left off the chart. There is a lot of obscurity in choosing writing. The best reason for writing is the proud feeling you get each time you manage to do a little more.
I wanted to summarize what I heard Nick Hornby say about writing here. “I’m compelled to write, I can’t do anything about it.” He says people ask him for writing advice. He says, “Can you stop? If you can stop, you should stop, if you can’t, you are a writer. Writers can’t do anything about it.” Nick Hornby wrote for years without success. Yet, from what I’ve read online, it is when he wrote about something he loved, about football and the team Arsenal specifically, that he finally struck a chord with readers and himself.