Friday, October 30, 2015

Best Writer's Roadblock Fix

Image result for halloween images
My high school teachers would not be surprised to know that ... I've changed my publication date for HUNTER'S MOON!

I've pushed it ahead by two weeks.

My beta feedback just got overwhelming. Notes from close to 30 people? Once I read through and started processing, I felt overwhelmed by the different points of view. Overwhelmed ... then confused ... then depressed. Then all three. 

On one of my lowest days - you know, the kind where can feel the corners of your mouth hitting your collarbone? - I actually had my biggest breakthroughs. 

I came in the door after a depressing walk to get groceries and I was tossing things and sulking and groaning and complaining. The hubs - who's seen me through  many of these days - sat down beside me and feigned patience. 'Blah, blah, blah,' I started complaining. 'Blah-dee, blah and then blah ... and then ...' 

Suddenly, ideas started coming to me. One, then another, then another - then a whole new ending - and, and, and ...

Now I'm totally excited about writing these new scenes. I'm going to send all the new material to the betas who've agreed to stay with me during the whole process, so I can get their feedback on those scenes too. 

One of the readers commented on how great it was that I've been so 'open' to everyone's suggestions. I was honest with her, telling her that I was overwhelmed at first, but that all the feedback - good and bad - has pushed me to work harder and make the book as good as I can. 

It's a very different experience from taking the notes from a single editor. I want to talk more about that, but for now, here's one of my biggest pieces of writing advice - at least when it comes to getting past roadblocks: it doesn't matter how depressed you are over where you are in your book. Things will get better again. You will smile again. You will laugh again. You will solve these problems and feel elated again.

And then ... soon enough, you'll hit another roadblock and get depressed again. 

But you'll get through that one too and the whole cycle will happen all over again. It's part of the job.

However, if you're absolutely stumped on what to do next, here's what I do: put the book away for a couple of days. I suggest writing something to keep the creative channels going, but don't agonize over the book itself.

That's what I did a few days ago. When I'd hit that wall and couldn't focus anymore, I worked on other things (no shortage of that in an indie writer's life) letting my unconscious mind deal with all the input of the betas.

Within a day or two, I had the answers I needed. 

btw this is not a unique idea. 'Unconscious problem solving' was responsible for some of the biggest breakthroughs in history. If you want to know more about how it can help you overcome roadblocks - whether in your book or in your life - check out this article about Einstein and friends. 

May the ghosts and witches of this festive time of year fill
your candy bags - and your lives - with all kinds of yummy things!

1 comment:

  1. Glad you got over the low point. It sucks to struggle but oh, how glorious when the ideas finally come. I love that yours came after grocery shopping. I don't know why but that makes me feel happy. Cheers and happy writing.