Full Definition of writer’s block
: a psychological inhibition preventing a writer from proceeding with a piece
Oh dear. You shouldn’t look up your symptoms on the internet – but we’ve all done it, haven’t we? ‘I’ve got a funny pain just there, I wonder what it is?’ I know. Google it.
Well, I’ve googled my symptoms and apparently I’ve got a ‘psychological inhibition’. That doesn’t really sound great, does it? Thankfully there are all sorts of keyboard experts out there (keyboard warriors, really) and they all promise that they can help me get over this. If only I could mobilise myself enough to work out which of the results to click on.
I don’t have the ‘blank page’ sort of writer’s block, mine is more plot-related.
I have two stories on the go, actually, one I’m supposed to be working on now, and the other I have put to one side (as per the advice of Stephen King) in order to look at it with fresh eyes in a few weeks. I haven’t actually put it to one side, I’ve just saved it and ignored it on my laptop.
In some ways it would be better to have a physical manuscript to hoist about, perhaps I would feel as though I had actually written a book if I could hold it in my hand, and feel the weight of my words. Of course I haven’t printed it out because I know that there are far too many mistakes to correct and changes to make before another living person will ever be allowed to read it. It would be a waste of paper and printer ink to print that pile of tripe just yet. At 96,000 words, including the spacing it would run to 433 A4 pages as it currently stands.
But do you see where my problems begin? The last sentence before the info about how much I’ve written? Yes, that. Believing that my work is tripe, for starters. That’s not very positive, is it? And let’s be clear, when I say ‘tripe’, I’m not talking about the clean, white tripe they serve in posh restaurants (although why you would order that is beyond me). I’m talking about the green, unwashed variety we used to feed our German Shepherd. It was all fine at first, it hardly smelled at all. At first. By the time she got to the end of the bucket, which lasted perhaps a week (I don’t really remember) the stench was enough to make you physically literally gag. She loved it, and would hoover it up with delight and then come over to thank me by wiping her muzzle on my school skirt. That kind of tripe.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think it’s all tripe, just most of it. I had some good ideas for my first novel, (that’s better, stop talking about tripe) and merrily bashed away on the keyboard, only to discover that I’ve got plot and denouement issues. In other words, the story doesn’t make sense and I don’t know how to end it. But it will make sense and I will end it, one way or another. For better or worse. I’ll get there.
It’s a bit like when a word is just on the tip of your tongue, but you can’t quite retrieve it. If you stop trying and forget about it for a bit, the word (or band name, author, whatever) pops into your head. I’m hoping that will happen with my plot.
Meanwhile, I’m off to research how to get rid of this ‘psychological inhibition’, but I think that sitting down and writing this post is a good start – they say if you don’t know what to write, then write about how you don’t know what to write. That’s fine but I’m pretty sure no one will want to read that. Ugh.