The afternoon was quickly slipping away. It was time to write. Eagerly I pulled out NEO, placed my notebooks, paper, and pen on my bed, and set up my music stand. I had been looking forward to this writing time since I had quit writing on Tuesday night. Now it was Thursday. Everything had been going so well, and the story had been practically writing itself. I loved it when stories rushed along often faster than my fingers could type the words. Yep, being an author sure was grand.
Fingers poised over the keypad, I began to type. It was slow. Something didn’t feel quite right. “It’s because I didn’t write yesterday. It’ll come easier,” I assured myself. “I just have to keep writing. This is a slower part of the story. It requires more thought.” Convinced of this fact, I pressed on.
When supper time came, 291 new words had been written. “Not a bad start,” I murmured to myself, “especially since I only had twenty-five minutes to write. It’ll begin to really move after supper.” It always had. I wrote some before supper to sort of “prime the pump” and then after supper the words usually rushed forward like a train on a straight track.
And so, with anticipation,I returned after supper to the world of my imagination. Things started moving as I expected them to and then, suddenly, without any warning, the storyline was gone.
There were no more words.
The story refused to come.
I couldn’t compose a single sentence.
Have you ever had that happen? Has your story ever suddenly stopped and left you staring at the screen or paper while your fingers tapped the tops of the keys, eager to continue their mad race? Did you feel like give up, tossing aside the story for a book to read, or just calling it quits for the day? Or did you stop and take the time to find out why it happened.
A situation like this can be very frustrating. You are left wondering if you have any writing talent or that perhaps your characters have plotted this against you. Maybe you feel that it’s just “writer’s block” which plagues your mind and you wish it hadn’t happened.
But trust me, it can be a good thing.
Step back from your story and think a minute. When was it that the story began to feel a little forced or slow? Did you perhaps get on the wrong track? Are you trying to write something that isn’t supposed to be a part of your story? Is this entire scene something that might be good, but doesn’t fit? If you can’t go on, can you go back and try again?
My story was stuck. My scene was falling flat because my characters were putting up a fuss about where I was taking them. True, the scene was a “good” one and might actually have “happened” to the characters, but it didn’t matter. It wasn’t going forward. Selecting that entire scene of over 400 words, I cut them from my file with a sigh. “There goes all my work!” I didn’t delete them, but only put did put them in a different file, just in case. Now what?
Taking a break gave me a chance to think and pray. Where was I supposed to be taking my story? A tiny thought came to my mind. Just a small idea, nothing big or exciting. “It won’t hurt to try it,” I thought. Back I went to NEO.
At first my fingers were hesitant; after all, they had been rudely interrupted by the sudden halt of words. Then, as the words came faster, they sped up, until fifty minutes later I was staring in delighted surprise at my word count. In those fifty minutes I had written 1,231 words! Astonishing!
Now I knew what the problem had been. I had been on the wrong track.
What about you, have you ever found your story taking the wrong track? Was it easy to fix? Leave a comment and let me know.