The first time I drove past this giant rock mountain, I hit the brakes. Thank goodness I was on a very quiet residential street! All the thesaurus words for BIG apply, but I like "mammoth." And it's someone's view from the front yard! I'm guessing, but I'd say it's about 20' high and 30' wide... I stood against it and didn't get to where the green moss comes down. I'm 5'1".
Every writer knows about it, when the words are Bad, Wrong, or Silent. It's a very bad day at work for a writer, like an OSHA warning to a contractor. "That plot roof is about to cave. Why aren't your main characters harnessed to the scaffolding?"
I personally believe, and correct me if I'm wrong, that a full-time writer understands it's just a bad day, not a wrong life decision. Also, they can look at the bookshelf, see their prior success, and feel better. So they push. The plot roof get decorative shingles and the characters buckle up and then fall accidentally for suspense.
But how about for the part-time writers? The ones who can fall back on a day-job paycheck? Or, even more terrifying, how about us newbies? Us poor saps who still work full-time for the man and sneak in writing time like we sneak in bite-size treats on coffee-break?
When we see a problem or our storyline peters out, we will give up?
I heard somewhere that Charles Dickens wrote his first books while working full-time in a bank. This has encouraged me for literally a decade -- until I watched a Biography episode on him.
Baloney. Wrong. Answer over.
He had a hard childhood, yes, and he had issues with his mother. Sounds like 99% of humans to me. But his day job as an adult was writing, whether journalism or stories. And, while I'm glad my grade school days were spent on a pair of roller skates and not working in a rat-infested blacking warehouse, I'm still jealous. Plus, that experience plotted up some of his best works.
"Climb every mountain? Ford every stream?" (insert singing nun from The Sound of Music)
Essentially, yes. Unless you want to be a quitter. Here are a few Girl Parker Approved methods of scaling that rock.
- Walk away. Many folks say you absolutely must write every day. I believe they worked that rat-infested warehouse and it has tetched their thinking. Take a day off.
- Do laundry and fold clothes for an hour. And don't watch TV while doing it. Let your mind wander. Repeat if needed. If you run out of laundry, I can supply more.
- Go for a long walk. It will clear your head.
- Go to the gym and cue up some rockin tunes. Believe it or not, Adele just helped me fill in a much stronger backstory for a character. Thanks, Adele!
- Run through the NPR headlines. Guaranteed to get your creative juices flowing.
- Read the daily front page of Wikipedia. Ditto to above.
- Flip through old family pictures. Something may trigger a long ago heard tidbit.
- Bake something high in calorie, put your feet up, and read a good book. You can't know your craft if you ignore it.
Do you have any good tips for getting over a stopped-up story, minus Roto Rooter? Please share!