One side effect of this is I am still in winter mode, a time I spend in semi-hibernation. I hate dark grey days (I don’t actually mind the cold if it’s sunny with it), and it’s amazing how much more I’ll get done on a day when it’s sunny than I do on a rainy day.
This week has been a struggle. I hit a wall with my novel, and no matter what way I came at it, I was stuck. I sat at my computer and stared at it. Nothing happened. I tried scribbling in my notepad. I got a very nice doodle of a dragon, but no further on the plot. I tried just bashing out words in a stream of consciousness, but that just gave me a garbled winding story that didn’t really have a lot to do with the characters or moving the story forward.
Then the answer came in two parts.
Part 1: Asking for help.
This is something I am terrible at. It was written into one of my school reports once that I would struggle through something on my own rather than ask for help, and unfortunately it’s something I’ve not improved on. So I can’t exactly say I asked for help; rather it was offered and it turned out that I did need it. Talking through what I was stuck on made me realise what had been bothering me about the story, and what I needed to change to move forward.
Part 2: Procrastination.
Yes, really! Yesterday I read a very interesting article about how procrastination is not necessarily a bad thing for a creative type person. (Funnily enough, I read this in a random magazine supplement out of a week old newspaper that I don’t normally read, and was only reading because I was procrastinating.)
It has always been assumed that if you are procrastinating, you aren’t getting anything done. However now people are beginning to recognise that if you are procrastinating, you are getting something done; not necessarily the thing you are supposed to be doing, but you are completing something none the less.
So I looked back at my week and I noticed all of the things that I have done when I should have been getting thousands of words written. I’ve cleaned the house. I’ve done my banking. I finished reading “The Two Towers” and started on “The Return of the King.” And suddenly I don’t feel bad about it.
This is why: because firstly, I realise that I haven’t “not got anything done” this week. Secondly as soon as I let go of the “I should be doing this” and just started to enjoy what I was doing, the words came back. I’ve had to go back and rewrite several pages, but I’m progressing again.
I may have been going in circles all week, but the circles were getting bigger and I’ve found myself on the other side of the wall. Instead of punching through it, I just went around it. I’m about to start another circle now, since I’ve gone back about twenty pages to slightly change the direction my characters are going in, but I’m ok with that, because this circle is going to be even bigger than the last and at the end of this one the final stages of the tale will be in sight.
But first, I’m off to have some lunch. J