Today, for the first time in a month, I sat down to write. I decided that part of my problem is that I’ve gotten way too far into my head. I have that syndrome I’ve heard that often afflicts sophomore novelists, whereby now that you are a professional, you try to write like one, rather than just write. I’ve been wanting to write this novelette for a long, long time, but I’ve been stuck in a rut on it for a variety of reasons. I keep trying to write the same scenes in the same way. Today I did something different.
I opened up a blank Google Docs document (as opposed to Scrivener) and just started writing. I had none of my notes for the story, none of the old scenes at hand. I tried to forget everything about what I had already done and just write. What I wrote was first draft quality, but it was fun. I didn’t feel stymied or stuck. I didn’t worry if I was being clever enough. I remembered that for me, the purpose of a first draft is to get the rough story on paper. It is the second draft where I usually have the most fun, cleaning things up, trimming, adding color and details. But the first draft, I just wanted to feel loose and at east.
Today I felt loose and at ease and I was pleased with the scene that I wrote.
So tomorrow, I’ll try for another scene. No target word count, no particular agenda. I just want to get the next scene in the story written. And I won’t worry about the next day. At this moment, I feel energized and eager to write tomorrow. And maybe after I’ve finished writing tomorrow, I’ll want to write again the next day.
Emerging from a writing slump is very similar to emerging from a hitting slump. You aren’t trying to do much, just make contact. Even a productive out can put an end to a difficult series of at bats. The same is true for writing, I think. Today I had a productive “at bat”. I’m going to try for the same tomorrow.