As I’ve made mention in the past couple weeks I have been somewhat struggling with ‘“writer’s block.” It was an issue of struggling to find the story that I wanted to tell. Over the past few months I’ve jotted down various story ideas that just didn’t seem to develop in my mind for one reason or another. I can’t really explain it. I keep those ideas on paper or my computer because I would love to one day pursue those stories.
This got me to thinking about my process of writing and other writers’ processes. Yesterday, through a blog I follow, I discovered the article, “How to Write a Great Novel”, on the Wall Street Journal’s website. As a writer and reader I found this article very interesting. The article describes different writers’ processes or habits when it come to writing a novel. As I read the article I realized that I’m not alone. I have some of the same habits or tendencies when it comes to writing. I’m not as eccentric as some of the writers, but I could relate to many of them.
With my first novel I could see the ending. In fact, somewhat like John Irving, I began with the ending. I knew where I was going. So as I began to think about writing another novel I was trying to figure out the ending. I was trying to go about the process the same way I had with the first novel I wrote. Though this might seem to work with some writers, it wasn’t working for me. It only made me more frustrated. I would start a story, get so far, and then come to a dead stop. I could go no further. Now, after some months of painstaking frustration, I realize that I must start somewhere else.
The change in the process has actually worked to my benefit because it has made writing or creating the story fun for me. With my new idea, which in fact does stem from an earlier post, I began with different situations and ‘themes’ that relate to this one character and represent a chapter. I have started writing down the basic ideas of these chapters and giving them names. For example: “A Fix”, “Post-Coital Revelation”, “Six is Better Than Seven.” The joy is that I finally feel like the story is going somewhere even though I didn’t start with the ending (nor do I have an ending in mind just yet).
Any writers or other artists like to share their process? Feel free to leave a comment.