Right now, I've been working on a short story for over a week and it's driving me crazy. I'm stuck at one scene and have been for the last two days. I've exhausted my bag of tricks, and I can't seem to get unstuck. Sadly, I'll write a sentence, then erase it. I rant at my internal editor to back off, but she's planted firmly on my shoulder and keeps pushing my muse off. I backtrack to see if something took a wrong turn earlier in the story, but nothing seems to work. I've been here before, and I'll probably be here again, but it doesn't change the fact I can't get out of this funk.
It reminds me of one of the funniest scenes in National Lampoon's European Vacation, when Chevy Chase's character can't figure out the round-a-bout in London.
Yep, that's me. No matter how many times I try, I can't get to "The End."
One of my last ditch efforts to unblock myself is to visit some of the blogs from which I've learned the most. After hitting a couple unsuccessfully, I came across deanwesleysmith.com. I often visit here after a trip to his wife's blog kriswrites.com. And can usually find something new at both sites that I truly didn't know or quite understand before.
Last January, Dean Wesley Smith gave himself a challenge to write 100 short stories in a year, and starting July of this year, he's taken up the challenge once again. Now, I'm not nearly that prolific and don't have plans to attempt any such challenge. I'd like to just finish the one I started last week. Yet, as I read through his process for the first story, I was intrigued. I'd heard it before, but he said it again, and it was worth repeating. Sometimes, you just had to write through the hard scenes, word-by-word, and keep on going, even if you don't know where it's taking you or if it's salvageable material at all. I've done that before and been pleased with the results, changing some, but keeping most of what I wrote. It works.
But, it was the next post that really spoke to me. It seems after he went through his process and published that story, someone took the time to comment to say it had too many typos and mistakes. The nerve of some people. Whether it takes a week or a year, every story is precious to a writer. It's personal, even when it's not. It's a part of him or her. So, it was enough to make Dean Wesley Smith want to give up the challenge--after just one story. I totally get this. You know why? Because when you have to work incredibly hard to suppress your own internal editor, any little criticism just throws all that work out the window and makes it impossible to shut that trashy witch up.
I recently finished a manuscript I have serious plans for and have passed it on to Beta readers who have already given me plenty of feedback, even some criticisms. Now that's all in my head, swirling around like a summer windstorm, and I can't get to "The End" on my current story.
I'll finish this story. I'm determined to. And at least now I have a better grasp of what exactly keeps getting in my way. Just wish my Muse would grow a pair and knock the IE off my shoulder. Until then, I'm going to do what I know best--power through. Wish me luck and any advice is always appreciated.
Happy Reading and Writing,