Plugging Through Stuckness

Yep, like Stephen Colbert, I’m inventing a new word to describe the frustration of writing when it’s like pulling teeth. Sometimes I feel like I have an idea swirling around in there, or several ideas, and they keep getting tangled in each others threads, and then they partly dissolve. But when they solidify again, they act like one big forkful of spaghetti in the strainer when I’ve forgotten to add oil. The story comes out on the paper in one big gelatinous clump of gluten.

At other times, it’s like trying to catch the last Cheerio with my spoon in a sea of milk. It keeps slipping around on the stream until I want to throw down the utensil and stick my face in the bowl like a dog.

That’s what this new novel has been like. I’ve found that every few days, I’ve been stuck. But one thing that has been great about being around other writers, like the Denver Fiction Writers Group, is that they are really inspirational and have introduced me to things like National Novel Writing Month. I feel like I haven’t just benefited from the month itself, but from the attitude it inspired in me. I love that it gave me permission to suck. Without that permission, it would be a lot harder to write, because I’d be hyper-aware of what I’m putting onto paper even for the first draft, forgetting that this is what first drafts are for. Spit it out and fix it later. So every time I get stuck, I just plough through the stuckness by deciding that whatever comes out, comes out and I’ll go back to it when I’m done, like running the Tough Mudder and not looking back at how few obstacles and muddy hills I’ve gotten through. My husband ran that recently, and is trying to convince me to run it next year. Maybe I can tackle race-running like NaNoWrimo too, except with a lot more panting and gasping for air.

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