Impotence – a word to strike fear in the hearts and minds of men. For women, an opportunity to be understanding and supportive. Maybe. What about for a writer?
Could the dreaded writerâ€™s block, though proclaimed by some writers to be non existent, at best a crutch for non-productive writers, be our own form of impotence? The thought came to me as I was putting fingers to keys on a new project. My basic method has always been to start with a scene and keep writing until I get stuck, making up names along the way. Generally I know where the story is set and why these people are in the story. Sometimes I write more than I might need for that specific story but it all comes together in the end.
Then I was told about plotting, and how important it is for efficient story telling. Always eager to learn new ideas, I thought â€˜Why not?â€™ and proceeded to lay out the story prior to writing. Then found out once Iâ€™d done that, I wasnâ€™t as driven to write the story – hadnâ€™t I already done so? Okay, so maybe I was using the wrong method. Enter years (no kidding) of books and seminars and on line studies. No writing, mind you, but tons of theory.
Then someone introduced me to data bases for writers. Where you can treat the computer like a succession of yellow pads, plus sticky notes. Now how cool was that??? I downloaded the one that looked best to me, started in on the book that had been beating at my skull from the inside. Here we go, I thought. On the way to . . . nowhere. Mental impotence. The dreaded, perhaps non existent, writerâ€™s block.
It looks like the answer, for me at least, is to go back to those Halcyon days when I knew nothing about planning a book, about plotting, about scene beats, story arcs, defining moments, and just write. Then after the story is out of my mind, and thereâ€™s room up there for more technical stuff, I can apply those principles necessary to a publishable book. Coming in from the back door, I suppose, but there is always more than one door into the keep.
Once I can convince my creative self I wonâ€™t be imposing any more limits and rules, Iâ€™m thinking the ideas will start up again. Or hope, since I donâ€™t think the drug companies are going to make any great strides toward developing some sort of mental Viagra.
We’re only given a little spark of madness; we mustn’t lose it