When I read Bill Blankschaen’s post on moving forward when you hit a wall on Mike Hyatt’s blog, it reminded me of when I crashed right into one with my writing.  Maybe you’ve run into a problem that seemed impossible to solve — mine sure did!

Exhausted female soldier sprawls on horizontal ladder obstacle while other soldiers climb over it in background.

(Photo courtesy of the Defense Department)

I’d spent years trying to solve it — subplots did not evolve naturally for me in the story, and I believed this was causing my word count to run short.  I tried everything and came up with workaround after workaround.  But no matter what I did, the problem remained.

It was enough to make me want to give up.  Though I’d always wanted to write novels, I questioned if I should return  to short stories.  If I couldn’t get at the problem, I would never get a novel published.  But I’d gone through basic training as the least likely to enlist in the army, and the drill sergeants had given up on me.  Either I sank or survived, and I survived.  I’d done it because I had to, and here, I had to also.

Letting Go

Have you had to take a leap of faith, not knowing what the result would be?  This was probably the most important thing I had to do.  I stopped searching for a solution and started exploring what would lead me to a solution.  And it was hard, because I had to accept I did not know how to solve it. I already knew, but it’s one thing between knowing and accepting.  Accepting got me to Holly Lisle’s How to Revise Your Novel (HTRYN).  I would have never taken it if I hadn’t let go and accepted I didn’t have the answer.

Patience

If you’ve done writing for a while, you already know some elements will take their own time.  Most annoyingly, and never fast enough! When I worked through the HTRYN lessons, I wanted to get to solving the problem right now.  Except I still didn’t know what the problem was.  The lessons were frustrating because I kept running into the problem — and it was definitely bigger than I first imagined — but I couldn’t get at what it was.  Then I hit a lesson halfway through, and the problem revealed itself to me.   Then I understand the magnitude of it … yeah, patience would be important.

Sometimes writing isn’t easy, and perseverance is the only choice.

For you: What have you done differently when you’ve run into a wall?  Where have the challenges been?  Where has it been easier than you expected?  Post your comments below.

 

About the author

Linda Maye Adams Linda Adams has been published in Enchanted Spark and Fabula Argentea and has a non-fiction story in the upcoming Red, White, and True from the University of Nebraska Press. She is a female war veteran from the first Persian Gulf War, and least likely to have been in the army.