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!
(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.
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.
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.