Painting myself into a corner

November 17, 2008

Have you ever written yourself into a corner, not knowing where to go next?

I sure have, and I just did a few days ago. I was working on a chapter that I had been stuck on for some time. Hallelujah! Suddenly I knew what I needed to do. The enthusiasm got rolling, the words started flowing, and I was on a roll. For several days. After that success, I knew what came next, and got rolling along with that, too.

Then, suddenly – as that second writing frenzy petered out – I realized I was stuck again. I had no idea what would or should come next, nor what the point was that I was trying to make.

I know that the solution to these kinds of problems is to just keep writing, keep going, despite the doubts and questions, and eventually it will all fall into place. It always does. It’s just that sometimes it’s hard to know and believe that, because all you see is the cul-de-sac that your writing has sent you to.

My solution of the moment is to (I think) just set aside that chapter now, and move on to work on something else. Let it set, and come back to it in a few weeks or maybe even a month. Maybe it will make sense, then, or I’ll have more information I need to add, or by that time I’ll have realized what my main overall point was, and will be able to work it in there.

Any other writers have this problem, writing themselves into a box? If so – what techniques work for you, to get out of it?

© writingreading, 2008