Do you ever catch yourself “casting” a novel while you are reading it? I do it all of the time. The instant I pair a familiar face or voice with a character, to the setting described by the author, the book reads twice as fast for me. Everything in my mind tends to unfold like the pages of a screenplay. I would have gone with stage play, but the transitions are much harder that way. And the movies of my mind have a much better soundtrack than the plays. After all, I’m no composer. Hell, I’m barely a writer. But I digress…
Or do I?
For you see, I once again find myself faced with a problem. I am suffering from a form of writer’s block. I say “form” because I am not without ideas. By definition, writer’s block is “A usually temporary psychological inability to begin or continue work on a piece of writing.” It can occur at any point in a writer’s career and manifest itself in various ways, some so severe that writers have been known to not only abandon a given project, but their entire career as well. I have suffered from bouts of the block, but this time it’s different.
I know exactly what I want to write. I have known it since December of 2011 when I first began brainstorming ideas. I’ve known it since I started researching certain associated topics and fact checking. I’ve known it since I started scouting locations and taking photographs. I’ve known it since I named my characters. Their entire fate plays out in my mind perfectly. When I finish typing at night, and sleep finally catches me, I dream in great detail of what will happen to them next. I know the beginning, the middle, and the end of the story. My problem is, I am not good with words. I can write dialogue all day–whether or not it is any good is up for individual interpretation and scrutiny. But for some reason, I cannot put a scene into words. I can outline it. I can see it in my mind from every angle. And yet, I can’t find any words in the English language to describe what it is that I am seeing. Why is that?
Why is it that I can sit down at the keyboard and within minutes write nearly 1,000 words in a blog, or carry on a 2 hour Twitter or Facebook conversation, but I am unable to type 10-15 sentences to carry my characters through to their next conversation? I know that I second guess myself quite a bit. I also have a bad habit of going back and reading what I’ve already completed, and then falling into the endless trap that is self-editing. I know that I’m supposed to write first, edit later. But, I can’t help myself sometimes. The end result is an hour spent fixing grammatical errors in the same 3 paragraphs over and over. By the time I’m ready to begin a new line, the computer’s cursor just blinks, continuously mocking me from the bright white glow of the screen.
There must be some part of me that is questioning what this is all for. I mean, why am I doing this? What is my end game with all of this “novel writing” and “blogging” and (hopefully) “producing plays” anyhow? Do I honestly think that anyone will read them or seek them out?
Now, ask me if I care? I write because I love to write. In the same way that I love to sing. In the same way that I love to get tattoos. Those things are for me. They aren’t for anyone else. It is my therapy. If something that I say or do has a positive effect on someone else’s life, well then, that is just the cherry on top of the sundae that is my life.
Sundaes….maybe my protagonist should be eating a sundae…..?