This is a piece I originally composed for Nancy J. Parra's site - Room With A View
Hitting the Wall
Hitting the wall. Losing one’s muse. Grinding to a halt. These phrases describe a very discouraging situation also known as writer’s block. Why does it happen and what can we do to correct the problem?
Creative difficulties occur for a number of reasons. Perhaps things were running smoothly and then our story ran out of gas. Maybe we have grown careless with our processes and habits, rendering us unprepared for challenges. Our enthusiasm may wane, draining all motivation. Bottom line – we hit a wall when we lose sight of our goal. Without a clear target, we begin to drift and our story may stall.
How can we prevent the proverbial wall from appearing? How can writers apply the power of defined goals to their situation?
An outline provides a writer with a clear path to follow. Writing without an outline is like driving without a map –we don’t know where we’re going. A basic synopsis, complete with ending, will keep our story flowing forward. With an outline, we always have the option of skipping ahead to the next scene just to keep creativity flowing, thus preventing writer’s block from stopping us cold.
An outline will also keep us from wandering from our original idea. Think of all the time we save when we stop chasing rabbits! A physical outline is far more effective than a mental one, too. Our brilliantly conceived story will hold our interest if we can view concrete ideas and plans. Relying on the wisp of an idea in our minds is too vague and eventually leads to frustration. Write out the basic plot and set it in stone.
It takes more than an outline, though. The real strength of our resolve to stay on target resides between our ears! Our attitude and determination will play a pivotal role in our ability to move past obstacles. How strong is the desire to see our vision develop into a tangible story that others can enjoy? It will not matter how well constructed the outline if the story does not ignite the fire in our soul.
Is it really that simple? An outline and our attitude? Yes, because all it really takes to overcome any challenge or problem is a dream and a desire!
So, make preparations before the wall appears on the horizon and the inspirational muse goes missing. Plan a course of action and get excited about the journey. Remember, we don’t have time for obstacles in our path. We’ve got a story to write!