I am sighing in the background. Does this count as writer's block, when your characters are not getting along, and you can't seem to find a way past a certain events because no one is willing to bend, even though you've exhausted every effort trying?
Well, I'm a new writer. So, naively, I believed this type of thing only happened to a newby.
Has anyone out there seen the documentary Some Kind of Monster?
I'm a huge metal fan, and I have always liked Metallica--almost as much as I like Guns N Roses (well, really, it's all about Slash for me).
Some Kind of Monster came on the television, and thank goodness the kids were in bed because I could sit down an watch it.
I sat glued to the television. Metallica is a hugely popular band, and here they were, strung out and broken, seeking therapy to mend the wounds that they just couldn't heal themselves. Forced to re-evaluate and "examine their existence" (as stated in the beginning) to get past their disagreements, the remaining band members begin to take a real look at who they are and what they want to be, as their bassist quits and James abruptly leaves. As I watched the band members endure therapy session, after therapy session, after frustrating therapy session, all I could think about was how I felt the same way with my writing at the time.
I began to ask myself a bunch of questions:
Why am I doing this?
Why do I care?
What does this book do, right now, other than frustrate the hell out of me?
Why can't I think of a way to get around this?
Why won't this just work?
Well, it's called burnout, honey.
When all of the band members seemed to be at the end of their rope, they all took a much needed break.
I needed a break.
Burnout isn't something that happens to writers and artists, it happens to everyone. And convincing yourself that it's okay to take a break and come back in a while is the hardest part.
How long is long enough?
Long enough that you can come back and face your demons with a full tank of energy and a sharper sword in your hand.
It wasn't until I took my much needed break from writing for two weeks that the solution finally came to me. And it wasn't in a dream or something I read in a book, it happened at work when I was in the middle of assisting for a Root Canal. Way off in left field--not to mention cliche--but I wasn't getting to the root of the problem, I was too busy trying to deal with the issues on the surface (my characters and plot).
I needed sleep. Good ol' fashion REM sleep. And a lot more of it.
Please don't let yourself get to the burnout phase, because often, the solution is not going to show it's shy litte face until you give it some space for a while. Or maybe sleep and time away won't be your answer. Maybe it's just that you need to drink more water or eat a really good meal. Whatever it is, find it before it's too late, and respect what you're body is telling you.
I didn't. Not right away, that is.
Yeah, I know...shoulda, coulda, woulda...
PS. I hope Metallica makes many more albums, because I LOVE their music. I can't say enough how much I respect them for putting their hard times on national television--voluntarily! I respect the hell out of people who can do things like that.