Hola folks! Sorry I missed you last week.
I was in the midst of that dreaded (and much anticipated, in our case) state of moving and had no internet. There’s little that’s more mentally or physically draining than moving, and if you’re like me (neurotic and klutzy and can’t stand having things in boxes), as you push through to get things unpacked, you feel like you will never be settled again.
Sometime last weekend I made the discovery that none of my myriad of bathroom organizers were going to fit in the cabinets of this new house. See, my old house was built in 1964 and had, shall we say, non-standard cabinets (i.e. homemade, big, ugly, and with shelves set wider apart than normal). I had a system in my old bathroom (which was quite tiny), and I liked my system. In my completely tapped out mental state, the notion that I was going to have to create a new system in this new bathroom made me want to just weep (along with the fact that I simply could not find the freaking fingernail scissors, and I had a monster hang nail).
Writer’s block is a lot like this.
Whether you are a rabid plotter (like me) who has reached a point in your outline where things simply are not working, or a pantser (like I used to be), where you simply don’t know what comes next, writer’s block is this mentally draining, upsetting, and sometimes terrifying prospect. You are mired in the Unknown and the Unknown is frigging STRESSFUL!
Now you have two options at this point.
You can continue to try beating your head against the wall (or cabinet, in my case), willing the Universe to change the reality such that your original plan/system/outline will still work.
Or you can make a change.
Sort through your toiletries and medicines (i.e. the details of your manuscript), and start tossing the stuff that’s expired. It might be just a little—a scene, a few paragraphs. Or it might be a lot. You might’ve turned left when you should’ve turned right three chapters back.
The point is, the Universe is generally not very accommodating to our wills, so it’s important to embrace the change and get rid of what isn’t working to get back to something that will work. It’s up to you to sort out when you get to this stage where you need to start chopping (for me, it’s about three days of crappy to no progress). Start from the beginning and retrace your steps, figuring out where you derailed. No matter how much you toss, in the end, you will be left with a cleaner, neater, more organized bathroom—er, manuscript—for having gotten rid of the broken stuff. And chances are, your brain will be clearer and more ready to dive back in when you do.