My creative writing teachers in college always used to say there was no such thing as writer’s block. They said as long as you sat down to write something would end up on the page eventually. I usually don’t have this issue because I have a cast of characters who will comment on anything from my hairstyle to whatever I’m watching on tv that day. I have what I like to call “writing butterflies.” It’s similar to when a person starts a friendship. You meet a person, you start getting to know that person, and now your day feels strange if you don’t at least say hey.
Writing is like that for me too. I get an idea for a story. I think about the characters in any scenario I can think about at that moment. I take Buzzfeed quizzes from my characters’ point of view. I get to know them like they are my best friends. My plots play like commercials in my head. I see a pivotal scene in my novel and start from the beginning until I get to that point.
The logical thing to do would be to write the scene that sparked the idea first, but that has never worked for me. I just end up doing base descriptions, and dialogue. It doesn’t have the same intimacy I’m comfortable with when I’m writing a scene.
I always start at Chapter 1 and move forward. I’ve only ever done one version of a story where I thought about going backward, and some plot points didn’t feel like they cut as deeply as I intended so I started back at the beginning.
The problem with this is that I’m a perfectionist if I write one good scene. I expect them all to carry the same level of talent. My college in Chicago had a class called Fiction Tutoring. This was a class where you would meet with a fellow student who was farther in the program with you, and you would have a workshop tailored to what you wanted to focus on in your writing. I loved these classes. My tutors always encouraged me even when my writing wasn’t particularly strong. They always told me that it’s okay to write badly. I understood what they were saying that because we had to reach a certain amount of pages in each course.
I always feel like I’m the worst writer, and that people cringe when they read two pages of my writing. This is not true at all. I enjoy writing, and my characters are like my friends. They deserve to be acknowledged and written about. No one wants to have a really fun time, and then never hear from that friend again.
I guess the whole point of this is writers’ block does exist. However, don’t let it stop you from seeing old friends again, or meeting new ones. Every relationship has rough patches even fictional ones, but if the story matters it will be written one way or another.