Writer’s block is how the writing community describes a dreaded time when an author’s brain goes blank and spontaneous creativity dries up. So is that what happens when you sit down to outline your second-in-a-sequence novel and nothing seems to fit or work or inspire? I have planned from day one to continue Patsy’s story with the next part of her journey. But looking over the summary she gave me, it seems like the same-ol’ same-ol’ stuff and I fear I am stuck in my own version of writer’s block – let’s call it plotter’s block. I need some fresh ideas.
What to do? Research shows this I am not the first person to get lost in this plotting maze. This roadblock phenomenon has been occurring for years to a number of prestigious writers. That is somewhat of a comfort but not exactly getting me on track. I read on. The experts tell me daily writing in my journal and periodic blogging help keep the creative juices flowing. Next, I realize I have a number of student exercises used in my Planning and Structuring the Novel class from 2008 that should come in handy. So I look for worksheets, exercises, and notes jotted during my inspired moments when I was focused on novel number one. I read through newspaper clippings, flagged articles of interest from writer’s publications, and pertinent chapters from my library of “how-to-write” texts. My next action is wedging the triumphs and disasters that happened to Patsy on her second trip into the eight-point plotting sequence. Sitting back, I look over the result. It still looks like a stale redo of novel number one which seems too close to ho-hum to generate any interest from readers.
An idea hits. I may be onto something. It still needs tons of work but this is all a learning experience so I need to let the ideas roll around in my brain and enjoy this transition time from written story number one to embryonic story number two. As the world changes, I need to change with it to keep proving my worth to my readers. I start a routine that helps me in other parts of my life: get everything in order, cataloged, tagged, arranged in order of priority. I feel better already. The plot thickens.