Writer’s Block? Yes, Please! Part 2

IMG_3537A lot has been written about writer’s block but what about those who can’t stop writing? Nothing! I have surfed the web, researched libraries but came up without a shred of information. Apparently this is not a common problem or if so nobody dares to admit that they can’t stop writing.

If you don’t believe me, please let me tell you a story:

After having been deprived of my computer for four weeks I was boiling with ideas. During those weeks I wrote approximately three books and numerous short stories in my head, but now finally, I could work again.

Great! Despite the fact that it was 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit outside and I hadn’t been sweating that much since living in the Seychelles, I was there, at my desk, writing like a maniac. Each time I promised myself to take a break of at least an hour and actually tear myself away from the computer the same happened: I got away from my desk, started relaxing and then without me even wanting to, the story I was currently working on took on a life of its own in my thoughts. New scenes, twists and characters came to the surface until I could stand it no longer. I sprinted back to my desk, restarted my computer (which I had shut down in order to really take that break) and started typing. Repeat this six times, add three bottles of water, and you get the picture.

The only problem was that all these books and stories were now vying for my attention. Getting these sorted out and all those ideas into the computer was a challenge. I could have used three different sets of arms, computers and work spaces to complete this task, but after a while I found a way to deal with the idea overflow:

First: I gave each idea half an hour’s time to get written down and outlined. This way I kind of capture it and make it mine, which is important because, believe me, if you don’t do that someone else will suddenly come up with a very similar plot and you will be the one wishing you had written it down first. So, write it down and make it yours!

Second: Another half hour was dedicated to writing a scene of this particular book. Often, when I have these ideas, the story is told with a very distinctive voice of its own. If I fail to write this down I usually have problems trying to find this unique “persona” again. This is a shame because each book has its own personality. Once you succeed in writing – if only just a few sentences – you can come back any time, even years later, and write in this distinctive way that makes a book unique.

Third: And this is a very important step – be organized. Each idea deserves at least a working title and a folder that you will be able find on your computer even after several years have passed. I have still ideas on my harddish that I captured as far back as ten years ago. One of these I am turning currently into a book. It may take time until you feel that now is the right moment to dedicate your time to one particular plot. Make sure that you find the plot outline and that special telling voice on your computer.

Fourth: You have now done everything you need in order to be able to write all these books that were lurking in your head. Now is the time to sit down, decide which one you want to start on and write it! There are authors out there who can work on more than one book at a time. I am not one of them. For me it works best to write only one book, finish it and then start the next. You need to decide which approach works best for you. But make sure that you do finish a book. Don’t jump from one idea to the next without ever getting to those magical words “The End”.

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