I’ve often heard that surgeons don’t have surgeon’s block, so writers shouldn’t have writer’s block. I think I’ve even quoted that. But now that I’m suffering (that’s probably not the right word to use since what I’m going through doesn’t really equal suffering) from writer’s block, I’m rethinking the analogy.
Maybe when the surgeon is standing over the patient, knife in hand, he (or she) shouldn’t be experiencing any sort of a block (I certainly hope the doctor knows what to do next), but there may be a time before the patient is wheeled into the operating room when the surgeon wonders if this is the right thing to do…and may put off acting because of this indecision.
That’s where I’m at with my wip. I know how I want the story to end, and I know most of the major steps my protagonist must take to get to that ending, but I’m procrastinating because I’m just not quite sure if the next step (next scene) is the right one to take.
I’ve tried outlining the ending, and I’ve come up with several scenes I know will work, but something still isn’t quite right, and I can’t figure out what it is. So what do I do? I play FreeCell. I stare out the window. I take walks.
So yes, I have writer’s block, but maybe I’m simply using that as an excuse not to write. Maybe what I need to do is simply write. The advantage writers have over surgeons is if I make a mistake, if a scene doesn’t work and I have to rewrite it, I can do that. I can take scenes out or put them in until the story flows.
Anne Lamott, in her book bird by bird talks about the shitty first draft. So that’s what I’m going to do today. I’m going to write crap…and maybe something good will come out of it.
(By the way, if you haven’t read bird by bird, I highly recommend it.)