I have found, in my writing, that I have times when my writing just flows, and it comes naturally, the dialog, the actions, the description. And there are other times when I struggle with a scene, I force myself through it NaNo style. Then I’ll come back later to try and iron it out, and it will flop all over the place like a fish trying to escape a butcher’s knife. I have come to discover that a lot of times when I have these troubles, the only way that I can fix them is go back and completely rewrite the scene, from scratch, and what I generally find is that the struggle I had was in me as a writer trying to force my characters into doing something and them desperately trying to tell me that they were having none of it.
I am getting a bit better with recognizing when this is happening. If something isn’t flowing, most of the time I can catch it and go back to the rewrite step before I put myself and my characters through a non-working scene.
However, this weekend I ran into what felt like this struggle, where my writing just wasn’t working, only it followed me from story to story. After two days of things not working I pulled out a short story that I’m pretty happy with and went to revising it. And it very shortly turned into a massive struggle, when all I was trying to do was streamline the story a bit. This one hit me much deeper because this was something I had already written, something that already worked, and somehow I was unable to revise it into something that still worked.
I cried. I admit it. I felt that somehow I had just … lost whatever it was that made me able to write. At lunch, my husband admitted that he could tell I was upset and so I explained to him what was happening as best I could.
And wonderful man that he is, made me realize that what was happening was that I had been rereading one of my favorite fantasy trilogies, and in that, I was trying to write in a style that was not my own, while I desperately tried to tell myself I was having none of it. So the reason I was struggling with all of my stories over the past few days was because I was forcing myself to do something that was against my nature. I can’t write like someone else any more than someone else can write like me.
Just chalk it up to another life lesson where I am coming to realize that when writing is a struggle, (and I mean a real struggle, not just ‘oh I’m too tired’) that it is simply a character not being able to be who they are, whether it be a denizen of my fictitious worlds or my own self.