It’s almost inevitable that any attempt at intensive writing will hit a roadblock at some point. Mine happened on day 15. I had written three pages of the latest chapter on day 14 and on day 15 I realised it wasn’t working. It was hard work writing it and even harder work reading it the next day because it was a huge info dump.
The novel I am working on is a literary crime story and I am trying very hard not to make it a procedural. But what I had written was going step by step through the police discovering and then cataloguing a crime scene.
Worse than being an info dump, it stymied me on being able to move forward. What a lot of people call writer’s block, I think of as my mind’s way of telling me that what I’ve written isn’t good enough to support the chapters that will come after it. Sometimes it means that the story is heading in the wrong direction. Sometimes it means that I’m telling the story from the wrong person’s perspective. It happens to me a lot.
It took me until week four to do what I am going to tell you to do if and when you hit a roadblock (do as I say, not as I do and benefit from the wisdom of my experience). Start again. Don’t delete anything because you might be able to use some of the elements; just go back to the beginning of the chapter or the scene that isn’t working and try again from scratch in a slightly different way. If you can, copy and paste in the parts of your original attempt that weren’t bad and just keep going.
The reason for just keeping on going is that once you stop, once you lose the momentum, it can be very hard to find it again. If you spend too much time (any more than a day) thinking about how to fix the chapter or scene that isn’t working, then you’ll suddenly find a week has passed and you’ll never be able to catch up on your weekly target (witness my total and utter failure below). So instead of trying to fix it, just keep writing, even if you are writing the same chapter over and over again. It’s all writing. It all contributes to the daily, weekly and monthly writing target. And you’ll know when the roadblock has been overcome because you’ll be able to move on to writing the next chapter and then the next and then the one after that.
My week three target: Between 3,500 and 7,000 words
My week three total: 0 words