Usually, when I put a manuscript aside for a huge chunk of time, it’s because I hit a wall–but only a little wall.
When I’m writing blind, without an outline for what’s going to happen, I enjoy taking a break and figuring out what my characters will do next. I talk to myself a lot. I’ll do some dishes while discussing with myself how secondary characters would respond to a choice my protagonist might make. Or I’ll hold a series of vocal debates with myself in the shower over whether or not introducing a new character will hurt the story’s tone or significantly alter the relationships between the other characters. And when I figure it out, I sit down and type out what I’ve decided to do.
But when I do plan things out in advance, I tend to set forth the larger story arcs and gloss over the individual elements needed to make those arcs happen. When I actually try to write out a draft of the story, I know generally how to get from point A to point Z, but no clue how to get to point B. If it doesn’t immediately come to me as I write, I kind of roll my eyes at the story details…
I get to the point at which I can’t see the trees for the forest. And I lose interest. And I avoid the story for six months. And I make no progress whatsoever.
This is one of the aspects of my writing (or my writing habits) that The New Devil has been immensely helpful with. I write that serial on a schedule–so if I’ve gotten to a point where I’m stuck and I don’t care anymore, I don’t get to ignore it for long. I may not know what to do, but I need to do something fast because I need to have another post up by Monday! It doesn’t always produce the best results, but the longer I do it the more ways I’ve found to keep my productivity up without sacrificing too much quality.
To any authors out there who struggle with writer’s block and need a way to help themselves overcome it…have you ever considered trying your hand at a serial? It might help.