It seems every writer hits a bump in the manuscript road - is it writer's block, or something else? Barbara shares her thoughts with us.
Writer’s Block, or The Editor Within?
by Barbara Chepaitis
I’ve never had writer’s block. In fact, I don’t believe it exists. What others call writer’s block I believe is the interference of an internal voice you could call the Editor Within, a piece of your ego that fears being a fool.
I also believe every writer has a certain point at which their faith and energy in what they’re writing wavers. Suddenly, it all seems like garbage and you have no idea whatever made you think you could write anything worthwhile, anything anyone would want to read. That moment seems to arrive at different points in the writing process for each writer. For some, it shows up at the beginning, when you’re staring at a blank page. For others, it occurs at the midpoint, w hen energy flags. For others – and my husband is one of these – it shows up just before the piece is completed.
My moment of dread appears just after I’ve sent a completed project to an agent or editor. Then, the Editor Within leaps up and tells me I’ve done it all wrong and have to rewrite everything because, well, it’s garbage, etcetera. Fortunately, by then it’s too late.
Of course, no matter when your Editor Within starts yammering at you, the trick is to figure out how to make it go away until your work is done. Since the editor speaks from your ego and is mostly worried about appearing foolish, a good defence is to embrace your folly consciously and remember writing isn’t really about your ego, it’s about the story. When the Editor Within begins its litany, simply agree. Reply yes, I am a fool, and I’m not here to please you. I’m here to serve the stories, which want to be written.
Say it once, twice, as many times as necessary. I am a fool, and I’m here to serve the stories. And remember it well, because if you are a writer, it’s absolutely true.
BIO: Barbara Chepaitis is the author of 8 published books, including The Fear Principle featuring Jaguar Addams, and the critically acclaimed Feeding Christine and These Dreams. Her first nonfiction book, Feathers of Hope, is about Berkshire Bird Paradise and the human connection with birds. She’s writing a sequel about Eagle Mitch, a bird she helped our US troops rescue from Afghanistan. Barbara is founder of the storytelling trio The Snickering Witches, and faculty coordinator for the fiction component of Western Colorado’s MFA program in creative writing.
You can find Barbara at:
Facebook site for Barbara - http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=615302442
Facebook site for Jaguar - http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jaguar-Addams-and-the-Fear-Series/135879429815445
Barbara’s website: http://www.wildreads.com
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