Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Writer's Block

Mandy Roth started a thread in the NCP Reader's group about writer's block and some interesting views emerged, showing how personal a subject this is and how different are our definitions for Writer's Block.

The traditional one, made famous by countless movies and novels, shows the disheveled author in a crisis of confidence, unable to type a coherent page, surrounded by crumpled sheets of paper, chain smoking with a near empty bottle of liquor at his elbow.

Computers and word processing packages have removed the crumpled sheets of paper, the anti-smoking lobby has stifled the chain smoking, the medical profession have confiscated the liquor bottle and our partners have frowned on dishevelment. Only the crisis of confidence remains.

Something I've yet to suffer because I began with the knowledge I knew nothing and learnt my craft step by step. A stumble sends me back down the path I trod to get here, retracing my steps until I can see my way ahead again, applying the same old lessons yet again to the story I'm working on until I see my way clearly once more.

"New World" has been beset by every possible interruption. Overseas trips, family crises, reviews of "New Blood", the launch of "Mitchell's Valley, etc., etc., etc., and I've had to pick up the pieces more times than is reasonable, but I've never lost confidence in either the story or myself. It's a writer's life to do these things.

In a month's time, we're off overseas again and I would love to have "New World" submitted before we go. The odds are good that it will happen, but real life has a habit of interposing itself into my calculations. If it does, I'll mutter a little and accept it because submitting a manuscript before its ready is not the act of a professional writer.

Therein lies my self confidence!
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