I have realized that a lot of people have the sensation as they are writing that things do not go as planned. I have heard a lot of this from my writer friends who plan out their writing.
One of my friends told me they had reached their word count for the day. Then they sent me a message that said: “Now if my characters would only do what they were supposed to do”.
It is a sensation I have often felt, in a different way. Instead of having a set idea where my characters will go and do, I have a vague idea. But usually, as I’m writing I will have the idea that I want the love story to develop a little more between them and end up writing a kidnapping scene instead. Not because I wanted to or was planning to, but because I ended up doing what the characters’ wanted.
It’s like I have no control over what my characters do. Instead, they tell me their stories. J. K. Rowling said something very similar. It’s kind of a disconcerting feeling.
Intellectually, I know it’s my subconscious bringing up the ideas. But it doesn’t feel that way. It feels magical. Exhilarating. And it’s addicting to feel that feeling, the flow.
But sometimes you can’t get in the flow. Sometimes, writing is work. You’re either dried up of ideas or your subconscious isn’t working with you. Your characters aren’t cooperating. Your muse has left the building and decided they don’t feel like coming back on your schedule.
So what do you do?
I work through it. I write at least 500 words a day (if I don’t have homework to do. And sometimes in spite of the homework. If you keep writing the more likely it is that the ideas will flow. I also have several projects that I am working on at once. So if I get stuck on one I can just switch to another. Also, I keep a couple encouraging web articles and videos that have been shown to encourage me to write bookmarked. They help me regain focus and passion for writing more than anything else. I also have a stack of books that achieve the same things near where I write.
Have you writers ever felt in “the flow” that you have no control over your characters and what they do next? Are you a plotter, pantser, or a bit of both? Do you guys have any tips to keep writing when you are feeling blocked?
Thanks for reading!