About a month ago, I found myself rewriting the same chapter over and over again – actually editing my editing. I was stuck, going nowhere, wedged into the corner of a mindless cube with no exit door in sight. Out of curiosity, I investigated and discovered that some pretty well-known authors have suffered from this same affliction: George Gissing, Samuel Coleridge, Joseph Mitchell, even F. Scott Fitzgerald. When I calculated that it took thirty years for Harold Brodkey to publish The Runaway Soul, I realized that I needed to find a solution, and fast. Now these suggestions may not be your answer, but after undergoing self-induced therapy for one week, I managed to lose my block before I completely cracked.
Rage. If you’re deleting chapters or filling trash baskets, screaming and stomping won’t get you anywhere – although it helps to clear the cob webs and release pent up frustrations. Just don’t make this a habit or you might find yourself residing in a padded cell.
Inspiration. The spark of genius might be flittering about just beyond your reach. Go for walks, see a movie, read books. Sit in the park with your eyes closed, listening to the world around you. But should you chose to do this, don’t ignore the flashers, pickpockets, and hookers milling around or the police officers who might ask you to move along.
Escape. If you can’t find something to inspire you, calm your frustrations with a distraction – whether it be lunch with friends, a weekend getaway or an around the world trip. But wherever you end up, don’t forget to bring home something other than leftovers and laundry to help rekindle your thoughts.
Re-engage. Reread what you’ve already written, the notes you compiled, the outline you struggled to complete. Become reacquainted with your characters and rescue them from a fate worse than avoidance.
Purpose. Remember what drove you to write this story in the first place. However, if you were purely financially motivated, hopefully you have someone very patient in your life that’s helping to pay the bills. 😀
Linda Yoshida, aka Kaylin McFarren, is a rare bird indeed. Not a migratory sort, she prefers to hug the West Coast and keep family within visiting range. Although she has virtually been around the world, she was born in California, relocated with her family to Washington, and nested with her husband in Oregon. In addition to playing an active role in his business endeavors, she has been involved in all aspects of their three daughters’ lives – taxi duties,
cheerleading coaching, script rehearsals, and relationship counseling, to name but a few. Now she enjoys spending undisciplined time with her two young grandsons and hopes to have many more.
Although Kaylin wasn’t born with a pen in hand like so many of her talented fellow authors, she has been actively involved in both business and personal writing projects for many years. As the director of a fine art gallery, she assisted in furthering the careers of numerous visual artists who under her guidance gained recognition through promotional opportunities and in national publications. Eager to spread her own creative wings, she has since steered her energy toward writing novels. As a result, she has earned more than a dozen literary awards and was a 2008 finalist in the prestigious RWA® Golden Heart contest.
Kaylin is a member of RWA, Rose City Romance Writers, and Willamette Writers. She received her AA in Literature at Highline Community College, which originally sparked her passion for writing. In her free time, she also enjoys giving back to the community through participation and support of various charitable and educational organizations in the Pacific Northwest.