Over the last couple of weeks I’ve had a horrible writers block. I’ve tried everything from editing my current WIP, to putting it aside for a few days. I tried editing it again, and then reading it without editing. I tried writing something new. I even tried meditation (yes, I was desperate to get my skill back). Nothing worked.
Yesterday evening, when I was rereading my WIP for the millionth time now, a thought jumped to mind. What if I could reread everything I wrote in the beginning?
I started writing in my teens. I wrote soap opera fan fiction and original fiction. And then I stopped for many years, abandoning the hobby that brought me so much joy. I thought that I’d only written a couple of stories, but with rereading everything, it appears I’ve actually written over twenty stories (most of them very short).
So last night, I sat in front of my computer reading. I read horrible stories where one chapter was only 250 words, and the whole story totaled 6,000. I read stories of mystery and intrigue, romance and seduction. Apparently I have written everything from comedy to tragedy, from horror to sweet romance.
I literally got to see my writing transform from all telling to full blown showing. I saw myself grow not only as a writer, but also as a person.
Old relationships flashed through my memory. Friends from the past came to mind. I remembered my school days and summer vacations. The awkward feelings of being a kid and a teenager. I remembered everything, reliving my life through the fiction I wrote.
I’m not a person who relives the past. I don’t sit around thinking of years that have gone by. Instead, I dream about the future. I think about where I will be in another couple of years.
As the past swirled around me, I started to feel sick. My stomach started to turn. Anxiety and panic filled the air. I was a teenager again. I was starting to find myself again. I was insecure again, and writing fiction was my only escape from reality, again.
For the first time in my life I felt nostalgic. I wanted to run to the past and relive those days one last time. But at the same time, I wanted to run into the future and never face my past again. I have a lot of regrets, a lot of things I would do differently if I could. And a lot of things I wouldn’t change for the world.
That brings me back to writing. Back in the days when I used to write, I did it for myself. I wrote whatever jumped to mind. I covered whatever topics I chose to cover. Now when I started writing again in 2010, I did it for the joy of it. I did it for me. It worked as both of the projects I wrote got publishing contracts. However, with my current WIP, I wasn’t writing it for me. I was writing it to sell. I was trying too hard to make it into the perfect novel, with the perfect romance and the perfect characters. It wasn’t bad writing or bad plotting that caused my writing block, it was the soul of the story. This story no longer had it. I will just have to rewrite it from the beginning, letting little pieces of me appear between the pages.
After visiting my past through my writing, I feel like I could write anything, just like I did back then. New story ideas started swirling in my mind, forgotten characters started asking to return.
A few days ago, I thought this writing block would be the end of me. I thought I will never publish anything new if I can’t seem to write anything new. Now, I feel that everything is possible. I feel like I could write whatever I choose too. It’s all thanks to the horrible stories I wrote when I was younger, stories with bad grammar, cliché characters, and over used plots. All of those stories made me into a better writer.