So I just overcame this weird revision block that had been afflicting me since I finished my novel. Generally, I don’t believe in writer’s block – I think that you’re having trouble writing something, either you haven’t thought it through enough, or your subconscious is telling you that it’s not a good idea, or (most likely) you’re simply afraid that it’s not going to be good. Usually I’m able to recognize the insane ravings of my inner editor and push past them.
Not so this time. Remember how I mentioned that I was pretty pleased when my story was pretty decent right out of the gate? Remember how I said that I still needed to tune it up a little bit? Well, what happened (as near as I can tell) was that I could think of about a hundred little things that needed to be changed, but no glaring flaws that needed to be addressed right away. “This is a new thing,” says I, “so where to start?”
Well, what I started with was scrolling up and down the story a bunch of times. I marked all of the adverbs for later review and removal. I made a few notes of things that needed to be foreshadowed. And then I just stopped. I knew all these things that needed to be done, but I could not bring myself to do any of them.
It was weird! It was like I’d suppressed my inner editor so long that he had become atrophied and weak.
So I did what I always do: I grabbed myself by the throat, slammed myself against the wall, and growled, “You need to pick something and change it. Don’t think. Just type!” Then, as I slumped to the floor, I knew that I would kill me if I didn’t just do some revising. So I did – after 30 minutes of hand-wringing I finally changed the setting of the first scene of the story.
And then, suddenly, that impassable barrier just melted away, and I was able to get fully a third of the story edited this morning before work. It just happened.
So, I guess the moral of the story is that sometimes you do need that inner critic to start talking again, and you need to make yourself listen to him, and then you need to act on what he says, no matter how much you’ve trained yourself not to.
Also, on an unrelated note, this story still has no title.