I have four favourite words for every book I write.
Chapter One. The End.
Chapter One is so exciting. There's a story within me bubbling to get out and I can't wait to follow my characters on their journeys. I love writing, that's all. Easy. I know how to write, have got twenty books to my name, so there's no mystery about how to put a story down on paper. Right?
Wrong. My most recent book was excruciating, as though I was undergoing a medical procedure myself and could feel every stitch being applied to a wound. Every single word had to be dragged out of me. And then I'd change them. Nothing made sense. I knew my characters, had their back stories sorted, the conflict, the setting, everything was there ready and waiting to be woven into a story.
But it would not come.
I changed the time I went for my walk in the hope I'd come back inspired - usually happens. I drank less tea and more water. I gave up chocolate. (Sad puppy that I am) That didn't work anyway. I cleared the storage unit in the garage, and tidied out the spare drawers in the guest bedroom. End result - the house is looking good but the story was still waiting to be written.
I forced myself to sit tapping at keys in the hope some good would come. It didn't and I got bored and fed up with the pesky insects buzzing around my office.
Day by long day by annoying day this went on for weeks, page one full, chapter one complete, page twenty five, fifty one, one hundred - yah! until finally, finally page two hundred and nineteen, and those magical words The End. I don't usually put that in but this book definitely needed it.
During these tedious weeks I revised the few words I'd written so many times they should've been perfect but they weren't. I changed my heroine's hair colour, her shorts to trousers, even her nickname. Sounds like procrastination but it wasn't. Something was missing. And that was emotion. As Lovecat Barbara DeLeo put it when I was grizzling at a meeting, if you're expending your emotion somewhere else you haven't got any left to write a story. She'd nailed my problem. Our books are all about emotion, and mine was being directed elsewhere. My husband has been unwell and what with trips to doctors and hospital I really couldn't put my all into writing a story. There was no emotion left for my hero and heroine. And once I understood that I let go the need to write. I'm expecting a lot of revisions from my editor with the book but that's okay. As things improve on the home front I'm getting into a better head space and hopefully will be able rip through the changes required.
What's stopped you in your tracks, and how did you get going again?