The unfinished manuscript may be one of your earlier attempts at writing; the story you started as a newbie writer. During the writing journey, you became stuck, unable to move the story any further. Maybe you felt that you lacked certain skills to continue with the story. Maybe the story didn’t fit into an easily defined category. You encountered a ‘brick wall’. What stopped you from moving beyond this blockage?
In essence, it’s fear. It’s the fear that, as a writer, you didn’t know how to put into words, that image in your mind’s eye. You knew exactly what you wanted to say but didn’t know how to go about getting it into words. You doubted your ability to write the new material in a way that worked for your story. Think of it in the following way: you were required to up your game; to move to a higher level. But you were unsure how to go about doing that. At that particular time, you doubted your abilities.
When you hit a brick wall in your writing, you have to work through it. Take the plunge, whether you’re ready or not! No matter how scary it is, reach out and just do it. You may never be fully ready but you have to embrace the discomfort and move to the next level. That’s how we grow as writers.
Have you ever wondered about writers who work on a story for many, many years? As the writer reaches the next level, the story evolves and changes. The writer also evolves and changes. The writer isn’t the same person who composed the first draft years before. As the writer grows, he becomes more skilled, making it easier to meet each new challenge, push a bit further and move to the next level.
Keep stepping up your game. Read dozens of books on the craft. Keep slaving away those hours upon hours in front of a computer. Be brave and allow yourself to make mistakes. Quit playing it safe. Keep an open mind. Engage in activities that fuel your imagination. Take some risks in your storytelling. Break through the fear. Write what you’re afraid to write. It might work, it might not. You never know until you try.
You will reach yet another level, where a new challenge awaits. A brand new wall. It will be time to face yet another uncomfortable growth period. Once you find a way to get over this, the cycle repeats...
It’s a new year. Any plans to step up your game?