I thought this hello-I’m-online-again-finally post would be something about the Internet and how I’d always thought that having constant access to the Web was an obstacle to writing. After all, almost every writer knows the mixed blessing/curse of such easy (fun!) access to, well, everything . . .
And I thought you’d all be surprised that when I found myself without access for three weeks, rather than write up a storm, finish eight projects, and win a Pulitzer (Yes, I seriously thought the World Wide Web was that much of a holder-backer!), I didn’t even open my novel. I wrote nothing new in it or for it. Not a word.
I can hear your disbelieving, shocked, “Whaaaaaaat?” from here. And I know. It’s absolutely bizarre. I tried to explain the strange result. I thought maybe it was because the draw of expected e-mails, the intrigue and interest of new blog posts, the fun of forums lured me to my computer and then, once I was done procrastinating, I felt compelled to write since I was on my computer anyway. And maybe there’s something in that.
But, as I’ve had my Internet back for almost a week and no new words in my novel have poured forth, despite being at my computer often and regardless of the fact that I have a lot of ideas churning for my story, I had to wonder if maybe it was something else keeping me from my story.
Then two nights ago I was getting dressed in my bedroom and I heard an animated, filled-with-laughter discussion between some family members and my husband out in our driveway. When I came out to say “Hi,” however, there was no one there. Just my husband. In the living room. In his chair. I still don’t know who I heard; it was very weird! And just like one of those old fashioned locks where pressing just the right spot triggers all kinds of sprockets to sproing and gears to engage, I knew what was wrong, why I hadn’t written!
In every novel I’ve written, I’ve come to place where I hit a wall. Where my write-by-the-seat-of-my-pants, no outline, no plan, style absolutely fails me. Where I’m sure that’s it, the book is dead, there’s not enough story to continue with . . . Unfortunately, though it’s obviously part of my writing-system, the wall always reveals itself differently. I never see it coming until I crash into it.
And this time the wall was its most subtle yet, just a series of quiet, unsettling questions that wouldn’t answer themselves and general angst that wouldn’t articulate itself . . .
That strange overhead conversation and laughter that I still have no idea about where it came from was the answer, however. I know what my book was missing and where exactly it’s going now. It does call for a rewrite right away, but I’m okay with that. I used to believe in writing the whole first draft, no stops. Now I often stop when I realize something’s not quite right and go back and fix it immediately.
Tomorrow I will commence a read through with notes, then the rewriting, then a 1-3 line plan for each chapter until the end. I’d be glum that it looks like I won’t hit my goal of having this book at third draft by October 21st, but I’m too happy: the Internet has been found innocent and my book is back on track. The wall wasn’t impenetrable. It ended up having a lovely huge arched doorway with a gothic-styled gate and a key just for me hanging on a velvet cord.