Home > 1L: summer > beating down the wall with my brain

beating down the wall with my brain

May 9, 2006

I’m hitting that writing wall.

Do you know that wall? I think every writer does, although I’m sure we all hit it in different stages of the writing process.

For me, the wall springs up, out of nowhere, right after I’ve really grasped all of the background and started to develop an idea. I go to put pen to paper, get the idea down, articulated, and suddenly my brain crashes. I can’t outline. I can’t organize. I can’t remember what I was going to say. Everything falls apart.

Sometimes, when I hit the wall, I sort of stand there, bemused, and walk away. Then, when I come back some time later, there’s a door in the middle of it. A door I didn’t see before but that now leads me right through the wall to the sea of words beyond it. I love it when that happens. I love it when I have time to let that happen, to let the process be organic and natural.

That is NOT what is happening today. I don’t have time to walk away and wait for the door to appear. So I’ve been doing the other thing I do when I hit the wall: hit back. I have been beating at that wall with my brain all damn day. My brain is bloodied from it. Sadly, all that effort hasn’t yielded anything. There may be a chink in the wall, now, a small vent, perhaps, through which I can see the sea of words. But it’s too small for me to see the WHOLE sea of words. I’m just getting bits and pieces and what I really need now is an OVERVIEW. I need to see the whole expanse.

I’ve never been much of a time-crunch writer. I’ve always needed a little more space. This is a good experience, though–working on a tight, tight deadline. I’m going to go back to beating my brain against the wall. Maybe I can knock a whole brick out.

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Categories: 1L: summer
  1. May 10, 2006 at 8:24 pm

    Yeah, that’s no fun at all. The only thing I’ve found that sometimes helps is when I can talk to somebody about what I want to say. But sometimes that backfires — as though once I’ve let it escape my brain in some format, the idea is gone forever.

    Good luck.

  2. May 10, 2006 at 8:45 pm

    Yeah, that’s the other problem with the wall — no collaboration allowed. No talking. No dishing. No outside research. Just me and the computer.

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