Losing and Finding My Groove
The following is a Q & A I do for a column in our local newspaper, the Evening Sun.
Q: Have you ever gotten writer’s block?
A: Yes, once.
For me, writer’s block is not so much the inability to find words to write. The words are always there, swimming around in my head, waiting to be released so they can find their home on the page. No, writer’s block is more a matter of not being able to find the right words for the page. It’s the inability to find that groove that writer’s enjoy when the right words are making up the right sentences forming the right thoughts.
The groove is something only writer’s can accurately describe. It’s like a runner and the high she experiences from those wonderful endorphins. It’s when all the parts are moving as they should and the machine is running smoothly.
Back in 2008 I was diagnosed with colon cancer. During my battle with that monster I put my writing on hold. I didn’t write for over a year. Then came another contract from my publisher and another deadline. I wasn’t sure how it would go . . . cancer is very emotionally exhausting and writing is a very emotional task. As a writer, you vicariously take on the emotions of the characters you create and, vice versa, enable them to take on your emotional blueprint.
Well, it seemed cancer had sucked my emotional bank dry, wiped my emotional slate clean. I started my new book (Darlington Woods, due to release in May) and the words just weren’t there, the characters were flat and emotionless, the story stalled. I couldn’t find my groove.
I started, wrote 7,000 words, scrapped it, started over, wrote 20,000 words, scrapped it, started over. Then I backed off, took a week to regroup, think, pray, find my emotional bearings, and dove in again. This time it took. I found my groove and the words started flowing, the story started writing itself, the characters came alive.
My advice to anyone suffering from writer’s block (or any other kind of block), to anyone who has lost his or her groove? Step back from the task at hand, don’t force it, take the time to let it come naturally. It will. And you’ll be amazed when you’re groove shows up.
How about you? Have you ever lost your groove, in writing or any other area of life? How did you find it again?