At some point every writer has to deal with the dreaded Writer's Block. Truthfully, I believe that everyone, writers and non-writers alike, deal with some form of Writer's Block. Think about it as any task or project that you just couldn't figure out where to begin. Likewise, it's the same when you reach a point where you just desperately want to finish, yet can't seem to find that last bit of energy to keep giving the project 110% of your best efforts. That's where I find myself as I'm starting on the sequel to "Of Murder and Monsters." I know where I want to go, the question I found myself asking (while banging my head on my desk) was "where do I start?"
It's hard not to lose faith when this happens. It becomes easier once you realize that inspiration comes in different ways. Sometimes, we get the answer to our Writer's Block problem and don't even realize it until much later. Today, I was struggling with figuring out how to begin the second book. Flashbacks, while effective when used properly, just didn't feel right. Putting together a series of short summations that advanced the plot ahead by a few weeks/months felt like I was just cheating the reader. Something that my wife said to me weeks ago finally struck the right chord that chipped a huge corner off of my Writer's Block. The gist of her comment/advice was simple: just pick up right where the first book ended. Genius! From that simple point, I should be able to get back into the flow of creativity and the words would practically jumped onto the page, right? Not quite.
Distractions can also derail the creative process. All of the creativity in the world won't help if you can't focus your talent/effort. I've tried hammering away on my laptop in the living room while the family watched some age-appropriate chick-flick/school musical movie to little avail. Likewise, writing and wrangling a toddler who's equal parts tom girl and prissy princess tend not to work out well- at least not simultaneously. Trying to write while at work (during a lunch break, of course) is never a good idea for all sorts of reasons. What I've learned is that when it comes to writing you have to be selfish. You have to carve out your own place to write in peace and quiet. I'm still working on getting the wife to agree to soundproofing the home office and putting locks on the inside of the door.
All kidding aside, Writer's Block and distractions are probably the two biggest things that can derail making progress on a manuscript. Neither are fun and both will happen more often than you'd want. It's part of the process and one that just has to be accepted. The key, I've found, is not to give in to discouragement. Sometimes I just have to set the keyboard aside, clear my head and then come back to give it another try. Speaking of which, it's time for me to get back to work on the second book.