I made a habit of writing down any story ideas, good or bad, to come back to at a later date if I was busy on something else. I wrote everything that came to mind so I wouldn’t lose any of it. (Even that one about the Pepe Le Pew and Marvin the Martian murder mystery. What? You know you’ve had crazy ideas too.)
The Writing Wenches were doing another anthology, and I signed up right away. The theme for this one was a cruise. Should have been easy to write a short romance on a cruise ship, right? Wrong.
I had a general idea for my female main character and my male character. I had an entire backstory. It was brilliant, if I do say so myself. I started writing it, and the words poured out of my fingers. I got to a difficult scene and decided to skip it and work further into the story. I hoped by having the beginning and the ending written, it would help me iron out the middle. The entire story fell flat. No matter what I tried to throw at them, that gap just wouldn’t fill. I tried shark attacks, plane crashes, plague outbreaks, mistaken identities, drownings, and many more I won’t admit to. After agonizing over the story for way too long, I finally caved. I threw in the towel. I was a storytelling failure.
After the summer anthology, I was committed to a Halloween anthology. I already had an idea for that story, but what if this happened again. Maybe I’m not cut out for this writing gig. I started to write what I had jotted down previously, sure that I would hit a wall again. Attempting a new method for me, I plotted my story from the beginning. I used a freewriting style instead of a more structural outline letting my brain go where it wanted to go. The pages filled up in my little notebook. Finally, I had an entire story. Beginning, middle, and end.
What I learned was that I was stifling my creative muse and not seeing when to cut my losses on a story that wouldn’t work. I wasn’t using my creativity, I was abusing it. By freewriting and allowing myself creative freedom, I not only wrote my story, but I came up with other ideas for new stories. It was amazing. Maya Angelou really couldn’t have said it any better.
What about you? Have you ever felt like all of your ideas were gone, and you had nothing to write? What did you do to get past that? I’d love to hear your stories!
Happy Writing~ Jennifer R.