When You Hit A Brick Wall... (IWSG)
Posted on June 1, 2022

I remember when I completed my very first novel, way back when, I didn't want to delete a single thing. Not a line, not a scene. It was all too precious. My heart and soul went into weeks and weeks of writing. It's perfect just the way it is.

I laugh when I think about this. How egotistical was I back then. I swore I had written the "great American novel." 


It was rubbish and will never see the light of day. 

Since then, I have learned a thing or two about story writing. I guess these little bits of wisdom come with experience. I can't remember which craft book I had read back then that had a single message that stood out. It read something like, "learn to love to delete."

And I did. I got comfortable with deleting. Well, I save different versions of the story in case I change my mind. That's what revisions are for.  

So if I write something and I get stuck... for a long time... I have learned that this means there is something wrong with what I am writing. The plot (or plot hole), the character, the dialog, something. 

If I come across a point where I feel like I'm staring up at a thousand-mile-high brick wall right in front of me, impossible to scale... 

Think about it for a minute. What would YOU do?

Do you try and scale that impossible wall that your mind has built, maybe even your subconscious in its wise ways to guide you away from a doomed path? Sure, you can try, but maybe after a few times you need to think of other options. 

Should you go around it? Step sideways and take another route? 

How about stepping back and looking at it from a reader's point of view. Maybe you'll realize that it's not even that high. It's a only 10 feet tall - totally scalable with the right gear and training. 

Or how about letting it simmer for a day, read a book or a short story, or watch a movie or an episode of your favorite sitcom. Expose yourself to something with a plot and characters and a story arc, and then come back to the manuscript with fresh eyes and a cleared mind. Sometimes, seeing a story play out from beginning to end triggers something and makes you go, "Aha!".  

But whatever you do, don't just stand there staring up at that wall. No matter how much you glare at it, it's not coming down on it's own.

And never give up. The world needs your art. You have a story to tell, it's in there, you just have to find a way to let it out. 

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This post is part of the Insecure Writer's Support Group blog hop.

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  1. Luckily, I didn't suffer "don't change a word". I wanted to tear it apart under the guidance of smarter people, like flaying myself. That didn't work either!

    1. "Flayling"... that's a good way to put it. You really are on the chopping block when you ask others to opine on your manuscript. You asked for it!

  2. My mistake is I often delete too much and then have to search for it when it turns out I actually needed some of it. :)

    1. That's happen to me. I have since kept loads of revisions when I find myself taking a dramatic turn from what was originally planned.

  3. Funny, when I feel that wall building, I imagine a huge hammer and I strike it down. It helps with the frustration and sometimes I can push forward. hehehe

    Anna from elements of emaginette


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