I’ve just come out on the other side of a dreadful case of writer’s block. For the longest time, if I actually sat down to write, I would stare at the screen, watching the cursor, waiting for inspiration. The experience was so frustrating, I wouldn’t make time to write again for a while.
It was easy enough to avoid. I have my regular work to do, the stuff I get paid for. Working at home can offer lots of opportunities for distraction if I let it. Then there’s just real life. I am the family administrator by default; I’m the one with more flexibility.
Recently, though, when I sat down to write, I had a revelation. My problem was writers’ block, but it wasn’t due to lack of inspiration. It was due to lack of knowledge. The section of the book I am working on now is the section that requires a lot of experience or information I don’t have.
In this section of the book, Jake is sailing. I don’t know much about sailing a boat. He’s sailing in geographic areas I don’t know. These are things I can’t make up. If I do and I get it wrong, I’ll lose credibility with readers who do know those things. Once that happens, I’ll lose those readers.
So, I’m back at work on research. I’m surfing the web, I’m looking up all sorts of things on Wikipedia, and I’m reading books. I’m reading travel guides and I’m reading memoirs of people who have sailed on adventures similar to Jake’s.
How long does it take to sail from Point A to Point B? What might you see? What could go wrong? Knowing the answers to these questions and more is helping me move my story forward.
I’m working on Section 7 of the book. I haven’t decided if these are chapters, parts, or books, but there are eight altogether. When I am through the eighth, I’ll make another pass through. Then I expect to have a cohesive first draft. I’m pretty sure they say the first draft is the hardest. I hope so.
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