I sometimes write in circles. No, not literally. I sometimes circle back around to something I wrote ages ago (I have this box that is all hand-written stuff from high school. It’s a little gross actually…). The worst part: when I didn’t finish the story.
This isn’t uncommon (I know- “bad writer”!). I know I have problems of writing myself into plot-corners (or alleys or downright basements that I don’t even know where the road needs to be). While I’m wrestling with the plot, I wander off and work on other projects. Sometimes I have ideas floating around the back of my brain for weeks and something will spark and I’ll have a true “eureka!” moment. Sometimes it slips so far down the list it’s only months (or years) later when I “discover” the lost treasure I had written off as terrible.
I re-read. Cringing at bad description. Inevitable fixing small spelling or grammar mistakes. I remember the characters. I remember my plans. And then I hit the wall.
That last line. Blank paper.
This is worse that the blank page before I start something new. That blank space where I stopped. Oh, my brain has dredged up the file and I know where I wanted to go. I know who the villain will be (usually). I know I’m at A and need to get to E. Sometimes re-reading makes me reevaluate plot/villain/setting and I can fix it and move forward. I have several novels that have 3-4 versions and there are huge chunks of copy-paste. I got further in version 2. Then I had to go back and totally re-write setting for version 3, but those conversations were MUCH better… Each re-read (and version) gets better. I still get stuck, wander off…
The worst is when I’m immediately back in the basement wondering how the hell I get the story back on the road and moving forward. And I’m pissed.
I write for myself. Pure and simple, I’ve always said “I write the story I want to read.” and frankly, that’s why this is such a horrible thing for me. I wrote something I am enjoying and it just stops. Worst. cliff. hanger. ever.