Monday, November 15, 2010

The Wall

The brick wall (free wallpaper)photo © 2008 | more info (via: Wylio)

At some point in every manuscript, I hit a wall. A big, honkin', immense, Jericho-Great Wall of China wall.

And I've hit it now.

What happens when I hit this wall? Doubts encroach.

"This is tripe. Why did you ever think you could write a novel?"

"There's so much to fix here. You'll never be able to polish this pig's ear into a silk purse."

So, what to do about it?

1. Plow. Keep putting words on the page.

2. Trust. Trust the story. I've plotted extensively, the story holds together in the outline, and if I stay true to the original vision, it will come out all right in the end.

3. Relax. Every story needs edits, and I have factored in time to edit....extensively if long as I keep putting words to the ms at the current rate.

4. Reflect. Remember that I've done this many times before. The "this stinks" stage happens with each story, and each time, as long as I keep working, things turn around.

5. Pray. God's got it all under control. He will give me the strength to finish the work.

Question for you ever hit a wall in your work? Do you wonder how it will come together?

How do you work through it?


  1. I'm almost 20,o00 words into my NaNo piece and I keep thinking the same thing as you...Drivel!!!! Nothing but stinky words on the page.

    Maybe I should have plotted it in more detail, but oh well...I keep putting the words on the page.

  2. I tweetted this. Great stuff, Erica! I ALWAYS hit a wall. Right now, I'm just waiting to jump into a story. I've decided I do not do well not having a story to work on. Makes me feel all weird inside.

  3. Wall? Wall, you ask? I think mine is called "Saturday afternoon." Yeah, it's a wall, 'cuz in the words of the old preacher, it's "Saturday night and Sunday's comin'!" Yikes.

  4. Yes.

    I blow my horn and walk around the MS seven times. ;)

    No, one thing I've found helps is I go back and read a random chapter. Usually it helps me to see it's not as bad as I was imagining. Usually. :D
    ~ Wendy

  5. Yes. Those walls are terribly difficult to climb over. I love your suggestions and reminders to pray and trust in God's plan.

  6. LOL--I wasn't aware there were times when the wall wasn't in front of my face! Is the wall not supposed to be there all the time? =P

    Get past it today, my friend :D

  7. Oh, yes! That wall looms large at some point in every story. But, like the Berlin wall, I remember that it can be taken down if I'm persistent. I remind myself that the doubts are normal and revisions will help. I know, too, that distance will change my perspective, so I persevere to the end and then put the ms away for a few weeks. And I pray... a lot. God has guided me a long way in this journey so I doubt He's going to let me down now.

    I think doubt is common to most writers, so sharing our concerns and offering encouragement to each other helps, too. For someone like you who is successfully published, I would think looking at your display of book covers would also be uplifting. You know: "I've done it before and I can do it again." :)

  8. Smash it down, girl!! You can do it! I'll grab a hammer and help you. I'm always good for a good old smashing party!!

  9. At times like these I've let my characters off the leash and have always been pleasantly surprised how they manage to execute the rest of the story with grace.

  10. Been there, done that.
    LOVED Cathy's and T. Anne's and Wendy's suggestions, among others.

    Have one more. Call on those soulmate writer friends.

    My favorites?
    Sara and Cammie.

    They come through. Every time.
    As does my Muse.
    That Holy Spirit does wonders for walls.