Thursday, January 13, 2011

Breaking Free from Mental Writing

I've always been a mental writer. What's that you ask? It's someone who writes in their head, but can't seem to put it on paper.

Mental writing is how I started out. As I have mentioned in previous posts, when I was about ten or so, I started concocting stories in my head. Eventually the stories were sewn together to create a novel, and before I knew it I was losing track of what I had "written."

So I turned to paper. And I wrote...and wrote...and wrote. I have binders filled with notebook paper stories and half finished novels. Of course as the computer age dawned, I turned to word processing and finally to a real computer. But to this day, my inspirations often stay locked in my head. I just can't get them out on paper. It's either finding the time or the gumption to just do it. Lately, it has been the gumption. I have been mentally revising some portions of The Enemy Within. I haven't completely worked out all of the details, so I have been afraid to sit down and start writing. I keep getting these bursts of creative energy and I do nothing with them. Perhaps this is some sort of writer's block or maybe it's just a fear of doing my characters (and their stories) an injustice.

It's sad when I realize how much time I waste doing nothing. Earlier this week I was snow bound and had two days off from work. Did I write? Nope. And now I feel bad because I had the opportunity to accomplish a great deal and I just let it pass me by.

I can see the end of this thing. There are times when I just want to jump in and start querying. But I know it's not time yet. I know how to get to the end, so what's holding me back?

Do you ever feel like there's an invisible something holding you back from your writing? How do you overcome it? I need some inspiration!


  1. Really interesting points, Caroline...I've never thought about the difference between paper and mental writing before, but you're right--it's there. I've noticed that often pieces sound or feel different in my head than they do on paper. Once in a while I feel blocked...but I think it's more block from anything creative when that happens, because I usually feel like watching a movie or reading or doing something else somewhat passive...I indulge in that, feel better, and am able to get back to it :)

    For inspiration...research helps me! I find fascinating historical details and want to write about them. So does taking a walk, or even exercising--lets my mind wander. Good luck!

  2. I have my spurts of inactivity as well. Some days are harder than others. My novel is written, but it is no where complete. I know what I need to do, but it takes time.

    I really enjoy the research aspect. I spent months at the library, reading and learning. I miss that part the most.