Me: Head, meet brick wall. Brick wall, head.
Head: Oh, thanks, but we've met before. Many times.
Brick Wall: Old friends, head and I.
Yep. Here's the thing. You'd think if a person rammed their head into a brick wall over and over, it would be the head that would break -- with deep melonish resonance -- and the wall would stay standing. However, I think it can be proven that in the case of writers, the head can bring down the wall. At least, so it has been for me in the past, so I think it is today, and I hope it continues so in the future. If I just keeping hurling myself at my novel, I will get through it, head intact.
This is all a way of saying, if you're flailing with your writing and you don't think it's possible you'll ever break through your block: flail harder. Flail wilder. Sing while you flail.
My blogging has been taking a backseat to my flailing this week, and the flailing shows signs of paying off. I was having a heck of a time getting through a particular chunk of scenes, but I think I have. I tried a new strategy: index cards. Earth-shaking, I know. I've contemplated trying them before. I've oohed and aahed over the cards pinned to other writers' walls, laying their novel out before their complacent eyes, scene by scene. Pretty, I thought. Perhaps the reason I had not tried it was because I suspected, knowing myself a little, that what I really wanted was to go buy index cards, because let's face it, buying even the most ordinary of office supplies is fun.
And it was kind of fun. They come in colors, and I got some of those, but I got the white ones too, and then I had to come up with a plan of how I was going to use them, and I thought I'd better start at the beginning and I did, and made a card for each scene that I have already written, which was easy, and I got to watch them stack up nicely, and then came the hard part: the new stuff. The stuck stuff. But I did it. I plotted out a new plan for the stuck stuff, just for the pleasure of printing new scenes up at the tops of new index cards, and the ideas fell into place, and I started to get excited.
And here I am now, with a stack of index cards and a tingle of excitement, the kind you get setting out on a journey when a new place is still just words on a map and you know it's all ahead of you.
It's not about the index cards. I know that. It's just another way of hurling myself at the brick wall. Another way of pretending that flailing is really dancing, and that I'm in control.