Unstoppable Ideas

I’ve never really understood writer’s block. Or, at least not in the middle of a project. Typically my problem is being unable to stop ideas. I seem to have an obsessive-type of focus that comes when I’m really into something.

In graduate school, I was writing a collection of short stories for my master’s thesis. Time was getting short and I was pounding out stories as quickly as humanly possible. I found myself thinking about the story collection almost every waking hour. A trip to the post office would yield an interesting image of a grown man crying as he dropped a letter into the box. A quiet hour at work would yield a question about a woman employed fulltime to dust books in a library. A few minutes in the grocery store would have me thinking about a story involving a deli worker and a woman who complained that the roast beef was never sliced thinly enough. 

There were moments when I struggled concentrating on the stories I was revising, because I had too many new ideas bouncing around my head.

I’m going through a similar experience now. I’m working on two books that really excite me. And it seems that my every waking hour is consumed by these books. One of them requires a bit of travel and I’m constantly thinking “I could go here this weekend, and there that weekend.” It’s at the point of blocking out any other ideas about anything. There aren’t enough hours in the day for me to explore all the ideas that keep popping in my head.

So the point of all this is that if you push through those early, frustrating moments of getting a book started, you shouldn’t fear writer’s block. Push forward in the blind faith that ideas and plot twists will come. Just start writing–anything to put words on the page–because once you get going, the concepts will be there. At least if you’re like me. I struggle in the early stages, but once it gets rolling, I can’t keep the ideas away. Which is both good and bad. But it ain’t boring.

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