I've been wondering lately what it would be like to write on a deadline. Probably the biggest reason why I've wondered is because I've done very little writing in the last few weeks. Oh, I got a little research in. Sat down and looked up a few things on the internet. But every time I opened my manuscript I'd look at it and think, "hmm, I really need to figure out where this story is going." I'd stare at the screen for a moment, maybe read over some of what I'd already written and make some grammatical changes, and then turn off the computer. There was just nothing coming to me.
So what have I done to correct this problem? Well, first I pondered what I'd do if I had to write. If there was an editor or agent out there waiting for my next 50 pages. Then, I thanked my lucky stars that I didn't have the pressure of somebody waiting for my next fifty pages. Then, I reminded myself how stupid I was to be grateful not to have an agent or editor.
After playing this mental tennis match for a while, I decided I needed some inspiration. I'm fairly new to the whole mental block thing, so I didn't really know where to go. But I did know what brought me enjoyment, and what made me want to be a writer in the first place.
So I've been reading and reading and reading. And not just books from my genre. I've read books about eating (and not eating), scriptures, romances,YA fiction, children's fiction. Anything I could find that would grease the cogs of my mind. And it worked...mostly. It definitely got me inspired to write, but I was still stuck on my story. I just couldn't figure out where it was going.
Then, quite by accident, I found my inspiration. At a recent family reunion in the mountains a family member asked me about my manuscript as we drove a 1/2 hour to the grocery store (she should have known better than to ask me while I had her captive in a car for half an hour). I told her all of it. What I'd written so far, what I was struggling with, how I wanted the story to end.
I was amazed at how useful it was to brainstorm with somebody else. Of course, she told me she was not creative in that way and that she was the last person to ask. But still she gave me ideas and listened as I shared mine.
And (let choirs of angels sing), I came up with the rest of my story.
I am always amazed at how creative and intuitive people are who claim they are not. I also wonder how on earth people write who don't have an army of family members who are graciously willing to take part in the process.