The Slough of Despond: Every Writer Goes There

William Faulkner's Underwood Universal Portabl...
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Yesterday the story wasn’t working.  I was telling not showing.  The characters were flat with no definition.  There was no action and worse, yet, no conflict.

I immediately went to the place where my writing was terrible; I should take up knitting again, etc.  I stared at the page in dismay for a while and then decided to follow my own advice.

I knew that as long as I was at home I would keep thinking about the story and my failure to move it along.  I went out to the movies.  On the way home, sure enough, a character did something that moved the story along, dialogue sprang into my mind, the protagonist took another step in to conflict.  I raced home to get all this down.

Mainly, I was happy to feel that once again I was writing.

I know every negative thought that comes into a writer’s mind.  When you start hearing that negativity, get out.  Start doing something else.  Trust that the process will work.

Do not mistake this feeling for the so-called writer’s block.  Whatever you call it the best cure for these negative feelings about your writing is to go back to your outline after you have done something else.  Trim a hedge, go for a walk, go to the movies, visit friends, take photographs.  You will find that your story will be back up and running soon.

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