I got stuck at the beginning of a chapter earlier today (2 am to be exact ) and I couldn’t for the life of me write something that satisfied me. I didn’t have writer’s block, I was writing but I hated every single word of what I was writing and even if I tried to edit it, I couldn’t change it to something I was happy with.
I tried everything; re-reading the paragraphs leading up to the part I was writing, banging my head on a wall, making notes and lists and outlines, eating a snack, reading the story from the very beginning, banging my head on a wall, listening to music, oh and did I mention banging my head on a wall? By 3 am I was agitated and my head was the size of a melon:
So I tossed my laptop aside, plugged in my earphones and played my music on shuffle and then ladies and gentlemen, I had an epiphany! 3 songs into my playlist I bumped into the song Erase and Rewind by The Cardigans and that’s when it hit me. I was focusing on fixing what was already there and that’s why I kept getting stuck and literally feeling like I was hyperventilating. And The Cardigans (bless their souls) helped me find a solution. All I had to do was ‘Erase’ what I didn’t like and ‘Rewind’ to where the story was going smoothly then work from there! So that’s what I did and by 6 am, I had a whole new chapter written and I loooooooveeeed it plus it was sooooo much better than what I had erased so yaaay to Eraser power!
I realized then that this is something I do a lot, keeping dead-weight of a story and letting it weigh me down instead of completely erasing it when I don’t like it and writing a whole new thing with a fresh mind and fresh ideas that are not trying to force-fit the crap that’s already there. I have actually even gone as far as to remove those parts from the story and paste them into a blank document for keeps (that’s my version of deleted scenes) then start trying to write another version of the stuff I’ve removed but with different words or order but it just ends up the same. In the end I have a tonne of paragraphs with the exact same things that I still hate and I’ve achieved nothing.
It’s scary i’ll admit, to press that backspace button and completely erase those precious (but still much loathed) words and half the time my fingers hover over Ctrl + Z just so I have the assurance that I can always bring back those crappy words, but with time it gets easier and it can actually start to feel good. And now I know when I’m stuck just Erase and Rewind…easy as eating cake!