Not that long ago a client and I were fleshing out the opening chapter of her book.
We all know that the drafting stage of writing is a beast, and in line with that, my client was feeling stuck putting her ideas onto paper (or… word processor).
Cue anxiety for her and flashbacks for me.
The blank screen.
The time stretching.
Feeling completely unproductive and discouraged.
So we scrapped what obviously wasn’t working and tried a different approach.
We turned off the computer and decided to TALK IT OUT.
That’s right. The writers stopped writing in favor of TALKING.
I asked her questions about her vision for the chapter. The shape of the story. And beat by beat, how she wanted the characters to maneuver.
And when she answered, we jotted down her responses line by line.
What happened? We were able to finish that chapter and avoid that all too familiar stuck feeling.
As authors, we think we have to go at it alone. To slay our dragons all by ourselves. It’s normal for the protagonist in our stories to get help from their guides and allies but when it comes to real life, we want to do it alone…
Wouldn’t that make for an uninteresting story? Where the main character solves all their problems by themselves? Yeah. Exactly. I wouldn’t want to read that book.
So I’m telling you, you don’t have to go it alone either, especially when you’re feeling stuck.
Here’s the kicker: you don’t need to hire a coach, though if you do, I can always help! That way when you hit the inevitable roadblock I’ll be right here to help you out. Just like my client. Okay, shameless plug over.
Sometimes creativity can be sparked just by changing mediums, from the written word to audio for example.
And you may think, “Imani, I don’t have any writer friends to talk my scenes out with beat by beat.”
But you don’t need writer friends. Honestly, most people will do (at this stage). Everyone intuitively knows how a good story should feel. If they can’t tell you why the beat is off, they can at least tell you where they gained or lost interest, or what they would like to see.
This feedback/dialogue is GOLD!
So here is some homework for you: find just one person you can call up to bounce ideas off of and solve your narrative problems.
Bonus points if you can meet up at the same time every week.
And if you need someone to coach you through it, I can help, too.