Before I get started writing a story or novel, I always have those parts which excite me. You know what I’m talking about. The inspirational part driving the whole thing in the first place. The Spark. The Beautiful Mistress. Maybe it’s a character arc or a climactic scene that changes everything. Maybe it’s a big, surprising reveal in the story. Somewhere along the way you come up with an idea and say, “That’s it! Wouldn’t it be so cool to write that scene?”
Well, you’re 50,000 words into the story and you finally reach the penultimate moment. It’s all come together for this one part. It’s your time to shine. Your time to make it a magical piece of writing.
But, suddenly, you buckle and collapse under the pressure. Writer’s block takes hold. The one part you were waiting to write, your beautiful mistress has metamorphosed into a gargantuan eight-tentacled slug beast with gallons of slime falling off of its gelatinous flesh.
What if you get it wrong? What if it doesn’t sound good? The “What-Ifs” come roaring into your mind like an avalanche and there’s nothing you can do to stop it. Well, it’s better I just not write this at all, you think to yourself. I’d hate myself if I failed at what I set out to do. Yes, it’s better to leave it a fantasy. Leave it as something perfect and golden in the mind’s eye. What a waste if I tarnished it with my horrid writing!
This happens to me a lot, too. It’s a classic writer’s block symptom.
How do you recapture the magic of that scene and not let it overtake you? Here are a couple of suggestions:
Just Write It
Yeah, seems a little too easy, right? But maybe, just maybe, it is. The beauty of writing writers tend to forget about is editing. Writing is not final until you say it is. So, write the scene and make extensive notes, go back later, and edit it until it becomes exactly how you wanted it.
Write Several Variations
Let’s say you wrote out the scene but it doesn’t feel right or how you wanted. Don’t delete it or throw it away. Keep that version. Then, with a clean word processor file, write up a totally different way things could go down. Once that scene is finished. Write as many variations of the scene you can until you feel you’ve written enough. Usually, three or four is good. Afterward, compare and contrast what you like about the scenes and narrow them down until you found the one that is perfect.
Give Yourself Permission to Fail
For perfectionists, this might be almost impossible to conceive. However, it might be necessary. Sometimes the only way to kill the monster is giving yourself permission to fail. In other words, the scene has become too “perfect” in your mind. With it becoming so high up on a pedestal, you feel like it isn’t worth trying to reach it. But try anyway, and be okay with failing. You never know, failure in your mind could mean success in one of your readers. Your reader doesn’t know what was originally in your vision. They could see something else and love it.
At the end of the day, you’re a writer. Writers write. So, the best thing you can do is write it down, maybe in different variations, and give yourself permission to fail. Maybe it’ll be great. Maybe it won’t be. Either way, you write. So keep writing. Something’s bound to click.