Writer’s block. The nemesis of authors everywhere. *shivers* I have been down that road too many times to count. It’s hard not to when so much of your job takes place inside of your head, and we all know the mentality of a writer can be a wondrous, but fragile thing.
If you are anything like me, you are easily excited about a story, and just as easily filled with doubt about that same story. So much hope. So much fear. And it’s often those fears that will block our inspiration.
What can you do?
Every writer has a different strategy for overcoming writer’s block. Ultimately, part of your own personal journey is figuring out what works for you. But one thing I think we all have in common is a need for positive feedback. And that is why I love doing critiques.
One of the most important parts of my critique service is being a cheerleader for my clients. Many writers who send me their pages are experiencing writer’s block. They feel like their story sucks. They’re ready to give up. Usually it’s a partial critique that they’ll send me (up to 50 pages.) The first pages of a manuscript are critical. You have to nail the intro. It’s a delicate dance between showing the reader the world, introducing them to the main character(s), and getting them hooked on the story line.
Easy, right? OMG. So brutally hard.
But sometimes all you really need is someone else to take a look at it with a keen eye. I always, always start out by telling my clients what I loved about the story so far. And there has never been a time when there wasn’t something I loved, no matter how messy it may have been. Every story comes to me with its own style and tone. Every writer has their individual strengths. It’s my job to point those things out to you, reminding you what a gift you have, and kickstarting your inspiration/imagination again.
The next part of the critique process is telling you what issues I see, and how you might overcome them. I point out any confusing parts and suggest how you might clarify the information. I let you know if there is any “info dumping,” and how you can take that information and sprinkle it throughout those first pages instead. I let you know how your character is coming across to the reader, and how you can get us even further inside their head for the maximum reading experience.
Sometimes all you need to get you out of a writing slump is for someone to believe in you. I will be honest, and I won’t blow smoke up your bum. You can trust that I will point out the good and the bad, and sometimes, yes, the bad outweighs the good. But that doesn’t mean a manuscript cannot be saved. There is always hope. Together, we can figure it out and help you move forward.