S is for Stove Up
Stove up (from the on-line slang dictionary) - sore, wore out, to have pain or soreness on such a level that one is unable to get up or move from. Condition in which the body feels very sore, stiff, and unmovable.
I currently live in Arkansas and spent the majority of my life in the south, so I’m pretty familiar with this term. The thing is, even though I know what it means and I’ve heard it used plenty of times, I still can only think of one thing when I hear it…constipation. And being that I’m a writer, and I’m writing about writer stuff, can you guess where this metaphor is trying to lead you?
That’s right…writer’s block!
When it comes to my writing, I’ve never had the displeasure of being stove up. However, I have talked to plenty of writers who have experienced the phenomenon and apparently the problem is very common. I should also point out that there is a distinction between being stove up, or blocked, and simply hesitating for a long time before tacking a particularly difficult section of the WIP. I have done that, waiting weeks before I work up the courage to write my way through a scene I find especially challenging. But being truly blocked means the creative juices have run dry and the author cannot see a way to get them flowing again.
I’ve never experienced this so I’m not going to lecture you on how to get things jump-started again, a topic I know very little about. What I can do is tell you what steps I take that help me avoid this trap.
I hate to harp on this, but by outlining pretty much eliminates the chance for becoming blocked. I say pretty much because there have been times where a piece of my outline has been extremely vague and I’ve struggled to imagine how I’ll fill it out. In these rare cases, I will go ahead and write something I consider sub-par just to reach the next section on my outline and then circle back around to it later. This allows my forward progress to go uninterrupted and me more time to think about the stubborn scene.
Odds are I’ll get stove up someday, and when that happens I’ll go in search of a creative laxative! :)
Did you know I was holding a contest during the A-Z Challenge? You can read all about it HERE.