Somewhere in nearly nine years(!) of blog postings I’ve probably talked about this before, but it bears repeating for any of you aspiring scribes out there.

There will come a time when even when you know exactly what you want to happen next, you will figuratively hit a wall on how to express that properly in the story. Even if you have it all outlined — hell, even sometimes when you’ve got a draft, you’ll suddenly be seized with the surety that not only is what you currently have inadequate, you’re not up to the task of making it right. Your brain becomes a whirl of all sorts of thoughts but they’re mostly anxieties and recriminations that aren’t doing anything but make you feel terrible.

And it’s at this point I force myself to walk away.

Now, this won’t work for everyone, and certainly won’t work in every situation. If you’re up against a deadline, having a nap or taking a stroll may not be an option… but then again, although I love procrastination as much as the next Joe or Jane, this is why I tend to leave time available to procrastinate. That may sound very strange to read, and yet it’s the truth: I like to tackle the current writing project at least a day or two beforehand, just in case I get clobbered with a heavy helping of writer’s block. I don’t mean just thinking about it but actually getting the words down and the panels visualized so that if something isn’t working there’s some leeway to do other than become a frazzled mess forcing myself to stare at uncooperatively blank pages. Animals evolved their fight-or-flight response as a means of self-preservation, but when you stress yourself to that level it’s no good for thinking.

That’s my experience, at least. It’s like when I’m looking for my keys (again), cursing myself for losing track of them, cursing the universe for being so big and key-swallowing, or just plain cursing as I rove back and forth through our tiny (and yet somehow insurmountably vast) apartment getting more and more upset. And then I collapse on the couch in miserable defeat, slumped and stumped… and a few minutes later as my brain quiets, a gentle thought rings through of somewhere I’ve missed, and lo and behold when I get up and follow that thought the keys are found.

Thus it is with writing, sometimes:

GrrArghHateSelfHateWorldImposterSyndromeYouSuckEverythingSucksThereIsNoWayToMakeThisWorkJustChuckItAll…

And then I make myself stop. Play a videogame. Watch a show. Do that horrid thing you’re never supposed to do and chill out for awhile on Social Media. Maybe even the biggest extreme where I just shelve it all for the night and go to bed, for tomorrow is another day. Epiphanies can come at the oddest of times, but for me they definitely like to arrive after a decent sleep when I come back to that page I was having trouble with and the answer is just right there, just waiting for me to fit it into place as if there was never any trouble at all.

Oftentimes as a writer it’s good to let others take a look for a fresh perspective. But sometimes, the fresh perspective you’re looking for is your own. You just need to let it be heard.