When it just never comes together
I have been noodling on a story for nigh on a month now. I outlined. I discovery wrote. I rethought the entire premise and changed point of views and IT JUST WON'T WORK. Cue a two-week spiral into writer's block, agony, and self-loathing. The dark times hit me. My writing is shit. I'm shit. I'll never be a decent writer, let alone a good one. Then I did a foolish, foolish thing and paid a visit to my favorite used bookstore. I managed to grab Ender's Game, Ender's Shadow, Tigana, The Gunslinger, A Stranger in a Strange Land, and American Gods for a steal. And now I feel worse. I am not worthy of even tiptoeing around the outside of this Pantheon of writers. Then, last night, I had a revelation. I woke up, blurry eyed, fumbling for my phone in the dark so I can make a note before I forgot. All I did, was simplify my premise way down into the raw elements that I wanted to explore. I decided to reduce the cast to just one person and one magical object (at least initially). This allowed to just say, ok, I can deal with this. I can explore the consequences of this simple premise. This opened the floodgates and allowed me to actually get some decent ideas onto paper. It gave me momentum and hope.
What happened was that I overwhelmed myself. There is a very narrow door through which my thoughts passed through. I allowed so many thoughts try to pass through that I created a bottle-neck and then BAM!, writer's block. So I had to clear. I just had to ditch all my thoughts and clear the jam. I had to say "Alright everyone, single file line, please. No shoving." This freed me from the crushing weight of all these thoughts and the pressure of trying to get all of my brilliant ideas through. I had to cut them loose. Different brilliant ideas will come through. As a new writer, I would say it is more important to have momentum and practice right now. Write a lot. Write a lot. Write a lot. Just write about one character. Just focus on one element. Don't try to do everything in one story or in one draft. It isn't humanly possible to get it all right on the first try. Free yourself from that pressure. Allow yourself space to breath.