Every now and again writers hit what seems to be a brick wall and can't find a way to get passed it. Even the best of them run out of ideas and are stymied by their inability to move forward. My first children's chapter book flowed onto paper like a swollen creek after the Spring rains. The story literally wrote itself.
But now that I'm working on the second one of the series, things aren't going as smoothly. I outlined my thoughts and, in the beginning, writing chapters one and two came off without a hitch. But then I experienced a conflict with my outline and took another road. That seemed to resolve the slow-down for the moment. Then, lo and behold, it happened again when I tried to start chapter five.
I call this start and stop issue, "sputtering." To see if this was a phenomenon particular to myself, I contacted my good friend, Mimi Barbour, a gifted author of Romance novels. She assured me that every writer sputters from time to time and not to worry.
But Mimi's advise didn't end there. She encouraged me to talk about the story with other writers and family. She said that doing so would yield a plethora of ideas that could be used immediately and even have a few left over for future projects.
Mimi also suggested that by working backwards from the end of the story oftentimes facilitates the writing and identifies paths that otherwise might not have emerged.
Lastly, Mimi offered to help by asking for a synopsis of my book to-date. She's willing to read it and tax her brain for possible suggestions that might lead to a happy conclusion.
Writers like Mimi are a rare breed. They are hardworking, creative individuals who love to tell stories for the pleasure and education of others. But they are just as giving when it comes to helping new authors get going in the business and are their biggest supporters.
Last Friday I was approached by a nana who told me of her nine-year-old daughter's love for writing. She asked if I could spare some time to look at the child's work and offer any advise regarding her budding talent. I read Amanda's stories and told the girl that the best way to become a good author was to write constantly. I also pointed her in the direction of IlluStory A+ found online or in bookstores that would allow her to complete a book from beginning to end resulting in a hardcover edition. Seeing her efforts materialized in that manner would be a great confidence builder. Finally I gave her one of my children's books to solidify a writer-to-writer connection.
Professionals like Mimi Barbour make me proud to be a writer. My hope is that I will reach her status someday and that I will continue to reach out to others that share our passion for the printed word.