A writer’s inability to produce new work can occur in many forms. Charlie Jane Anders annotates ten variations of writer’s block at iO9:
I am just now emerging from my own variant of writer’s block: converting my backlist of traditionally published novels to ebooks.
I began this reformatting process in April 2011, thinking I’d take a few weeks to scan my print books and upload them to Amazon as digital files before returning to my works-in-progress. Three years later, I have seventeen titles available as ebooks – and zero pages of new fiction!
What I hadn’t anticipated was the compelling and time-consuming nature of revision. As I don’t read my fiction after publication, I confronted novels I hadn’t seen in years and sometimes decades. My craft had evolved in the interim, which transformed me from writer to editor.
Typical changes involved making ‘passive voice’ sentences more active. Here’s an example:
His feet and legs were numb with fatigue and his heart was slamming in his throat. He fixed his eyes on the dark shadows at the head of the stairs and ignored the pain that stabbed him more sharply with each step.
Legs numb with fatigue, heart slamming in his throat, he fixed his eyes on the dark shadows at the head of the stairs and ignored the pain that stabbed him more sharply with each step.
These minor revisions cumulatively enliven the reading experience, and my narratives now flare with brighter energy.
Even though installing these alterations in a score of novels opened a time vortex that spun me across years, I’m pleased. I sense that my motherland of dreams welcomes you now into her renewed geography with freedoms more encompassing – and a joy less passive!