I'm feeling uplifted this week. It's not just the exceptionally fine weather which has sprung unexpectedly from the depths of a wintery deluge, although that doesn't hurt. No, I've had something of a breakthrough in my thought processes. For months my current WIP has been languishing in limbo, resisting all attempts to kick it into a shape fit for consumption. My creativity has been stymied by indecision. In the last month I dragged it out of mothballs and forced myself to rearrange the scenes. This helped get me involved with it again but still the same doubts lingered. I know the story and don't want to change the plot significantly, but the structure wasn't right and I couldn't see how best to fix it.
As I mentioned last week I've been revisiting my old friend Dwight Swain, and his chapter on Beginnings, Middles and Ends pinged something in my recesses of my brain. Thus inspired I have set to work on the editing - hopefully the final attempt, if this one doesn't crack it I will shelve this project for good and chalk it up to experience. So now I'm feeling purposeful. It's a bit like realising where you are when you've got lost. I have a plan of progress to work to and it feels great.
Because I like to write. When I don't write, because I'm stuck, I get anxious. But sometimes it takes a prompt from somewhere unexpected to help get back on track. That, for me, is the best use of How To Write books. The good ones will fire your imagination and help negotiate tricky problems.