A very wise woman once told me, well, actually she told the whole class, but I was there so she told me too: “Many of you can write better than I do, but you won’t be published because you won’t be persistent enough.”
The last five days have passed in a fog. I caught a bad virus infection late last week, what we used to call a head cold. You know, that muzzy, stuffy, hot, headachy, stupid feeling? I didn't have enough functioning brain cells to write, or read, or even watch TV. And since you don't actually need functioning brain cells to watch TV, I must have been in brain cell deficit most of the time. In any case, Tuesday night at about eleven PM, I felt it break. You know the feeling, when the force of the illness is no longer on top of you; you are on top of it. It wasn't over, by any means, but I could feel it receding. The enemy was in flight.
That's how it feels when I overcome a block in my writing. I don't mean 'Writer's Block,' I'm not sure I actually believe in that. No, it's when I just don't know where to go with a story, and I think back to what that very wise woman said. Persist. That's it. Keep on keepin' on. So I do. I sit down (see 'application' blog) and start somewhere, almost anywhere. It may be another story, or another part of the same story, or maybe I'll flesh out part of an outline or a character sketch. Or go to my favorite writing place and scribble away as best I can. I do something. It may take days for it to 'break,' but eventually it does. And when it does, it is usually a dam burst that has me wondering where all the words are coming from. Where the ideas were all this time. It's as if a whole different world inside my story opens up, one that was there all the time, but I just hadn't seen yet. Like a vision. A vision of persistence.
It's not genius; it's perseverance.
Then I realized it is exactly like that virus. I take vitamin C and zinc, and lots of fluids and that helps, but…but…it is my immune system, persistent, consistent, hacking away at the virus day after day that eventually beats the enemy. And that's how I beat the block; persistent, consistent hacking away at it till it breaks. So here's the moral of the story:
Think like a leukocyte.