Monday, September 17, 2012

Rattling o'er the bogs

"I cut a stout blackthorn
To banish ghosts and goblins,
In a brand new pair of brogues
I rattled o'er the bogs
and frightened all the dogs
on the rocky road to Dublin."
{"The Rocky Road to Dublin"}

There comes that moment in every writer's current project when you realize you've got yourself stuck in a rut and there is precious little you're able to do about it.

Except write on.

I came to a spot like that in Fly Away Home and am just now getting out of it. It's not that there are gaping plot-holes. It's just that between one major event and the next I was....floundering. The events were not inspiring me. It felt cliche. It felt forced. (And perhaps it was) But the main thing was that I just needed to take a deep breath, make my thousand-word goals, and press forward. I am out of the mire now and liking the view.
That is the important thing: I'm out of the fess-pit that was my un-inspiration and into the fresh air once more. That whole floundering spot will probably have to be re-written. Actually, I'm sure parts of it definitely will not stay till the end. But I can edit them out. The success is that I made it to the next big event and now see my way to where the weak, low spots are. I won't be getting into that morass again because now there is some foothold that I can rebuild or renovate.

Don't give up when you get in those swamplands. You may feel like you'll never get out of the Dead Marshes or that you are a terrible writer and aren't worth an ink-splatter. In actuality, the writer--much like the person on their way through life--is best proved in the muck and mire. If you give up you were write: you will still be a weak, spindly, cellar-grown author. But the real author is the one who navigates the quicksand, pulls himself up with everything he's got, and stumbles on till one day he reaches the track again and sees how far he's come.

Write on and on and on and sooner or later you'll get there.

 It's as easy {and as difficult} as that


Emily Chapman said...

Oh, Rachel, this is so inspiring! Thank you so much for this post. I shouldn't be surprised if I return to it someday! :)

Dakota Densmore said...


DEAD MARSHES!! A lotr reference, unless I'm much mistaken!

and congrats on eating your way out of the Molasses Swamp and gaining ground towards the Candy Castle! :D I'm stuck in a puddle of peanut butter, at the moment. . . . but like you say, if I keep writing, I'll get out eventually! :)

Kendra E. Ardnek said...

Oh, I've been there ... right now I'm working on editing one of those scenes ...

Anonymous said...

Rachel, you are awesome. This post smacked me across the face in the most awful, wonderful way. I needed this wake-up call.

I am going to sit down, I am going to put away my excuses, and I am going to write through the tricky spots in my stories. Then I am going to charge forth and not look back. And I am going to triumph!

(Oh, and by the by, I love you too. That is all. ^.^)

Miss Dashwood said...

Oh, Rachel, I NEEDED this so badly today. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Rachel Heffington said...

Well, I'm glad to have stumbled upon a topic that is so helpful to so many people! You girls are always encouraging me so it tickles me to be able to provide something handy for your minds to clamp onto!