This lament came to me over the weekend from an author I’d met at a conference. There has been plenty discussion on blogs and writer’s boards over the legitimacy of writer’s block -whether it’s a figment of a writer’s imagination, ergo laziness, or a real result of the synapses refusing to play nicely with one another.
I call it vapor lock. According to Wikipedia, vapor lock occurs when the liquid fuel changes state from liquid to gas while still in the fuel delivery system. Yup, that about sums it up for me. Our liquid fuel (ideas) must go from our central computer’s delivery system (brain) to real words on paper. But somewhere along the way, the liquid fuel turns to gas while still locked in the central computer’s delivery system, and those thoughts fail to hit the paper. Vapor lock.
I can’t say I’ve ever experienced vapor lock, but I’m not so big an ass as to think it doesn’t exist. Just because I’ve never seen the wind doesn’t mean I don’t feel its effects. A vapor-locked author is no less real. It’s how an author deals with their vapor lock that separates the Twinkie from the cream – or the salt from the margarita.
Do they gut it out and write through the lock? Do they work on another scene? Do they act the scene out, like in a movie, in order to make the scene more real? Do they write a short story in another genre? Do they play on the freeway, or dance on the bar counter singing “I’m a Little Teacup”?
When I asked the author, she gave me a strange look. “I drink when I get stuck.”
Yikes, I hope she has a good liver and kidney donor.
So short of doing damage to your innards, how do authors deal with vapor lock? Anyone? Anyone?