Puking on the Page

SOMETIME’S THERE’S NOTHING quite like a good ol’ puke.

Usually, that feeling creeps up on me when I have a throbbing hangover. The urgent need for a release to purge my insides of the toxic booze from the night before.

Thankfully, those days are few and far between. When it does happen though, it feels like the best remedy to batter through a block. Some blocks, however, are harder to remove than others.

Take writer’s block for example. A term which I don’t necessarily agree with, writers commonly cite it as reason for lulls in their productivity – creative juices sucked dry.

When I’m on a deadline to complete the first draft of a novel, and I feel like the ideas don’t flow…I puke.

Not literally. My laptop wouldn’t last long if it had the Exorcist treatment.

I figuratively puke. SomethingΒ is going on that electronic page. Anything. It won’t be my best work. It may not even be legible, but it will untangle a knot in my mind so that I can latch onto a coherent string of thought and tease it out.

This has worked well for me. Using this method, I have completed (first draft) books in weeks rather than months.

Admittedly, when I go over first drafts of what I’ve written, it’s usually garbage, but, at that stage, the story arc has already played out in my mind in some sort of sequence. The story evolves with multiple edits, sometimes dramatically, but it’s always easier to get a picture of something when you have most of the pieces.

A puke has saved me on many occasions. It’s saved time, energy and plenty of frustration. An extremely successful puke cultivates thought germs on the page which develop and grow between edits – the passage of time helping to form and shape ideas that initially looked silly.

A good puke can save a story from oblivion. A good puke can prevent analysis paralysis. A good puke can be the oil that teases open a lock. Puke can also make a story flow.

Puke can be your friend. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty.


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