I had this problem once before when I was trying to make edits on my first middle grade book, Dude, Where’s My Locker? The manuscript had been in the hands of an editor for a while, and when I tried to make the changes she had suggested, I totally froze. I couldn’t write a word! For some reason, I wasn’t able to get into the character’s voice, couldn’t figure out what he’d do next, couldn’t put him in dangerous situations because I didn’t know how he’d react.
So to break myself out of my writer’s block, I started writing a fake sequel to the book. I knew it wasn’t really going to get published, so I felt free to explore situations and play around with the character’s voice. Usually I wrote short stories, kind of like blog posts, and I was finally able to “hear” my character’s voice again. The title of my fake sequel? Dude, What’s That Smell? I wrote a lot of scenes about the lunchroom. Of course it will never get published…and that’s what made all the difference. It allowed me to warm-up until I was ready to get back to the real deal.
So I may need to take this approach again with The Happiness Project. Which means I need a fake title to my fake sequel. How about…
The Somewhat-Depressed-Sure-Could-Use-A-Reese’s Project
The Frustrated-By-People-Who-Don’t-Use-Blinkers Project
The I-Have-To-Admit-I-Have-A-Crush-On-Anderson-Cooper Project
Any other suggestions?