What Is Your Stumbling Block?

Well…I survived my vacation in the mountains. 

Hiking was wonderful..(I am officially addicted now).  I also had a great time with my family, sightseeing and hanging out at the cabin, and we spent a fun day in Asheville, North Carolina which is now christened One Of Our Favorite Places Ever.

And then there was the last day..on our way home..when the last thing I expected happened.

I think it started when we stopped in Knoxville, Tennessee. 

From the interstate I saw this:

That photograph doesn’t do it justice, but this one does:
Needless to say, I was in HEAVEN.
Bookstores have always sort of given me a reboot when my brain stops computing a story.  I don’t have to actually read anything…just be in the presence of all those words. 
I know it’s weird.  It’s like I’m capable of some sort of book osmosis.  But I love it.  And I desperately needed it.
From that point on, I haven’t been able to turn my brain off
Even more?  I figured out my way around a major writing stumbling block that had prevented me from moving forward at all.
I can’t begin to tell you how many times people have told me over the last couple of years to just GET THE STORY DOWN ON PAPER. 
God knows I tried.  I’d write when the inspiration wasn’t there…I’d write when I was unsure if the words I typed were of any value at all to the story.  But you just KNOW when something isn’t right.  There is an unsurety that is undeniable.
“Ignore your inner editor,” they would say.  “You can fix things later.” 
And I would sit and wonder why in the heck I couldn’t do that.  Why every single word felt wrong…like there was an integral piece of the puzzle missing and I just couldn’t see it.  But without it…none of the other pieces fit.
Now…in hindsight…I think I couldn’t turn it off because it wasn’t necessarily my internal editor speaking, but an internal-this-isn’t-right-think-harder-detector.
This weekend I finally figured out what was wrong, and I swear to you…it was like seeing sunshine peeking through the clouds after the longest, most abysmal night capable of comprehension.
Granted, I still have a lot of work ahead of me, but at least now I can move forward….and the pace is at blinding speed for now.  And!  For the first time ever..those words of wisdom about just getting it down on paper…and that the fixing comes later…seem doable. 
I had to know where forward was in order to move in that direction.  That was my stumbling block…Not knowing the right path to take.
I can’t tell you how to conquer the stumbling block in front of you. 
All I can say is to keep working…keep trying…try everything you can possibly think of.  Write at night, write outside, write when you’re sad and when you’re on cloud nine.  Read books and think, think, think.  Study blogs and people.  Figure out the path of your story and know your characters like they live inside you.
When you know you have it right, you just know.  Doubt is not present even in an infinetismal amount…an experience I have not felt in my writing until now. 
There will be a little bubble of intense joy in your chest that will, at some point, in the presence of someone who knows your struggle, explode and rush from your lips in a sweet sigh that says…”I am going to do this.” 
It’s so good you’ll want to cry.  I promise.
Have you ever been through this?  Have a stumbling block you can’t get around or maybe one you blasted through?

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