Dead Ends and Blank Signs

Still on Chapter 7. I know what you’re wondering: “Are you blocked?”

No, actually I’m not. I know I can push through this particular Chapter and plow ahead, but there is something that I need to get out in this Chapter and refine before I can move forward and be okay with it.

What that is, though, I don’t know. It’s missing something, a piece of the puzzle. I’ve  been solving it little by little, but it’s an incredibly excruciating and slow process. I’ve reached a Dead End. It’s like I reached a Blank Sign that is supposed to tell me which way to go from here, but the words have faded away from the surface.

I would go to a different Ch. but the thing is, nothing is telling me to do that. I’m just being asked to say here, wait a while I guess, until it comes. Until the light hits just right, and I can finally read what is on the Blank Sign, and know where I am to go from here.

Is it coincidence that my life seems it has landed at a similar juncture? I think not.

A Dead End. Nothing telling me to make a drastic move forward, skip a step–no, I’m just being asked to stay. Wait it out. Just a Blank Sign ahead. Nothing to tell me where to go next. I keep on trying to decipher the writing on the wall, but I have no legend, nothing to give me a clue as to what it all means.

Staring at a brick wall with faded graffiti. I’m anxious. Uncertain. Restless. Exhausted.

Tired of trying to figure it all out, of trying to find a way. Is pushing the right answer? How about pulling? Tugging? Maybe, letting it stay?

I sit down, wrap my arms around my knees, stare up at the wall, wondering what’s on the other side of my story–what’s on the other side of me.

I trace the mysterious writing with my finger, I try to mouth it, make it make sense. It doesn’t. I wait. I sit. Trying to find the answer. Nothing comes.

I rest at the Dead End. I stare at The Blank Sign. Realizing:  this is just part of the process.

Sometimes, you just have to wait.

much love,


To follow the Courage 2 Create and find out what happens to Ollin and his novel, you can subscribe by inserting your e-mail into the subscription box in the top right corner of the sidebar! Subscription is completely free! Thank you for subscribing!

Like Courage 2 Create’s Fan Page.

Follow Ollin On Twitter.

Friend Ollin On Facebook.


25 comments on “Dead Ends and Blank Signs

  1. Agatha82 says:

    Ah! Let me tell you about this, I have been through it MANY times. Actually, I had a similar thing happen to me in the past few days though my apparent dead end, had to do with adding a missing ingredient to my novel, adding whatever was going to make readers want to read it. The thing was, no matter how hard I wracked my brain, it was NOT coming. Meanwhile, I was growing more and more frustrated and starting to lose all hope. Then, a conversation with my best friend did the trick because she got me looking at my story in a different way. Could it be that what you feel is missing, is already there? Could it be in a previous chapter? Is it that maybe, you need a new character to fulfil a role that’s required or an unexpected event that will get the ball rolling? I suggest looking at what you have done so far, and see if there is anything there that helps you.

    Best of luck and yes, it is part of the process but it sure feels awful when it’s happening!

    • It’s refreshing to know that I’m not the only one who reaches dead ends sometimes. Maybe you are right, maybe I do need to read the whole thing from the beginning and see if that helps me figure out the next step. Thank you for the helpful advice!

  2. This. Is. The. Worst. I hate waiting. For example, a great majority of my work dayinvolves me waiting for people to call me back. Which MAKES ME SO MAD! But as you say, with writing and with life, sometimes you just have to wait

  3. Maybe you can divert yourself with some other writing (like this post). If you are waiting for a bus and don’t know when it would come, you might as well keep yourself entertained while you wait.

    Stop focusing on the wait.

    You could try reading (maybe the first 6 chapters). or take a short ride to the country side. Travelling and beautiful places always help.

    • That’s great advice! Thanks Keshav. I think I will try focusing on a short story I am writing for now, and then when I head back re-read the first 6 chapters as you suggest.

      A ride to the countryside sounds peaceful, and maybe just what the doctor ordered! 🙂

      • Try the ride on a motorbike 🙂

        Thanks for visiting my blog. I’m flattered that you think of me as a poet. In fact, the blog was never meant to be a poetry blog (there is also other stuff). Writing poetry came me to me much easier and so I wrote.

        Makes me think of writing a post about “why I write poetry”

  4. Lua says:

    I think you’re very brave Ollin. I’ve seen people ( and I’m afraid this includs me- but now I know better) so afraid of ‘not going anywhere’ that they fail to see they have to stop, take a deep breath and just wait until the right time comes to make a move. So they make a wrong move and that’s where the real trouble begins.
    There is nothing wrong with hitting a dead end, your brain is not a machine, sometimes it needs a little ‘still time’. And you’re really brave to notice it and not going against it.

    • Thank you Lua. You know, now that you’ve shown me that different perspective, I think that makes a whole lot of sense. If i didn’t wait, then I could make a wrong move and yes, that might just make things worse. I guess that makes me feel less bad that I’ve hit a dead end. Your wonderful comment is much appreciated!

  5. unabridgedgirl says:

    It will come to you, I am sure! The same thing happens to me all the time. You are an inspritation, Ollin!

  6. junebugger says:

    Urgh. It seems you and I are at a similar rut. A dead end. I’m on chapter 13 but am stuck because I have no idea how the rest of the story should go. I feel like some crucial element is missing to the plot. I think the best I can do, as you suggested, is to wait…

    • Totally! It’s so frustrating right? Especially since you want to be productive, and you know you can be, but something tells you you have to wait. Well, here’s hoping we reach the other side of that dead end soon. At least I am glad I am not alone, and I have a blogger friend who is at that dead end with me. 🙂

  7. Sometimes the best thing we can do is wait, relax, and just let it come when it does. Usually magic can happen then!

  8. milkfever says:

    This is very exciting, Ollin. On the other side of the waiting will be a gem. I’ve experienced it a few times before, and although the dead end can feel like torture, if you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll discover another path, one you didn’t see previously.
    Give yourself a pat on the back for honouring that desire to sit and wait. You will be rewarded.

    • Thank you. That makes me feel a whole lot better! Especially knowing that it IS part of the process. I guess it’s easy to feel like a not so great writer when you hit a dead end. But with the help of my writing friends I’m starting to see that maybe waiting is actual part of what makes me a good writer. Who would have thought! I appreciate the warm encouragement. 🙂

  9. citiesofthemind says:

    Been there, camped there, set up residency. If you figure out an answer, feel free to share it. Good luck!

  10. Maybe it’s not a Dead End, but a Stop Sign? Stop carefully, look in all directions to see if anything is coming then move forward.
    Or, you could take it as a rest.
    Good luck to you!

  11. […] blogs, among them The Unabridged Girl, Of Parchment and Inks,  Bowl of Oranges, and Ollin over at {Courage2Create} (until recently) who have been dedicating their posts to the challenges and frustrations of […]

  12. […] 7 of my novel for the longest time. I was embarrassed to admit on this blog that I had reached a Dead End. It’s not that I didn’t know where to go next, or that I was trying to avoid writing […]

  13. […] and moments where I wanted to give up completely. Then there were those dark moments when I hit a dead end or felt like an absolute failure. So a guy should be able to catch a break once in a while, […]

  14. […] 7 of my novel for the longest time. I was embarrassed to admit on this blog that I had reached a Dead End. It’s not that I didn’t know where to go next, or that I was trying to avoid writing […]

Comments are closed.