Writer’s Block

“Writer’s block is a condition, primarily associated with writing as a profession, in which an author loses the ability to produce new work.” Wikipedia

I don’t believe in writer’s block.
And up till a couple of weeks ago, I’ve never really experienced a time when I just couldn’t write.
I can always write.
So what is going on? What’s happening to me now? Why aren’t the words coming?

My typical writing life goes like this:

1. Get an idea.
2. Think about it.
3. Start writing.
4. Learn about the character.
5. Work hard, 1,000 new words an hour, an hour or two a day.
6. Enjoy the process. In fact, love it.
7. Get to the beginning of the middle and suddenly feel like I’m walking through mud. Can’t move. I’ve gotten to the hardest part of the novel for me.
8. Slug through. Keep going. Hate most of the middle.
9. See the climax Right. There. Begin the final climb to the climax and know–almost up to the end–the number of pages left.
10. End novel.

I wanted to put a clip of Throw Momma from the Train on here. While I’m looking for that, see what Roger Ebert said about the movie–and my second favorite scene on December 11, 1987

“An early writer’s block scene goes on forever; he’s stuck on the words “The night was. . .” and tries countless combinations (wet, dry, humid) without ever (a) stumbling on the old dependable “It was a dark and stormy night. . .” or (b) finding any business funnier than throwing crumpled sheets of typing paper into the wastebasket.

Blocked writers don’t do that anymore. They work on computers, not typewriters, and when they’re blocked they play computer games like “Leather Goddesses of Phobos.” ”

Here is that clip. It’s actually several parts all going back to the beginning, which I love.

“It’s too damn sultry in here!”

Anyway–something has happened with me and I don’t know what.
I have five different ideas for books (three dark and two lighter). But when I sit to write, my heart–well, it seems gone. I’ve become so stressed out that I think the stress of my life is tapping into my creative parts. I’ve actually been cleaning.
There have been too many hard things going on, and they pull at that part that makes me want to put words on the paper.

But there are people who have answers.


Fine. But not one of those ten feel right for me. None of them are what I’m going through. For example, the NaNo book I started? I’m 150 + pages into it and that feels like a huge flop. I bet I am 50 pages from finishing, and I just don’t want to go on. That’s not on the list. I just don’t want to go on and I think I know how to go on and what to say, but it’s all bad, it feels bad, and my writing energy. . . where is it? I would rather dehydrate 20 pounds of cherries than write my books.

This week I have to make a change. I have to get past this. And I’m going to try and pay attention to what’s going on so I can report here.

Things I could try–
Speaking into a little microphone thing–record my story.
Have one of the girls write what I tell them to write.
Take a vacation (I haven’t had a vacation [where I wasn’t working] in years).
Just write for ten minutes at a time.
Stop watching the news, the Olympics, the Food Network Channel, taking care of my mom, garage saling, cleaning, home schooling, talking on the phone, checking my email and Facebook (which I am sort of sick of right now), thinking, worrying, exercising, missing my dog, hugging my girls, eating, grocery shopping, telling people what to do, wondering about if I have a writer’s group or not, helping other people with their writing, going to church, laundry, reading, studying the scriptures, wishing I could go to lunch, the blog, preparing for class, working on my new website, preparing for next year’s WIFYR etc etc etc.

I’m just not so sure, when in the last few years, writing became so hard. Did it happen when my stories began to pull so much out of my heart? Did it happen when my life started to heave and what I had hoped would be began to change underneath me?

Blech. I don’t know. But I’m going to figure it out. And hopefully I’ll figure things out. But first, the cherries.



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4 responses to “Writer’s Block

  1. Monelle

    Carol, if all you have the energy to do is clean, then clean. (Or dry cherries. Better yet, freeze them, because frozen cherries are delightful in the produce-starved winter months. Better than ice cream, almost.) The muse will come back when she’s ready, and not a moment before (rude and heartless, isn’t she?). But when she comes—of her own free will—she’ll be worth the wait. And you’ll have a clean house and cherries, which are not small accomplishments. 🙂

  2. Rebecca Birkin

    What if you tried writing out the things that are bugging you? It’s worked for me before, even if most of it was stuff I needed to delete quickly. And yes, try the vacation. I have an idea for you, if you’d like. (More later.)

  3. Where did you get all those cherries? Yum. And I’d take a break if I were you. I’m the queen of breaks but I think you really truly need one. Do something fun. Shave your head (ha ha–not really), but do something really fun. For you.

  4. Kyra

    I feel like you need a laptop. and we LEAVE the house where we have constant internet access, and just sit and write. Force the words on the page.


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