So my friend Susan had another insightful post last week…a post on what really constitutes writer’s block. You can find her post HERE, and it’s really worth the read. It just goes to prove how many different schools of thought there are on writing, the process, and the obstacles.
I will admit that yeah, there are times I just don’t feel like writing, or I let procrastination take me over. Honestly, though, that’s usually do to the fact that I still have to hold a dayjob or two, I still have other commitments, and there are times when I’m just exhausted. And I definitely agree that since writing can be a mental and emotional exercise for people, unless you’re a very formulaic writer, it’s not always going to be an easy process. Even when I have tried to outline a work to pieces, it doesn’t always work. At some point you have to do what’s best for a piece, and if that means putting it away for a while, well…what’s more important? Saying you’ve never had writer’s block, or putting out a story you can be proud of?
Sometimes there just aren’t enough hours in a day. Sometimes I’m just not sure what I want to work on or where I want to go with a piece. And here’s something they never tell you when you first start getting published…you have to do a lot of your own promoting, so that cuts into the writing schedule, as well. Plus, let’s be fair…if you’re not happy or fulfilled as a person, you’re not always going to be turning out good work. I’m not saying you have to discover inner peace, but I do think if something is eating you, it’s going to affect the work. It does for me, at least.
So yeah, I think writer’s block is a real thing, but I also think it’s many things, both tangible and non-tangible. Now, do I think that you can just barrel through it? Not always, no. Do I think you have to tiptoe around it and live in fear of it? Hell, no. I think when something isn’t working for you, you need to stop and take stock. Ask yourself: What’s going on with my life right now? What’s stopping me from finishing this? Is it because I’ve got to take care of something else that’s going on in my life?
If that’s the case…dude, take care of it. If you’re sick, if something’s going on with your family, if you’re not happy with something…take care of it. Address it. No one has to be superman or superwoman. Take stock of yourself, first. Now, if it’s truly something going on with the piece, you can either try to force it or let it sit for a while. That doesn’t mean you’re not working on it…it just means it may take a different approach.
What I think makes things worse is people making writer’s block a huge thing. If you let it be something that can intimidate you, of course it’s going to make it worse and put that much more stress on you…and let’s face it – none of us need any more stress in our lives. Writing should be something that you don’t HAVE to force. It should be something you want to do. It shouldn’t be “well I’ll sit down and hit this point and this and this and this and turn it in and make money.” That’s not how it works. Anything artistic…you’re going to fumble at times. You’re going to have to start over or tweak or revamp. Hell, I have stuff on my hard drive that I’ve been working on for years. There’s nothing wrong with that…I know top-selling authors that have that issue, too. You’re human – that’s nothing to beat yourself up over. That’s the way creativity is. It’s not worth beating yourself up over. All that does is put off your awesome story even more.
2 thoughts on “Writer’s Block: Is it worth freaking out over?”
This is a well thought-out essay, as is the one that inspired it.
Writer’s block is something non-fiction writers face less because their writing is a set of facts or details which must be put into a specific order.
Any fiction writer is pulling almost 100% of their work from within and that is a completely different process. One must listen to one’s self, one must imagine in pictures and sometimes one must get one’s hands on the writing instrument or set up a microphone if dictating,all to get the story to unfold.
Be easy on yourself when writer’s block occurs. Most times, your block is for a very good reason and you’ll look back and be glad you delayed (NOT procrastinated) when that “within” part spills out something incredible that the blocked part could never have come up with.
Couldn’t agree with you more! I’ve been struggling with this issue and I finally started making some headway recently when I started to break my story into smaller chunks instead of allowing myself to be bogged down with the big picture. I suspect I’m going to have a different ending than I originally planned. Sometimes you just have to let your characters have there way.