Write On- Or Not- The Dreaded Block


The art of writing

Writer’s block, what two words put the fear into the heart of any writer besides– No thanks? It is Writer’s Block. I think Writer’s Block needs to be taken down a peg or two. It’s been built up into this dreaded thing that all writers face at some point, and others needlessly waste time worrying about it.

Writer’s Block is nothing more than avoidance. It’s root is deeply embedded in anxiety and that anxiety is very rational. Who cannot worry– my book won’t sell, so why am I spending hours away from my family, away from other things that I could be doing to end up with three hundred odd words, piles of paper, wasted ink, endless rejection slips, and for what? It is a very rational fear. What if I never see success? What if…and the What Ifs dance around in the mind so that when you sit down to write, you stall. You go check the mail, make another cup of coffee, think about the dog’s vet appointment, answer the phone, when what you should be doing is writing. Then of course that also hits you. Here, you are wasting time worrying about not writing when you should be writing. What to do? Give it all up? Surrender to the rational? I think not. Writing is about entering another existence. Writing is also about the enjoyment of creation.

It’s simple. Stop your current life and just surrender to the world of your novel. It’s a magical wondrous gift you possess. Just imagine, you get to create a world that you can live in for hours on end that no one else has ever experienced before.  Meet your characters and watch their lives unfold. It’s time to let everything go in your current life and just start hitting the keys. One key after another.

Are there tricks to breaking writer’s block? I am not sure, other than just showing up in the world of your novel.

But, some writers like to stop when in the flow of writing. I don’t. I just write until my brain dries up. Then the next day, I may read a bit of what I wrote the day before and that somehow manages to get things going if I am stuck. I don’t question the process. It just happens.

Other writers say just start typing about anything. Look around the room and hit the keyboard—

clock… bookcases… desk… wall… lamp… this is a stupid exercise… John wanted to write but the desk clock was missing. When had it disappeared? He frowned wondering who had been in his study and why hadn’t he noticed it before?

Before you know it the next time you look up, you’ve written about John, a murder, a missing clock, and hours have gone by.

Then there is another trick. All the things you are thinking of– I need to wash the car, I need to get some coffee…take a pen and paper and write them down– I will take care of this later. There is something freeing in the brain when you acknowledge thoughts and agree to deal with them. It lets the anxiety relax, and then you can turn to the keyboard and before you know it, the words will flow.

Some writers will find inspiration in reading a novel by another author; ideas generate ideas.

Sometimes it is the amount of work needed in a novel that can create a stalling. It is daunting, and the only way to approach this problem is do the work chapter by chapter and not worry about the entire novel. It will all get done word by word, chapter by chapter until you have typed the end.

But most importantly remember to write for yourself, your pleasure. You can never please everyone out there. You are the creator, the enjoyer of your novel.  Write it, and then when done, then worry about whom you are going to share it with. It’s your free ticket to your very own personal world.  Just get on the ride and explore an entire universe that only you had the vision to produce.

About susan sheldon nolen

It’s rare to catch me without coffee, a form of camera, or my beloved wire fox terriers. I love the history, the art, and it’s a massive part of my life, as I either paint, write, or get interrupted by my dogs, reminding me of the real world. I hope you enjoy your time here. It’s such a privilege to have readers.
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8 Responses to Write On- Or Not- The Dreaded Block

  1. Wait…are you saying that writers should enjoy themselves? Aren’t writers supposed to be deeply tormented souls, consumed by some flame–or better yet by self-inflicted burns–driven to drink or drugs or suicide, hollow-eyed and miserable from a toxic, untreatable combination of genius and self-doubt? I am shocked–shocked, I say!–by the suggestion that Real Writers could simply (oh the ridiculosity of those two words) enjoy themselves. 🙂

  2. crubin says:

    I’ve not encountered writer’s block thus far (though it’s still early in the game for me). I find that even when I don’t think I have a creative bone left in my body, I make myself just sit down, open my WIP, and write. I tell myself it doesn’t matter if it’s crap–I can rework it later. Once I take the pressure off of myself, it’s easy to get going. And sometimes it’s good; sometimes it’s crap. But at least it’s there.

  3. Setting myself up to have people texting and emailing me early in the morning if I don’t put up a post has dealt with writer’s block for me. I have to write something. It may be crap, but it’s something. Even when the well is sheet dust, something comes if I show up. It may not be pretty, but it’s something. And, that, to me, is the essence of dealing with a block.

  4. I love this post Susan! I love writing, but have yet to start on my book (I’ve been ‘planning’ one for centuries now!). When I write my posts, I just write, and usually post the first draft. Sometimes, I’ll move it to one side, and start another and post that instead, and either alter or delete the first one later, depending on how I feel. Sometimes, I write about nothing, and other times I write about what I’ve written about previously – it depends what thought is the greater when my fingers are poised over the keyboard. (Sometimes, my posts are rubbish, but hey!)… and I enjoy it. My brother said he would bore himself to sleep if he started writing, to which I shook my head and internally shuddered.

    I love all of the worlds I visit! 😀

    • Hi Tom, It’s all about, are you enjoying it? If so, just get on with it! I am with you on your brother’s comment! Double shudder! Can’t imagine life without writing! Just can’t!

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