Writer’s Block


It is not often that I deal with writer’s block. My problem is frequently the opposite. I want to write this story and that story and this other thing. My reach and my grasp are not friends. I kinda doubt they’re acquainted.

Now, this is different from having good ideas, but I’ve begun to realize that many a passage in a book is merely, “good,” and then there are the funny parts, the highlights. It sounds terrible, but everything is like that. Movies, jokes, there’s a rhythm, a building of energy and then a release. You can’t have a movie that is nothing but explosions for an hour and a half. My husband got tired of the ten minutes of explosions at the end of Superman. And there’s a man with serious action movie endurance.

The truth is, writers slog. They trudge through the non-clever bits, and while they may not seem clever while writing, they are the building blocks that move your material forward in an inexorable wave, to action after action, until the inevitable conclusion. It’s not glamorous. It’s not particularly fun, half the time. But when you build towards those beautiful, dramatic moments, it makes the slog all worth while. And heck, even Neil Gaiman says he can’t remember which bits were hard once the book is published.

However, now that I’ve taken up the blogging mantel, I’m finding myself experiencing the dreaded problem of writer’s block. I don’t have any defenses for it, or ways around it. I’ve written 3 pieces in the last few days (okay, so not really writer’s block) but they all suck. I’ve never felt so badly towards my blogging pieces in my life. It might as well be writer’s block, because I can’t seem to compose thoughts that are worthy of the page.

I guess the best way around writer’s block is through it. No one wants to write a piece that will never see the light of day, but think of it this way – you have to leave something for your heirs to publish after your death, which is when all of your work will achieve its height of fame.

Not to mention,the act of writing generates ideas! For every two lines you delete, there could be one line that is worth keeping. It’s frustrating but as humans, we are all vulnerable to thinking that everything we do should be perfect the first time. It’s simply not feasible, but time after time I find people who get frustrated because they didn’t write a concerto the first time they took a music class. As though that much understanding could be crammed into two hours! The more I practice, the more I learn that the crumpled paper in the wastebasket wasn’t a waste; it was just practice, to make my next writing more better better prose.

My other cure for writer’s block tends to be a glass of red wine. I’m not a better writer after that, I’m simply a more prolific one. Although it does help cure the knee jerk editing reactions I have acquired.

So, stay loose, don’t panic, and write more, not less.