I know I’ve talked about writing through depression before, but I’m not sure I’ve talked much about what we’d all consider “writer’s block.” I can’t remember; I know I’ve talked about it somewhere, and it was probably here, but HEY LET’S DO IT AGAIN.
That feeds into what I’m talking about anyway. I can make it work.
I’ve always felt this strange disconnect between the writer I am in November and the writer I am pretty much any other time of the year. I want to be a writer; I say this all the time. I don’t find happiness at this level from anything else in my life. And in November, I can write for long periods of time, on pretty much any topic, and get large quantities of words down.
So why can’t I seem to do that any other time of the year?
For a while I was doing a nice job of not “breaking the chain,” as I’ve talked about in previous blogs, for a while back a month or two ago. I really wanted to keep that up, and my schedule ate me. Moving didn’t help matters, and then the close to a month I spent getting myself settled in here. I’m still trying to find my groove…and the words don’t come. I’ve been getting all kinds of interesting ideas for my stories, and I can see all kinds of scenes for the future…but I can’t get myself to write them. I know, I know. Some people will tell me to just write the scenes I can think of and come back to the rest. I know myself well enough to know that if I skip around, I’ll never come back to those scenes. I’m really bad at writing out of order; it’s once of the reasons I don’t outline things often. If the scenes are all planned out, in my head they’ve already occurred. Why should I write them again?
If anyone was wondering why the edits on REVOLUTION are taking so long, you know why. Re-writing is my absolute downfall.
So what is there to be done? I want to write, I have the ideas to write, and god knows I have more than enough projects to choose from. I say that I write fanfiction to help break the slumps, but now I’m even slumped on my fanfic projects. It’s incredibly irritating. What’s even more so is that when I haven’t worked on something in a while, I’ll go back and read what I’ve written to refresh my memory on the story. Sometimes I’ll mention something three chapters back that I might have forgotten otherwise, and it gives me the jump-off point I need. More often than not, I get sucked into my own story and reach the end, desperate for more. “I like this story! I love these characters! Why isn’t there more of this book? Oh right, because I haven’t written it yet.” And the words still don’t come.
I don’t know if this is something more specific to me, or if this is something writers face all the time. It’s incredibly frustrating to want so badly to write something…and then be unable to actually write. I know so much that’s going to happen in KARANTIRI. I know what needs to be changed in REVOLUTION, for the most part. I have all kinds of ideas for RECORD. And yet the documents sit in front of me, silent, and I come up with more ideas for projects which I haven’t opened yet.
Maybe the trick is to have every project open at once. Then my brain will have to choose something.
Fellow writers out there: is this something you’ve run into? Would you consider this writer’s block, or not? I usually think of writer’s block as when I can’t think of anything to write, rather than not being capable of getting the words on the page. Who knows. I’d love to hear your input, and know what you do to get out of the funk. I want to work on my stories!
My poor characters. So neglected. (At least I got a little writing done yesterday?)
3 thoughts on “When the Words Won’t Come”
I would be lying throught my teeth if I said I wasn’t in this exact spot with my writing from November. I am so stuck that I’ve pretty well just set it aside for now (until someone else can look at it and suggest where to go with it or a viable way to connect the scenes).
As for me, writer’s block has always been a feeling of wanting to write, and even knowing what I want to write, but not being able to figure out how to write it. To me, it’s more frustrating than not having any ideas at all.
What I’ve done lately is to draw a still image from a scene in my head, so that I can look back later and say “Oh, yeah, this is where MC meets the guy with the magic left shoelace,” or some other seemingly innocuous detail that will spark my memory to write. BTW, I am really not that good at drawing.
Keeping writing going the rest of the year is difficult. During Nano I let things slip (housework, sleep…) to make time for writing, whereas the rest of the year (even the few times I’ve attempted CampNano to re-motivate myself) it’s difficult to fit writing into my day-to-day schedule, let alone when the inevitable other things crop up.
Yes, I’d call that writer’s block. I find it’s the work that’s most precious to me that’s most difficult to write/ rewrite. I am so invested in the fantastic story I imagine writing, that I’m afraid to actually write the horridly imperfect 1st draft that’s needed to get to any final stage. It can be good to write something you’re less tied to-whether that be a journal entry, book review or short story, but I still find I’m still putting off editing the novel which first sparked the idea, or writing the series of stories that follow from it.
You’ve described how I get when I try to write. I’m glad to read someone else gets as frustrated about not being able to complete things as me!