Friday, May 9, 2014

You Need...

I have to admit, I am not gifted with writer's block very often.

I'm usually overflowing with story ideas, catchy one-liners, and fun little phrases.  But currently, I've been hitting potholes everywhere.  I can still revise my WIP, Polar Opposites--in a way, it's almost mechanical--but I can't write new ideas straight out like I used to.

I honestly don't know why I'm like this.  Is it because I didn't take a very long break in between drafts of Polar Opposites?  Is it because I've been writing for a long time?  Is writing just something I'm going to peter out on eventually?

I've been writing long enough to know that writing isn't just a one-time thing for me: I truly love it, and I'm willing to work at it.  But lately, while revising, my heart has been assaulting my brain with thoughts of, You think you can ever publish a book?  Ha!  Fat chance!  Look how many contests you've failed.  Look how many manuscripts you haven't completed.  Look how bad your writing is.  Your characters are so stereotypical!  Your plot is so messed up!  Your book is way too long!  You need to cut the words!  

You need, you need, you need.

I thought maybe I could solve this problem with reading.  I haven't been reading very much--admittedly, much of my time has been wasted doing pointless stuff like Instagram.  I can will myself to change that aspect of my life, but you either have writer's block, or you don't.  So I thought, Maybe I can lift myself out of this ditch by reading.

I chose The School Story, by Andrew Clements, and although I finished it, I'm feeling even more pathetic.  He writes character-driven novels, so his characters are well-crafted.  Polar Opposites is a plot-driven novel, I believe, but it still made me feel terrible about my writing.  I feel like my characters pale so much in comparison to his, and I'm afraid I'm a hypocrite.  I mean, I rake authors for having stereotypical characters, but I'm afraid that my protagonist is just as stereotypical as the ones I disdain.  

I can still revise...l just can't write.  I came up with an idea to make my MC (Kasie) less stereotypical.  I also toned her attitude down a little bit, but when I stare at the page, all I see is the enlarging word count and everything about her that screams ARCHETYPE! 

It's a frustrating grind.  Is this roadblock you just go through when you're revising instead of writing?  I know this happens to everyone--but when am I going to pop out over the horizon?  When will I get back on my feet?  When will I get back into the writing groove again?

And I guess writing--and everything in life, really--is about pressing on even when you don't feel like it.  If everyone did whatever they felt like, I guess we'd have a fickle world where nobody cared about commitment.  

And I think that's what makes a person a true writer--keeping at it even though you feel like the worst in the world.


P.S.  Ever had a time when you hit writer's block?  What did you do then?  I welcome any comments or suggestions, but please make sure to keep everything edifying to those around you :-)


  1. Oh, I know those feelings. When you feel like you're the worst writer in the world and you were just kidding yourself to think that you could ever be more than just a mere scribbler. Trust me I know. I'm still in the recovery process from one of those 'downs' Unfortunately, the only way I know how to get over writers block is to take a break from your book. But keep you hand in writing, you know, like MMC but just not your book. Ideas will come but sometimes you have worked with your book so much you just get tired of it. Sorry that is my best suggestion. :/


    1. Thanks for the advice, HP! I'll consider it :-)

  2. I suffer from Writer's Block frequently. So much so that I've taken to calling him Darth Writer's Block. Actually, I have an entire post on my blog devoted to fighting him.

    Anyway.... when I have writer's block, I typically follow these steps:

    1) Go back to the original inspiration- whether it was music, a place, a person, a movie... sometimes that helps.

    2) Switch perspective (or location). If the story is being told through the eyes of one person, change the POV and look through someone else's eyes. Believe it or not, this even works in first person stories. I've seen it artfully done in a couple of stories.

    3) Take a break from the story, and work on one of your other stories, if you have any.

    4) If by this step, Writer's Block has spread to all of your stories, you're in a bad place. At this point, the only hope for you is to WRITE ANYWAY. Just push through it, even if your writings sounds terrible to your ears. Eventually the block will go away. :)

    If you're feeling uncertain about the qualities of your characters, let other people read about them and see what they think! Ask for pointers on how to make them better. :D

    1. Thank you so much! I will be sure to try at least some of the pointers on your list :-)