Monday, August 1, 2011

Not writing? A post about writers' block (but not as you know it)

Don't worry, this isn't going to be one of those hardline posts declaring there are no excuses for not writing, that if you aren't writing then clearly you don't want it enough. You know the kind of thing "Well, I completed edits to my best selling novel whilst giving birth and navigating my way through the Sahara..."
Okay that's a little extreme but in reality not too far removed from some posts I've read. For mere mortals though there are going to be times when not inconsequential matters like ill health or family demands impact your writing. And unless you're happy to traumatise your kids by shutting them in a cupboard all day, well it's something you need to try and work round.

There are other barriers to our writing though and if we are utterly honest with ourselves sometimes we do make excuses. I'm not here to slap your wrist for that, if I did I'd be a complete hypocrite, but I am interested in WHY. Why do we delay finishing that manuscript or submitting our work? I think fear, in one form or another is to blame - fear that if we do submit and are rejected again we won't be able to cope with it.
Last night I was angsting about something non-writery and finally irritated myself so much I finally mumbled "Oh get over yourself and just get on with it."

I don't think it's a coincidence that some of the most successful writers I've met have an incredibly thick skin when it comes to rejections. They didn't waste time sitting angsting (and have little patience with mine!), they just got on it with it - kept writing and subbing, subbing, often with multiple submissions out there. And now they are reaping the rewards of their perseverance and resilient mental attitude.

So, although I don't profess to have the answers I do have a suggestion:

(1) Get over it.

(2) Get on with it.

and because I'm not a completely heartless cow:

(3) Good luck!


Anonymous said...

I love it! And you're so right.

I think my own current blockage [!!] is a combination of fear and waiting for ed to make decision on full ms--almost as though I daren't make a writerly move in case I get it all wrong and have to re-do it. Although, of course, what I need to do is apply number 1 and 2 above and stop with my pathetic dithering!!

Kat said...

I quite like the sound of shutting the kids in a cupboard all day! Haha!
My problem is impatience. I'm constantly annoyed with myself because my word count isn't racking up as quickly as I'd like, but then when I hit a tricky part I'm the queen of procrastination. Facebook? Tick. Blogs? Tick. God, I even try to get to grips with Twitter in desperation sometimes. (I don't know why I can't get it, it completely baffles me how people keep up with conversations on there.)
But subbing - that excites me. It's the waiting that kills me, which brings me back to that impatience again.

Romy Sommer said...

Thank you so much, Lorraine. I really needed this post today! I'm going to (a) cut myself a little slack and (b) get on with it.

Lorraine said...

Catherine, I think carrying on writing is the best distraction from waiting anyway and it means you have ms no. 2 ready to go. I'm crossing everything that you get a good response, the story is FAB.

Jo P - have you tried unplugging your router for a couple of hours???

Thanks Romy, glad it helped, Definitely cut yourself some slack, you definitely deserve it!

Kat said...

Unplugging my router??!!!! But then I wouldn't be able to see the internet! lol!

Lacey Devlin said...

Wait. You're not supposed to shut the kids in a cupboard to write?

Sally Clements said...

Fab post, and just what I needed when I consider that I've written very little over the last while! I get so distracted by the internet, that I've turned to my alphasmart. Nothing exciting, just writing. Fits the bill perfectly!

Maya Blake said...

A no-nonsense gal after my own heart. Believe me I've said to myself often enough over the last month or so, lol. And I think I may be wearing myself down, finally!