Okay a few weeks ago, on a total whim, I fired off 7 Tips For Being Good Beta Readers, a post that rocked this blog. It has gotten more hits than anything else I ever posted. I have yet to see a single Retweet but yet readers keep coming. Since I had not been very good about blogging or writing at all, it was admittedly a thrill to write something people took such interest in. I’ve been trying to come up with a follow up ever since. My blog post on writing grief has had some hits, slowly. But my post on “Lessons From Editing” went largely unnoticed.
And now I can’t seem to think of anything I can actually finish. I offered to guest post on a friend’s blog while he takes some time after the birth of his daughter and his request for proposed topics sits unanswered. Sorry, Everett, not ignoring you, I just don’t have a clue. It’s almost like I wonder what I have to offer?
Now before you all start thinking I’m too hung up on my Site Stats link, it’s not the lack of hits that’s at the heart, it’s my depression. I am just generally down in the dumps. After all, in the last two years, I lost two dream jobs, a house we wanted to buy, went through several major medical crises with my wife who now divorced me. And I still can’t find a new job and I spend most of my time alone. Who wouldn’t be depressed? Writer’s Block has always been a bitch but this is taking on epic proportions.
Ironically, despite my blog block, I have been able to write on my novel. Oh I switch between excited about the stuff written and lackluster, yes, but at least I am getting words on the page. The story is progressing. Anything truly awful can be fixed later. But you can’t edit until you have a finished draft. And at least I’m getting somewhere.
Even my usual answer to writer’s block, the great standby which has seen me steadily through over the past few years, is not working. I always had several short stories going at the same time as I worked on a novel, so that I could always switch between them when ever the gnarly bitch reared her head. But right now, I just have a couple novels, and I still see no way out of the blog block, so I am resorting to the last chance.
That’s right. I am going to tame this bitch the only way I know how: write anyway.
Most of us are tied enough in ego to our writing, especially if you’ve made any sales or started networking enough to have people whose work you respect pay attention to your career, that we really loathe writing crap. We’d almost rather do anything than write when we know we don’t know what we’re doing. And although it’s often tossed out as advice at workshops and conferences to “write even when you don’t feel like writing,” such advice is often relegated to the category of good in concept, poor in practice and ignored. Because we don’t want to commit to paper words we will later read and say “I should NEVER have written that” as we scowl in horror.
But I’m doing it anyway. I am going to tame this and write anyway. So here it is. Not a lot of great advice here for fighting off the block, the dreaded nemesis of any writer. But the advice I do have is write something, even when you don’t feel up to it. You never know what you’ll end up with and maybe, somehow, to someone, it’ll actually be helpful.
For what it’s worth…
2 thoughts on “Struggling Through Writer’s Block”
Personally, Bryan, I don’t believe in writer’s block. But that’s another subject for another time. Here’s a thought: What is the overall theme or purpose of your blog? The big picture? Every post should have that in mind, either subtly or blatant. Hope that helps.
Writing craft and business are my chosen themes, primarily, although occasionally I diverge into personal matters. And since I am a bit blocked and not writing as much, it’s been hard to find topics.