This month’s Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour topic was “Blocks.” My arm was still sore for typing when my day came around, but I had something I wanted to say. So I’m going to go ahead and post my contribution late:
Over the years I think I’ve run into just about every kind of block there is, from the “no time even to breathe” block to the “kids come first” block to the “fear of success” block to the “dammit I’d rather play video games” block. I’ve also had my share of real ones: the ones where your inner muse is trying to tell you there’s something seriously wrong with the story, or something in your life that needs to be addressed first; the mysterious kind that seem to come out of nowhere and settle down over one’s brain and fingers like a shroud; and (toughest of all) the self-inflicted kind.
My most recent block, which is only just fading into the past, was the self-inflicted kind.
I was reading all this “treat your writing like a business” stuff, and “write it and send it out,” and “steady output, butt in chair, plumbers don’t get writer’s block,” and a whole lot of related stuff that works really well for a lot of people. They turn out lots of stories and novels and everything, and get paid for it. Productive and happy, what’s not to like?
And if it didn’t seem to work for me — if I’m the kind of person who wakes up on an unexpectedly sunny morning and says, “Let’s go hiking today. I can write tomorrow when it’s raining,” or has days when the brain just wants to mull things over — well, that just meant I needed to learn more discipline, right?
Wrong, apparently. My productivity dried up. The more discipline I applied, the worse it got. I hated even the thought of sitting down at my desk.
It got to where I even hated to read, because that just reminded me I wasn’t writing.
Last year, as bad as it was on many fronts, did break the block. I was away from my desk and my computer and caught up in family interaction, and writing once again became my solace and necessary friend. I wanted to write again. Circumstances meant I could only write small bits at first, but that was what I needed. Then small bits added to stories I never quite finished. Most recently, a lot of small bits added to a fantasy novella added up to a complete draft submitted to Torrid.
So things are looking up.
Most interestingly, today I was poking through files from two and three years ago, finding files where I had dumped ideas and partial stories while I banged my head against the projects I was “supposed” to be working on. If I had finished even half of them when the idea hit me and was fresh and ready to go, I’d have close to 40 stories.
No wonder my muse quit talking to me. Why should she waste her breath when I wasn’t listening?
So, yeah. Self-inflicted. Hopefully I can avoid making that mistake again!
Today’s post was inspired by the “blocks” prompt in the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour, an ongoing tour where you, the reader, travel around the world from author’s blog to author’s blog. We have all sorts of writers at all stages in their writing career, so there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
If you want to get to know nearly twenty other writers and find out what’s on their nightstand, check out the rest of the tour! Up next: D Jordan Redhawk.