Writer’s Block

by Ashlynmathews on April 10, 2016

Writer's BlockI want to release a book or two sometime this year. However, there’s two obstacles I need to overcome. Time, I can’t control while writer’s block is a struggle I’d rather do without. Can anyone believe it’s mid-April already? Where has time gone?

I try not to dwell on the fast pace of time, or at least my perception of how fast time is moving. Otherwise, the pressures of releasing a book dampens my creativity. Stress and doubt is a serial killer of creativity. Can I write another book? Will it take me years rather than months? Will anyone find and read my books? There are millions of books out there.

I can’t control time but I can attempt to think myself out of my writer’s block. The self-doubt and pressures (put upon by myself) contributes to my writer’s block. Rather than sit my butt on the chair and writing the first thing that comes to my mind, I’ve been editing and rewriting past scenes until I doubt the scenes’ usefulness. Some writers plan out their entire book. I’ve tried but have accepted the creative truth that I’m a pantser. I write by the seat of my pants.

With my past books, the scenes come to me organically. The characters speak and I type their words. The characters feel and I attempt to capture their emotions by putting on paper the mental image in my head of that moment. Yet in the past month or two, the scenes aren’t coming together so easily and neither are the words and the emotions.

I’ve tried different things to get past the writer’s block– walks, listening to music, daydreaming, exercising, working on another manuscript, reading, and watching a lot of television. But when I return to the manuscript, again, the words aren’t flowing.

Today, as I’m writing this blog, I realize why. For Love Actually, the pantser part of my writing has gotten my heroine into a jam that is unrealistic. Or at least, I find her situation not relatable. As a reader of romance, I’d like to somehow relate to my characters. Am I scared of what they’re scared of? Do I want what they want? Have I feared and wanted what they fear and want?

Tavi is scared of being vulnerable. She was once a funny, bright and courageous woman but because of something that had happened to her in the past, she’s now wanting to never be vulnerable again. Unfortunately, the unrealistic plot twist that had somehow made it onto the pages (the pitfalls of being a pantser) doesn’t explore this side of her.

In Echo (Extinction series), I’ve come to the conclusion that the hero I picked might not be the right hero for my heroine. Going back to the drawing boards (written pages) and writing new scenes while putting to rest the old scenes is difficult. Yet, I’d rather go forward with a story that feels right than a story that prolongs my writer’s block.

I’m not certain when I’ll be releasing the next book or which series the book will be in. But I’m certain of one thing. I’d like to enjoy the journey of writing a story, of immersing myself in the characters’ emotions and words and the complexities of their world. And that enjoyment hopefully will translate into a better story for readers. Here’s to conquering my writer’s block :).

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Anna Brentwood April 11, 2016 at 7:39 am

I suggest you just write and think and work it out on your head and the paper as it comes. It helps me to keep a word count goal – then a weekly word count spreadsheet to see what I am accomplishing. Doing that could also give you a timeline for how long the book will take to write. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Some authors take 1-2 even 3 or more years. Set goals a little high but be realistic, life happens and we have to adjust. Unless you are under deadline or contract, don’t focus on finishing, focus on enjoying the process…the process is stops and starts and turns & interruptions, but worrying about producing a finished book kills the creative spark- that is where the block is coming from. You have to decide why you are writing. We all want to churn out books, have readers and make money at something we love to do, but how much is enough? Does writing feed your soul? Would you still do it if no one read it? Anyway, It’s a balance and you have to know your priorities and accept your limitations though those change too.

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Ashlynmathews April 11, 2016 at 8:12 am

Thanks Anna! I really appreciate the advice. I’m going to give it a try. I write because I love to tell a story. Making decent money at it would be great, lol, but not my main reason. I like your idea of word count and excel spreadsheet. I will definitely give that a try to. Life does happen more often then we would like. Right now my main focus is my family–my boys and the hubby. I have such a small window of time with the kids before they grow up and don’t want to be with their mom so much. I’ll just have to take the writing day by day, not have unrealistic expectations and enjoy the story-telling as it happens. Thank you for responding!

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Anna Brentwood April 11, 2016 at 8:18 am

Yes, I dealt with the same struggle while my kids were growing up but family is so much more important and it really goes too fast! Enjoy that and fit in what you can, be easy on yourself and don’t compare yourself to others. Believe me, before you know it, you will have more than enough time to write.

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