Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Writer's Block?

In the last two weeks I have discovered something new in my writing experience: actual writer's block.

I had previously been of the opinion that writer's block doesn't exist. Now I think it does, but not in the way most people think it does.

What happened is this:
I got tired of my story and got sad about it because if I was bored, surely my readers would be bored.

But I remembered advice I heard on a podcast once from Neil Gaiman that said if you have writer's block, put that project on the shelf and start or work on something else. So I did. And you know what?

It freed me of a lot of nervous habits in my writing. I spawned a ton of new story ideas I'm super excited about, and I had a lot of fun. I started a writing project that was for my own eyes only so I wouldn't be worried about audience, and it helped.

Then this morning I got up thinking, "I wonder if my writer's block has disappeared." So I tried to go back to writing my story, and it had! The words just flowed.
I had a revelation. Instead of making my characters go through "boring scene", I could just skip boring scene. It was one of those "Why don't we just have Gandalf fly an Eagle over Mordor and drop the ring in?" kind of plot solving moments. I realized I didn't need the journey to be as big and epic as I had originally planned. Which is good because the book is already approaching 90,000 words.

If you have writer's block, and can afford to take two weeks off from what you're blocked on, I highly suggest taking a break. Don't take a break from writing though. Just write something else. Or start something new if you've lost that zeal that comes with a new story.

Now I'm off to write again. Today so far I've added 3,500 words to the last chapter. I'm hoping loosely that the entire book will be finished by the end of this week. (But I'm also trying to not get too excited.

Write on, friends!

(P.S. To clarify about writer's block, it should not be used as an excuse to not write. Just write something else. That was the point Neil Gaiman was getting at I think. Carpenters don't get carpenter's block, and dentists don't get dentist's block. Even if you generally love your job, whatever it may be, there will be times you don't want to show up at work. But you have to anyways, and you can do it. Keep writing. Show up at the keyboard. You can do it.)


  1. Well said, Reesha! Thank you for sharing your experience with us. I went through a long spell of writers block, but used it as an excuse not to write, which is why I believe it lasted so long. :) Lesson learned!

  2. Hi, Everyone!!!

    Guess who has a birthday on Sept. 16???

    Yup, our precious Reesha Rugroden!!!

    Submitted by her very proud father :oD