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Let's Talk About… Writers Block

More specifically, let’s talk about MY writer’s block.  Here is the definition of writer’s block:

writer’s block
1. the condition of being unable to think of what to write or how to proceed with writing.

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Yup, that pretty much sums me up.

Every writer on the planet has suffered from this at some point.  I’ve got no advice on how to overcome this.  Mine has been crippling at times for the last 10 years.  I’m a great writer of rom/com.  I’ve been told by anyone who’s read what I’ve written.  College professors have given me compliments that made me feel like I might have the potential of a Best Seller.  But… that dream is fading.  Why?  Not because I can’t write, but because my stories don’t flow.  They’re SO much work to get them to continue and then when they do I end up with a story that has gone in a direction that it abruptly ends and I’ve no where else to go.

I’ve heard all the sayings…

‘Don’t let the editor in you get in the way of the writer in you.’  – I do this.
‘Just write bad… just get the words on paper and fix it later.’ – I try but… (I have no excuse)
‘Go out into the world and listen, eavesdrop, and write.’ – I live in Montana, the state with the fewest people, and by that I mean the fewest exciting people.  They hate Starbucks here… what?

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I can’t tell you how many stories I’ve written to 100 pages, and deleted.  Over and over and over.  At this rate I should have 100 books out.   I’m 27 (plus 10) and I’m definitely not getting any younger.  If I don’t get this book on paper at some point in the next 20 years I may be one of those 1 hit wonders and that’s not what I want (not that it’s bad, a book is a book).  But, I want many books, as a career. (said every writer ever)

I know I’m not the only one who suffers from this.  I’ve read all the ‘overcome writer’s block’ articles online.  They make me feel not alone in this problem but they’ve never really helped me move past my problem.  I’m not looking for pity here…

I’ve tried outlining, clustering, cloud boards, character profiles, borrowing movie ideas, they all fizzle out.  I’m a perfectionist in the worst way.  I don’t want to ‘copy’ an idea.  I want it to be funny and fun and lingering.  I want like-able characters that grow through-out the story.  I want a beautifully illustrated pastel cover.  I know what I want, I just can’t find it.

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I blog because I don’t get writers block when I’m writing a 2000 word blog post.  And yet, I’m writing.  These words actually came out of my mouth the other day to my husband – ‘Maybe I’m not meant to write a book but just support those that can, by blogging.’  The look on his face just about broke my heart, because I’ve been talking about writing a book for over 10 years!  And now I all but want to give up.

I get little glimmers of hope that I can do it all over.  I actually had an agent contact me telling me that if I ever make time to finish my book, they’d love to read it and chat.  I’ve posted pieces of my writings here on my blog so I’m assuming she’s read them and thought it wasn’t complete crap, a good sign.  That made me feel great!  Until I realized I’m no where close to finishing a complete story.

Write what you know… I try but I always end up with what I don’t know and that stalls me.  I’m funny… But, I end up with partial stories that didn’t even make ME laugh.  It wasn’t always like this.  In college I could whip out a complete short story of 26 pages and the class would roll with laughter and compliment my every sentence, comparing me to Candace Bushnell’s Sex in the City.  But… that was 10 years ago and I can’t seem to find that again.  Maybe I do need deadlines or an incentive… those are hard to set yourself.

So give me your best advice… hell, give me an idea a deadline, a partner and plot.
What do YOU do to overcome writers block?  Comment to me below.
If you have a fabulous idea or a motivating pep talk or you just want to tell me to stop my whining and do it; email me at hellochicklit@gmail.com

Amy Koppelman (8)

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2 Comments

  • Reply Alison Brodie

    Aimee, do you feel that you’re pressurising yourself to write?

    Let me give you an example. When I have a very important day coming up, I tell myself the night before that I MUST, MUST sleep. In consequence, I can’t sleep!
    So … tell yourself it doesn’t matter if you write or not. Treat it as a hobby, something you like to indulge in from time to time, something you enjoy… then see what happens.
    Never talk to anyone about your writing ideas/problems/inability to get ideas.
    If you do get an idea, incubate it – just make a note on a scrap of paper and forget about it. If the idea is good, it will keep coming back to you, so just keep making notes and forgetting about it … until you eventually have loads of scraps of paper and your heart is pounding because you know in your guts you’ve GOT something!
    Then write (not type) like a maniac – without thinking or analysing. Get it down on paper (just like you mentioned in your blog). Every story has the risk of dipping in the middle – this is what you have to write threw to get to the other side.
    Now you are faced with a mound of illegible paperwork – but that’s OK – now you can take out the pure essence of the story as you begin typing it out.

    I never begin a chapter on a high. I start low and build up to a climax. I do the same for each chapter. It’s like looking at a row of waves on a chart. Each wave peaks higher and higher until the rug-pulling moment. Then there’s the ultimate climax and a level-off as all the “purse-strings” to your story are pulled tight together to close it.

    P.S. You can’t “force” your characters to appear. They will come when your mind is empty – and they certainly WiLL come when you have no paper/pen handy and you’re v. busy doing something else!

    How do you empty your mind? Walk, walk, walk. I prefer walking at night when it is drizzling and there’s no one about. Also, do something boring and repetitive that makes your brain go on auto-pilot.

    The most important advice I would give is that you write for a person you have never met. I write for a lonely, single mum in a high-rise council flat overlooking Westway in London. With every line I write, I aim to take her out of her life to somewhere she can laugh and cry, where she can experience ultimate luxury, ultimate poverty, desperation between two lovers, “see” exotic places and feel the warmth of the sun on her face.
    I believe that a gripping story can help a reader rise above their problems, if only for a few short hours.
    Aimee, I hope my ramblings help you in some way.
    I’m going to check out your writing.
    best of luck
    Alison

    February 18, 2016 at 7:26 am
    • Reply Aimee

      Alison! Thank you for this. I don’t feel that I’m pressuring myself to write. It’s in me however the realist and the perfectionist part of me fight it off with vengeance.

      One day it will come to me and I’ll continue being patient until then…. (she says irritatedly)

      February 18, 2016 at 1:12 pm

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