Writer’s Block or Not
People have some strange ideas when it comes to writing. One of those ideas is that writers are visited by the muse and are inspired by some sort of magic. Oh, I’ve been there: when everything comes together, you have the inspiration, the time the energy and the words just flow. There’s nothing else like it.
I’ve been writing professionally for over twenty years and I can attest that it usually doesn’t happen like that. Real writers sit in front of their computer, or with a pen and paper in hand, and make the inspiration happen, word by word. Often it doesn’t feel inspiring at all. This is where, I think, writer’s block may come into the picture for some writers. They are waiting for the muse.
I’ve never really dealt with this kind of block. I’ve never had the luxury of it. I started out writing articles for newspapers, magazines, newsletters, and so on. The deadlines come fast. You don’t meet them? You get fired. It’s that simple. So, when I started writing fiction, I approached it the same way. I gave myself deadlines. They had to work between my other very real deadlines for other writing projects–my articles and cookbooks, for example. When I landed my first fiction contract, it never occurred to me that I would not meet the deadline. In fact, I turned SAFFRON NIGHTS in a bit early and I’m getting ready to do that with the second book in the series. (By the way, check out chapter one of SAFFRON NIGHTS, here.)
But I understand another kind of writer’s block—burn out. I’ve been there. You’re on a roll, writing and selling articles or stories, and suddenly, you are fresh out of ideas, or you just can’t write one more word. Stepping away at that point—even if it’s just a day or two—is necessary. Talk about it with another writer. Go for a walk or a run. Clean out your basement. Sleep on it.
What I’ve found is that sometimes the time away is as important as the time in front of the computer. We need to nourish that creative spark sometimes—not wait for the muse—there’s a difference.
Do you see it? Are you ever blocked? What have you done about it?