by Kiersten Hallie Krum
Some people think writer’s block is a myth and if you just get up and push through it, the block will resolve itself. You respect it and work with it even when you’d rather crawl back into bed give up on your dreams because today, it’s just too damn hard. But powering through isn’t always enough.
One of the most whackadoodle imaginings of writer’s block is found in the movie Stranger Than Fiction where Emma Thompson’s is a bestselling writer way past her deadline and struggling with writer’s block. What work she has done is the story of a sad-sack IRS auditor, played by Will Ferrell, who is a real-life man who hears Emma Thompson’s voice narrating his life all the way up to his death. Queen Latifah is brought in to get Emma Thompson back on schedule and as she begins to write again, Will Ferrell’s life continues to unravel.
I don’t have writers block (at the moment) and as far as I know, zero influence over the life of any IRS agent. But I do worry–frequently–about running out of ideas or that I’m merely repeating lines and scenes I’ve already written somewhere else. A glance at my Twitter stream of writers tells me this fear doesn’t go away for most. Universally, there’s seems to be only one solution.
There’s so much great information that came out of July’s Romance Writer’s of America National Conference. Tidbits, game plans, statistics, encouragement, magic pills, naked cowboys. Though I didn’t attend this year, I kept a close eye on the social media chatter, often picking up repeated bits of advice that clearly resonated with many. It’s always good to get your double Ds charged with a refresher course even a vicarious one. But it’s also overwhelming and even from a distance can just as easily make you feel as though you’re not doing enough social networking or self-publishing or you don’t have a business plan or a marketing strategy. It’s hard under all that feeling inadequate to remember we really only have the one job: push through to write the best damn book you can. No one but you can do that.
One of the axioms repeatedly passed along was this quote from Nora Roberts from her Q&A at RWA Nationals this year (which I now have on my desktop):
Some might find that to be a merciless line, one that doesn’t take into account how life happens. But it’s often just the smack upside the head I need. Pushing through to finish writing CATCH ME took an act of active will. It only came to pass by me reminding myself moment by moment of another of La Nora’s famous sayings, one I heard in person, “I can fix shit; I can’t fix nothing.”
Sometimes, the writing flows like a newly tapped faucet.
Sometimes, we’re just writing shit so we can fix it later.
And sometimes we get to give things away! Congratulations to commenters Heather L. and rysalkabr! You’ve each won a copy of Victoria Dahl’s Looking for Trouble. Please send me your email addresses at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get those to you! Thanks for leaving a comment on Lady Smut!
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