You know, I don’t really believe in the condition of writer’s block. I do believe that every writer will at some point have trouble writing. Some people call that “writer’s block”, but all it really means is that you’re either distracted, unmotivated, or simply working on the wrong project.
This is happening to me a lot lately, actually. I’ve tried everything: forcing myself to write some short stories that my heart just isn’t in, starting and stopping new blog posts, using random story generators for ideas, and testing out whether some old WIPs could get me excited enough to keep trying.
But really, all of that stuff was for nothing, and none of it could help get me doing any serious work again, because none of it was I knew (at least subconsciously) I needed to be working on.
While I was trying, or at least pretending to try, to be creative, the logical side of my brain was saying “Dude, get to work on your freaking novel.”
And that logical side was right. I can sit here and complain about only having one novel done. I can complain about sales (or lack of sales) on that one novel. I can complain that I have opportunities to pitch novels to agents all the time, but that have no novel ready, and I can complain that it’s been over a year since my only novel was accepted for publication, yet I haven’t finished another one since.
So what’s with all the complaining? Well, to be fair, I wasn’t literally complaining about that stuff, but there was a nagging voice in my head saying some of it. And the worst part is that I heard it. And I ignored it. Instead of doing the grown up thing–the hard work thing–and getting my next novel ready to pitch or query, I wasted several months of my writing life going from project to project, hoping to find ways to avoid revising the novel.
In other words, I made an active decision to put off my most important work (revising the novel) and look for projects that would be more fun, or ever worse, simply easier.
Who knows. Maybe it’s a character flaw of mine. Ignore the hard work and look for the quick results. Sadly, I do this at the day job too sometimes. Put of the more difficult longer projects and look for the quicker, easier ones just to feel like I accomplished something.
But in the end, the best way to fix something about your self is to admit the problem exists, and deal with it. So that’s what I intend to do with this. I couldn’t get into my writing lately, because I knew I was avoiding a much more important task.
I’m attending a few writing conventions this year (the first one is next month!), and my public promise to myself is that I will have a novel ready to pitch. No more excuses; no more…anything. I’ll get this done and ready.
And if not…well…sometimes it’s okay to fail. But not in this case. Only one thing has prevented me from having this done already. It’s not the kids. It’s not the commute. It’s not the podcast. It’s not the day job. It’s the guy I shave with and brush my teeth with. And when I look him in the face tonight before I go to bed, he’s going to smile and give me a silent nod that says “Hell yeah. We can–and will–get this book ready.”
So thanks for letting me pour my heart out in this little post and, seriously, next time you find yourself stuck writing, try to figure out why it is you’re actually stuck. You too might just be working on the wrong project.
Find the right one, and get to work.