Writer’s Block is Like a Broken Elevator

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I’m six months into writer’s block and I am just about ready to give up writing and become a Walmart Greeter.*

Other careers I’m considering: big game keeper, personal assistant for fake celebrities, personal chef to vegetarian professional wrestlers, cross walk guard, lettuce taster, fat alcoholic bar maid, JC Penny family photographer, professional gum scraper, make-up artist to porn stars, feline style consultant, interpretive dance choreographer.

In the last six months I’ve worked on book 2 of Cricket and Grey (such a slog with only a few moments of light where I remembered how excited I am about the story), a new project called “Suicide for Beginners”, and then, finally have returned to the long ignored “Jane Doe” for which I have just finished fixing the plot and developing the characters more. Yesterday I started the massive rewrite and it took one page to give me that same feeling that all the other projects are giving me – THE DESIRE TO SCREAM ON THE TOP OF MY LUNGS THAT I AM SO OVER NOT BEING ABLE TO WRITE EVEN ONE GOOD FUCKING SENTENCE.

What the hell happened? The desire to write is always with me. I want to dive in and I want to get sucked into the story I’m writing. I love my projects and writing them should at the very least keep my interest because if I can’t even get into writing them there’s no way anyone will ever want to read them. With Cricket and Grey the rough draft was tough and torrid and stupid but I was so excited about the story and I had my grip on the proper voice and then on the second draft I was still super excited and got even more into it as I took out all the melodrama and began to make a finer work of it. The whole process was engrossing and felt like exactly what I was supposed to be doing. I felt like I was living my purpose and loving it. I felt right in my own skin.

I’m not saying it was all smooth going. There were the agonizing weeks of trying to decide on POV and rewriting the first chapter 12 times in different perspectives and tones. But I felt excited about it even as I agonized over the details. It’s all I wanted to do every day. I also had to work almost full time and parent and deal with my small town nemesis and growing crowd of pitchfork waving townies. But I’d sit down every day to write and what got me through the tougher parts were the good parts. Rereading through the previous days writing and seeing potential in it and good bits.

I have no good bits any more. I can’t even tell which project would be best to work on. I went back to the Jane story because it’s continued to nag at me for all the years I’ve set it aside. But I’m so depressed looking at what I thought was the good parts only to realize they aren’t good at all. Then I try completely rewriting and it doesn’t get any better.

It’s not the stories that suck, it’s my writing.

I didn’t realize this was writer’s block. I mean, I wrote 12 chapters into book 2 of Cricket and Grey before reworking the plot and starting over. I thought writer’s block was when you sit down and can’t even put words on the page. I realize now how stupid that is. Of course it’s when nothing you write is good. For months and months, wearing you down until you find yourself fantasizing about living out the rest of your life as an unpaid cheese promoter.

I need to get back into the middle of a project and be so engrossed I forget to feed my kid.** I’ve written so much and been so unsatisfied I feel like I haven’t written for months.

Then there’s the whole “Why I gotta wanna write such depressing dark stuff?”

Writer’s block is like a broken elevator that takes you up and down a building in an endless exercise of vertical pointlessness.

*In a chillingly astute observation a fellow writer suggested that my conversational skills might make this job a fulfilling and exciting one for me.
**More than usual, I mean.

3 comments

  1. Aria Glazki says:

    If things have been so rough for you, maybe you should put aside your big projects and focus on craft building with prompted stories. What I mean is, give yourself the opportunity to write pieces, based on prompts or photos or random quotes, which ultimately won’t plague you if they turn out poorly. Consider contests like Flash! Friday or look for prompt lists. (I have one on my site if you’d like.)

    Of course you would still strive to write something good, a compelling piece, but because these won’t be stories in which you’ve invested quite as much of yourself, which have pulled you in for so long, maybe you’ll be able to break through whatever is stopping you from writing in a satisfying way.

    • angelina says:

      Thanks Aria. I don’t really like writing short stories but you did give me an idea – to do some short pieces in different points of view for this particular book just to find the voice that can propel it forward.

  2. Aria Glazki says:

    Er, and apparently I’m actually incapable of leaving links in html so those were: FlashFriday.wordpress.com and AriaGlazki.blogspot.com/p/writing-prompts.html

    Sorry!

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