Tuesday, August 18, 2015

What Doesn't Help Writer's Block . . . Plus a Dash of Motivation

(Alright, this post started out as a "I'm stuck in a hole and can anyone relate" and somehow turned into the motivational speech of a drill sergeant - read on at your own risk).
I'll say it right out: if you're anything like me, you can not stop writing unless you admit that you will stay stopped for a very long time. 
Has anyone experienced this besides me? You're plowing along, writing happily, making lots of progress, and then suddenly something happens to break your flow. Motivation goes AWOL, you hit what seems like an unfixable plot hole, or life itself throws you a plot twist. Point it, you get stopped dead in the water.
And then you can't get the boat's engine to start again. Maybe you make a few valiant attempts to restart that writing streak you were on - a hundred words here, a thousand there. But no matter what you do you can't seem to get back into that flow. You're stranded, all forward momentum lost, and you want to just give up because hey, if you can't do it then that's that, right?

If you've ever been there, gosh, I feel you. Because confession time, right now that is where I am. With writing (yeah, two projects and I haven't touched either since Camp NaNoWriMo flopped) and with blogging. Truth is, my writing motivation went AWOL sometime in July and hasn't shown signs of returning and I've had no time at all to write blog posts lately because, haha guess what, I'm starting college on Friday, and that means shopping and packing and paperwork and banks and emails and phone calls and general stress.
A blog sort of begins to feel like a very tiny priority in the middle of all that.
*flops onto floor and cries*
"So what can be done about this situation?" I ask myself. Well, I could have forced myself not to stop writing despite all my craziness but that would have probably been bad for my mental health. Truth is, there are more important things than writing and blogging and we all need to make sure we have our priorities straight. Things like family, life responsibilities, friends in need, and keeping up a relationship with God are much more important than writing up two to three blog posts a week and over a thousand words of a novel a day. While it may be nice to fool around with some lighthearted writing in the midst of all that to give your poor overworked self a break, it isn't okay to put your writing schedule over things that are going to really impact your life significantly like education and your relationships (unless writing is actually your job . . . then it gets a little more importance).
Okay, that's pretty obvious, but what about actually getting out of a writing stall?
Well I only have one answer I can think of, honestly. And I'm sorry, it doesn't involve sitting around procrastinating while waiting for your away-without-leave motivation to come back, or for the inspiration to hit and get your going after that life plot twist. Because guess what? In all likelihood those things will not come back unless you make them come back. You have to take action if you want to get out of your writer's block. It's your writing and guess what, you're the one who has to make the move to get going again. Those attempts to get back into the writing groove? You can't stop no matter how pathetic they seem. Those times when you've got nothing else to do but decide to browse Pinterest instead of write, even though the idea of writing is niggling at the back of your brain? Guess what, Pinterest probably won't help either - but opening up that word document and forcing yourself to start typing something - anything - could.
It's great to tell yourself that maybe you'll see a pin that will add to your story and give you more ideas to work with. Sure, sometimes that happens, but what are the chances? More likely than getting hit with a brilliant bolt of wonderful writing-inducing inspiration you'll end up wasting two or three hours looking at jokes. You'll be no further along and you won't feel proud of yourself afterwards.
You can be proud if you do the hard thing and face that novel though. It doesn't matter if you only write a hundred words. Who cares if you're not doing as well as you once were. Point is that you are DOING it.
It will be painful. It will make you want to throw your laptop across the room in frustration because the words just won't come. It may even make you cry and want to quite writing completely but you cannot give up because giving up gets you nowhere and that novel, no matter how much work it needs, does not deserve to be abandoned. You owe it to yourself - for all the hard work you've already put in, and for the satisfaction you'll have when that thing is finally moving along again - to keep going.
So what are you doing here? What am I doing here! Let's WRITE!

Oh um, but if you could take a moment to pop over here and leave a few questions for Mara that would be much appreciated.


  1. Yessss. *is motivated* Thank you for this! :p
    Also, I'll be praying for you while you go into college! At least to me, that seems rather scary. xD

    1. Yay! Haha I think I even gave myself a little bit of a writing jolt while typing that post.
      Thank you! It is definitely going to be scary but I know God will carry me through. :)

  2. PREACH IT! This is very, very true. My favourite quotation-for-block is this, from Isabel Allende: "Show up, show up, show up, and after a while, the muse shows up, too."

    Good luck with getting back to it! You can do it! And also, good luck with college tomorrow ... oo-er. I'm back at school on Wednesday. So much no ....

    1. That is a wonderful quote; I want to remember it.
      Haha thank you, I'm in my orientation days now and it is ridiculously busy.

  3. Yep, my motivation for writing disappeared some months ago. And now I can't even blog. But you defiantly give a strong pep talk! :)

    1. Haha thank you . . . you know that thing about life plot twists? College is sort of one . . . we'll see how blogging goes over the next couple weeks.

  4. I really, really like this! My old laptop broke, so I'm waiting for a new one, and now I cannot wait to start writing again! By the way, the new design is excellent! :)