Q4U: Blocked Writing

girl with laptop Some people believe in writer’s block; others believe in the power of discipline and “just do it.” Some writers wait for the muse, others just power through. Some have numerous obligations competing for their time; others are not so fragmented.

All of us have moments… hours… days… or even weeks in which we can’t write.

What, if anything, hinders your writing?

Rachelle Gardner

Literary agent at Books & Such Literary Agency. Coffee & wine enthusiast (not at the same time) and dark chocolate connoisseur. I've worked in publishing since 1995 and I love talking about books!

89 Comments

  1. Christine Rhyner on September 10, 2011 at 3:12 PM

    Me. Although I just returned from a writer’s conference last month and received some great feedback on my book in progress, knowing it isn’t “there” yet has put me in a non-writing funk. Just knowing there are a bunch of changes to make gets me overwhelmed and that feeling leaves me sort of paralyzed.



  2. Chantelle.B. on August 20, 2011 at 5:18 AM

    Lack of self-discipline.
    I could put the blame on the fact that I have three kids that demand my attention 24/7. I could blame it on feeling sick/being too tired/feeling uninspired.
    I could blame it on not feeling motivated to work on one project, but able to work on another.
    But all it comes down to is self-discipline. Everybody who has a day job will get up in the morning, drag themselves off to work, no matter how groggy or demotivated they feel about going to work.
    Writing is the same. I CAN drag myself out of bed and MAKE time to write. I CAN force myself to work on a specific project. I CAN do it. There is no excuse.
    So for me, it definitely comes down to a lack of self-discipline.



  3. Dan on August 16, 2011 at 5:37 PM

    Writing for me is not about blocks, it is about distractions and preferences. There are two key ingredients that must be added successfully to mix before I can get pen to paper (OK, that’s old! How about before I can get my key strokes on). One, my fiancé has to be contently occupied and two, there can be nothing I’d rather be doing. So I get the motorcycle ride out of the way, ensure I have a plan later on to catch that movie, and visit with friends the night before. Then I’m ready. And as long as the interruptions are minimal, the writing flows.



  4. Jenny on August 15, 2011 at 10:12 PM

    Real life. That whole finding a job, and doing thing aspect of my life. Plus, that pile of to-read books that draws my attention.



  5. Joanna Aislinn on August 15, 2011 at 8:33 PM

    Thanks, Rachel, for this: “Some have numerous obligations competing for their time; others are not so fragmented.” (Wish I had time to read all the comments–they look really good 🙂

    FRAGMENTED is an excellent word for how I feel most of the time, especially once I joined the world of the published and now learning about (and participating in) social media. Sometimes I feel my writing has been fragmented into blog posts (not nec my own), comments on blogs, tweets and status updates on Facebook. I’m assuming the latter three don’t count, lol.

    Thanks for the support this Q4U generated!



  6. Dianne on August 15, 2011 at 7:16 PM

    Being too tired. Too much clutter–both in my office and in my mind with too much to do. I’m a “power through” person but either can stall me out.

    Solutions: Understand what’s up and don’t berate myself. Get some rest. Edit down the to-do list. Take time to clean my office and/or set up my card table in a less cluttered part of the house and get back to work. 😉



    • Joanna Aislinn on August 15, 2011 at 8:29 PM

      I so relate to the ‘clutter’ and having far too much to do getting in the way of my writing. There’s so much in my head, having it around me makes me crazier and less productive (unless there’s a deadline looming, the only time I can get the ‘blinders’ on). Thanks for helping me feel less alone in this!



  7. Rachel Wilder on August 15, 2011 at 6:17 PM

    For me it’s emotional upheaval and turmoil. I’ve just come out of the worst two years of my life and for the bulk of last year I couldn’t write. There was nothing there.

    But it’s all back now and I’ve got a finished novel to prove it.



    • Dianne on August 15, 2011 at 7:19 PM

      God bless you for your troubled last two years, Rachel. Welcome back!



  8. T.M. Burnstad on August 15, 2011 at 1:13 PM

    If I’m merely flirting with a couple of ideas, I find that I’m more easily distracted by the kids, the dog, the housework… the internet. I’ll read instead of write and I’ll basically ignore my own work. However, once I’m serious about an idea my muse tends to work overtime on making me ignore everything around me and I work with a single-minded determination to get all the words down on paper. It doesn’t make me a very structured writer, but it seems to work. If I wrote every single day, the housework would never get done.



  9. Karen on August 15, 2011 at 12:10 PM

    What blocks my writing? The fact that publishers/editors don’t have time to discern that a person is a good writer
    and that his/her work just needs to be
    tweeked a bit.



  10. Gina Burgess on August 15, 2011 at 11:40 AM

    Painter 12 from Adobe. Ever since I received this software I can’t wait to get back to it. My blog has suffered… I look at the clock at 10 pm and know I’ve just got a few more minutes of work then off to bed I go, but the next time I look at the clock it’s 1 am! I love to paint and draw and this has begun to absorb my dreams, too.

    Other than that, sometimes I must wait for the nudge from God to know He’s ready for me to write a certain piece. I write a weekly column and that gives my writing a lot of structure. I’ll get half way through a piece and realize it isn’t working and I have to start all over. That is frustrating, but I’ve come to realize I have to write what God gives me to write, otherwise it just falls flat.



  11. Kate on August 15, 2011 at 11:17 AM

    Distractions. Oh, holy lord, distractions. I live in a busy household, with a busy job and I have too many hobbies. Sometimes I just need to turn off the world (and the internet) or else I won’t write for months.



  12. Dina on August 15, 2011 at 10:49 AM

    Merciless self-criticism is what limits me. I can’t seem to be objective about my writing and am often appalled when I go back and edit. How could I write such terrible drivel?!?!?

    Perhaps it’s me trying too hard to aspire to write like . His/her work always seems to have just the perfect quality of word choice, brevity and flow while mine… well… ugh. 😛



  13. Rick Barry on August 15, 2011 at 7:37 AM

    Probably Eastern Europe & Russia pose the hardest challenges to productivity. Several times per year my work requires that I spend weeks at a time overseas. While I can write just fine at airport terminals and in the air, once I arrive in foreign lands, the pace is usually simply too hectic to preserve writing time (and energy!). I lose more time after my returns, when jet lag turns me into a zombie for a couple days!



  14. marion on August 15, 2011 at 3:28 AM

    Me! Life! (As others have said.)
    But writing is about life (and writing’s autobiographical too.) So that’s OK. It’s all grist for the mill.

    The biggest block is my subconscious. Or my “muse”, in other words.
    I’ll be wondering why I just can’t sit myself down and get to work. Lazy unmotivated writing fraud!
    And then, after days or weeks or months, my subconscious has worked through whatever it was working on, and I can’t help sitting down and typing out a few hundred words.
    If your muse is blocking you, it’s a good thing. Keeping you from wasting time going down a dead end.



  15. Taz on August 15, 2011 at 3:05 AM

    If I’m drafting, people near me are the biggest screamworthy distraction. I’ve lost count of the good ideas I’ve lost because I couldn’t get them out quick enough. My kids have learned not to interrupt mummy when she says she’s concentrating and needs a few minutes… If I’m revising, I can handle the backgorund noise but not the interruptions.

    Silence and a white page are the most inspiring thing in the world 🙂 Block generally only comes when I’ve not planned well or my ideas went dry. Time and space is required, as are tv, music, a walk outside, and almost always interacting with friends – Friends cure all evils because they break the blank frame of mind with their different (beautiful) aspect. Seeing the other side of something always helps.



  16. J M Cornwell on August 15, 2011 at 2:19 AM

    My day job takes a lot of my time, as does my second job and marketing of previous books. I like a little downtime now and then and it’s difficult sometime to muster the energy to write after all of that.

    I find that spending at least an hour a day does help, but sometimes all I can manage is a blog post or article and not work on my latest novel.



  17. Mary Jo on August 14, 2011 at 11:34 PM

    Now that I’m unemployed I have time to write. I take a long walk along the waterfront to a Starbucks right on a marina to write. Sounds great, right? Except I’m not the kind of writer who can sit down and let the words flow. Usually I have to wait until an idea bubbles up. So sometimes it’s just a walk with a mocha frappachino at the end and no writing.



  18. Adam Heine on August 14, 2011 at 10:57 PM

    Waiting for the muse hindered my writing, so I fired her.



  19. Marcie on August 14, 2011 at 10:06 PM

    Fear of failure. Fear of success.



  20. Ruth Taylor on August 14, 2011 at 9:28 PM

    I recently read a great article which suggested writing about your writer’s block if you think you have writer’s block. Some idea is surely to come from it. Makes sense to me!



  21. Courtney on August 14, 2011 at 9:08 PM

    As Norman Mailer once said,”writer’s block is…simply a failure of ego.” Although that may sound bad, I really believe it. To write, you have to have at least a small measure of faith in your own competence, creativity, and desirability. Especially if you really desire to be published and read at some point.

    That being said, college is my biggest writing block. I’m an English major, and just a voracious reader in general, so I’m constantly inundated by great literature from many different time periods. Talk about following a stunning, intelligent, entertaining act! Who am I to write, in that light?

    Maybe I just need to become an egotistical maniac…then I’ll never have writer’s block again. Ha.



  22. Kristen on August 14, 2011 at 7:33 PM

    A job in journalism or, I suppose, technical writing or advertising copywriting, etc, will cure you of “writer’s block” really fast.

    I am my own worst hindrance when it comes to my fiction writing, for two reasons. First, my hunger for knowledge keeps me doing “research” (surfing, reading blogs) when I should be writing. Second, I too often say “yes” and heap up obligations to other people, especially in church-related matters. I am getting better about the second one, but I’m still working on building the discipline to set off blocks of time and using them *only* for writing.



  23. Beth MacKinney on August 14, 2011 at 5:10 PM

    I honestly don’t think anything can hinder your writing unless you let it. Really.

    I think of the girl who finished Nanowrimo, and she was a soldier on active duty in Iraq. Her grueling activity list included things most of us couldn’t even comprehend doing during an average day and she still managed to write a 50,000 word novel in a month.

    People make time to do what they want to do—no matter what the condition of their life.



  24. Ane Mulligan on August 14, 2011 at 4:40 PM

    For me, it was working at home, where every noise knows my name. Once I figured that out and started going to Starbucks every morning to write, I more than hit my word goal each day. And since I’m “at work” I power through. Usually within a few sentences, I’m back into the swing of the story.



  25. Rebecca Harrison on August 14, 2011 at 4:39 PM

    I can relate to so many of the above. My job takes up most of my life and my husband takes up the rest. When I do sit down to write I have to check my blog, my Facebook and Twitter accounts and then my emails. By the time I’ve done that I have to sort through the masses in my mind, decide whether to finish something already started or start something new. I probably have about eight pieces of writing on the go but my perfectionist streak gets in the way of finishing some of them. Occasionally though an idea does win through and I am happy with the finished product. Good luck to all of you. Happy writing. X



  26. Caleb Bartholomew on August 14, 2011 at 4:27 PM

    I’m in seminary school. Between balancing graduate level school work, family,preparing sermones and trying to promote my Indie book, it is really hard to find time to write. I wouldn’t have an Indie book if I would have had time to invest in looking for the right agent.



  27. patrice on August 14, 2011 at 3:52 PM

    The thing that makes it the most difficult to write is also what I cherish more than anything- my family. It doesn’t help that our family business isn’t something I go to and clock in at, rather it’s under my nose at all times. Still, I have somehow managed to write two full length novels and numerous other projects. It’s time for me to juggle things differently and take on a new project. I’m fully expecting my littlest daughter to peek her head in and say “hi” fifty times the first day I get started. I know there will be days ahead when I will wish that a precious child would be waiting for me. They grow up too soon!



  28. Laura @aLifeOverseas on August 14, 2011 at 3:45 PM

    Great question.

    For me, it’s typically TIME that limits my writing. I can literally walk around for several days with a post forming in my brain, and I have learned that if I don’t have the time/make the time to actually write it out, eventually even my “wittiest” work gets lost in this abyss of life-moving-on.



  29. PatriciaW on August 14, 2011 at 3:18 PM

    I haven’t experienced writer’s block. I have had periods when I couldn’t focus on writing because of other things going on in my life. But beyond that, my biggest hindrance is me, making the time and prioritizing my writing above other obligations and tasks. Whenever I sit down to write, after a few minutes or so, the words begin to flow.



  30. Brianna on August 14, 2011 at 3:07 PM

    Work. My journalism job. I have worked on my personal writing in months and I miss it.



  31. Tiffany on August 14, 2011 at 2:55 PM

    I find that I can always write, but the quality of my writing may not always be the best. When I can write but it comes out less than I know I am capable is when I consider myself to be suffering from “Writer’s Block”. For me, I have to be well rested, focused without distractions, and inspired to make the best flow from my pen. What this usually means is setting aside a time, usually in the morning, and making it happen. However, if I am writing garbage, I stop, put the computer away, and do something else. I would rather write well than just write. (It is easier and better to revise when I have something solid to work with.)



  32. Sarah Thomas on August 14, 2011 at 2:51 PM

    Guilt. The feeling that I should be spending more time with my husband. Or I should be focusing more on my job in ministry. Or I should be cleaning the house. Or I should be calling my dad. It’s very distracting!



  33. Jason Runnels on August 14, 2011 at 2:21 PM

    When lack of sleep from the brutal day job hours snowballs to the point of incoherency, I tend to not want to write. I avoid writing in the state of mind where I find myself brushing my teeth with my wife’s facial cream and forgeting how to set the alarm clock for 5AM.

    I’m probably making a mistake though. Some of the greats have written through drug-induced hazes, so maybe I could come up with something worthwhile in my own zombie-like state.



    • Eliabeth Hawthorne on August 14, 2011 at 2:37 PM

      Some of my best writing happened in college on days I was so sleep deprived I forgot to shave both of my legs.

      As for hindrances, I’m in the States and my coauthor is in Australia. We have a very different writing style that sometimes requires us to be on at the same time and makes everything else faster if we are. Sometimes I’m up until 6 am, sometimes she gets up early or stays up late, but both of us benefit from the other’s input enough that it is worth it. The story would not have been the same if either of us had tried to write it on our own.



  34. Rebecca Boschee on August 14, 2011 at 2:09 PM

    Thinking I have to be brilliant the first time through, when I never am. Once I let go and realize the early draft(s) can be “crap”, the words flow again. I also strongly believe it’s important to make writing a habit—even a little bit every day adds up.



  35. Janet Bettag on August 14, 2011 at 1:12 PM

    Definitely the day job. The muse strikes while I’m on somebody else’s time. I jot a note and move on, but some days it just kills me that I can’t spend the next couple of hours developing the thought.

    By the time the work day is over and I’ve rushed home to feed us and clean up after, the creative energy is gone. Sometimes I revive enough to get some writing done late at night. I know better than to start first thing in the morning because I get involved and lose track of time – making myself late for…yes…the day job.

    I have been doing some serious financial planning in the hope that I’ll be able to take an early retirement sometime in 2012 so I can focus more on my writing.

    If only there weren’t any bills to pay, I would be SUCH a happy camper.



  36. Neurotic Workaholic on August 14, 2011 at 1:09 PM

    My teaching responsibilities take up a lot of time. My graduate work keeps me from writing fiction too. Sometimes I feel guilty when I write fiction, because it’s the one thing in my life that doesn’t feel like work.



  37. Edwina Cowgill on August 14, 2011 at 1:09 PM

    I get distracted by everything! My mind goes in a thousand different directions all the time. And if I do manage to start writing, somebody in the family comes in, sits down and starts talking like I’m not doing anything. Unfortunately, my office doesn’t have a door so I can’t lock them out!



  38. Krista Phillips on August 14, 2011 at 1:05 PM

    Life.

    It used to be a combination of my demanding day job, combined with being a wife and mother of 3 kiddos.

    Now, it is being a mom of FOUR kids, one of whom I serve as 24 hour nurse. It’s a billion and one doctor’s appointments, contract work from home, and trying to figure out insurance/finances/budget etc. It’s trips to the ER, lifeflight, and hospital stays.

    Sometimes, it’s just exhaustion that gets in the way, too. But God and I have had some conversations lately regarding my writing. And I’m opening my eyes and seeing my “wasted” time, and realize that I’m not getting any more time, but I need to start using my “time management” skills and using what I DO have more wisely.

    Because at my heart, I’m a “just do it” kinda person:-)



  39. Karen Dales on August 14, 2011 at 12:45 PM

    There are a couple of things that can hinder my writing process.

    Some of the smaller ones, due to occassional lapses of dicipline, is playing around on Facebook and/or Twitter. There’s also the fact that sometimes I get sucked into reading.

    Some of the larger ones, especially during the summer, is family. With my son off school for summer, my time to spend in my office writing is limited because he wants my attention all the time. Another large one is hubby feeling like he’s being neglected because I’m writing, so time with the family and can be a hinderance.

    Cheers,

    Karen Dales
    http://karendales.com



  40. Addy on August 14, 2011 at 12:24 PM

    I do much better at my own writing if I keep written writing goals and hold myself accountable to them. Tracking my progress on the computer seems to help.



  41. Kathryn Elliott on August 14, 2011 at 11:58 AM

    Hands down my biggest distraction is curiosity. As a reporter, research is my middle name and therefore I approach character development and plot themes in the same fashion. I tend to get hooked into cyber space and lose focus on the task at hand; stop clicking start creating!



  42. J. Robb Montana on August 14, 2011 at 11:53 AM

    During a dry spell I’ll watch a few science fiction movies or read an interesting short story to help boost my creative juices.
    And of course, rewrite, rewrite and rewrite.
    Presently working on a sci-fi screenplay : Angels on Fire



  43. Kel on August 14, 2011 at 11:51 AM

    My day job, family and friend obligations. I sometimes get to bed and realize I had no time for writing at all that day. Sometimes I babysit and then go straight to work; when I get home, I’m dead on my feet so no writing then either.



  44. Rebecca Monaco on August 14, 2011 at 11:48 AM

    It’s not writer’s block, but sometimes I really can’t think of what to put next. I know where I want the characters to end up, but I’m struggling with how to get there. Usually I end up with the ‘just power through it’ method. Half-way through that, I’ve usually gotten the idea of where I’m going with it and it works out.



  45. joan Cimyotte on August 14, 2011 at 11:42 AM

    To me it’s going through phases. Recently after a rejection from an agent I realized she was telling me to rewrite the first chapter. So I did. I think this was a massive improvement. So then I went through the phase of rereading and correcting. Then came the self doubt. Now it is back to being determined to pursue an agent. In the meantime I have to plug through and work on new projects. Time is was gets away from me the quickest. I think if I’m busy all day I will write when I get home but then I’m just too tired.



  46. Meagan Spooner on August 14, 2011 at 11:41 AM

    For me, it’s guilt. If I’ve let my work slide for a couple of days I start feeling really guilty about having let myself (or my agent, or my editor, or whoever) down. That makes it harder to come back to it, because all I want to do is avoid the problem! So I leave it longer, get more guilty, avoid it even more strongly… spiral effect!

    The way I get around it (with mixed success) is to just give my permission to fall down every now and then. It’s okay if I miss a day or two. I know I’ll always come back to it. And the less of a hard time I give myself, the quicker I’ll return.



  47. Susie Finkbeiner on August 14, 2011 at 11:26 AM

    Doubt. There’s always that thought that I’m not a good writer. That there’s no market for what I write. That I’m wasting my time. Those are the times when I get mental constipation.

    I have some good (and brutally honest) friends who kick my butt back into the writing chair.



  48. Diane Bailey on August 14, 2011 at 11:15 AM

    Love this blog. My challenge is wanting it all worked out in my mind before o put pen to paper. Yes, I’m one of those who still loves the feel of ink flowing across the paper as I create a word picture.

    The other piece of my hindrance puzzle is knowing that I have other responcibilities. Things like caring for the animals, home and nine acres we live on and keeping in touch with children, parents and friends. It would be so easy to become a hermit hidden in a shell and do nothing but read and write.

    It is not always about balance. My life seems more like a pyramid, with my Daily responsibilities at the base and my passions more toward to top.

    I’m laughing as I look at my long answer. Thank you for giving me a place to write this morning!



  49. Jessica on August 14, 2011 at 11:02 AM

    What hinders my writing most are the distractions. Facebook, e-mails, forums, little web games, researching some random rabbit trail that story building inspired, organizing my computer files then starting all over again, etc.



  50. M.E. Anders on August 14, 2011 at 10:59 AM

    I am one of those ultra-disciplined writers who fights for her time at the expense of other responsibilities. I confess that I cannot write while dirty dishes are in the sink, though. 🙂



  51. Jennifer on August 14, 2011 at 10:28 AM

    A lot of background noise in the home can often hinder the progress of what is being written.

    With having dogs to attend to they also can hinder the progress but at the same time they bring a light relief when it’s needed, and a welcome break at times.

    There’s really quite a few things that can hinder the progress but even if I do find a block and yet feel the urge to write I’ll go an write something regardless as to what it is as they say to over come writers block is to keep on writing.



  52. otin on August 14, 2011 at 10:27 AM

    Working and taking care of my house and lawn really hamper my writing, although I did manage to write two books this year, lol.



  53. Jil Plummer on August 14, 2011 at 10:17 AM

    I have never suffered from writer’s block, a little loitering maybe before sitting down each day, another cup of tea, perhaps . Then my husband died unexpectedly at the end of May and there is so much to do I haven’t written since. I do look forward to becoming organized enough to escape back into my fictional world.



  54. Rudy Wilson Galdonik on August 14, 2011 at 10:04 AM

    I recently attended a Writer’s Conference at the University of Rhode Island. Teacher, author Richard Hoffman suggested for memoirists, “writer’s block is the fear that if I write today, this might come out. . .” I then realized what I considered writer’s block was more the fear of having to write being widowed. I’ve also learned once you acknowledge that fear, you are able to push through it and the words come.



  55. Bonnie Lacy on August 14, 2011 at 9:42 AM

    Life. Someone else posted that too. I am blessed with family and with that comes building the relationships, helping, serving. And now, my mom is in heaven. My daughter is healed from 6 years of West Nile and is giving birth to her second child TODAY and of course off restriction!!! So I am seeing a few days a week for unblocked writing time!

    I cherish my time at home writing, etc., but I hold it loosely.



  56. Peter DeHaan on August 14, 2011 at 9:04 AM

    I don’t think I’ve ever had writers’ block, so that consideration is a bit of a mystery to me. However, that is not to imply that my writing always flows effortlessly.

    Sometimes I become frustrated when I can’t make a section flow the way I want. The only good solution is to set it aside for a time (unless I am on deadline, in which case I need to power through).

    Then there are times where other activities are just more inviting. Sometimes I resort to self-discipline, while other times — out of fatigue or flagging motivation — I succumb to the distraction. That, I suppose, is my biggest hindrance to writing.



  57. Sherri on August 14, 2011 at 9:03 AM

    Such great responses. I will sometimes have wonderful spurts of inspiration and can’t type fast enough to get it all down. I love that! My problem is that I want that all the time, and sometimes don’t sit down to write until that ‘hits’ again. I do sometimes sit down intentionally to continue my story, but I much prefer the flashed of inspiration. For me it’s a matter of being disciplined and intentional. I have some work to do!



  58. Lawrence J Caldwell on August 14, 2011 at 8:34 AM

    That’s easy – sin. Sin blocks my hearing so I don’t hear from God what He wants me to write that day/moment.



  59. Kimmy on August 14, 2011 at 8:11 AM

    Life!



  60. Jeffo on August 14, 2011 at 7:42 AM

    The worst thing for me is having people hovering around me while I write. I hate having people looking over my shoulder.



    • Sherri on August 14, 2011 at 9:00 AM

      Oh, ME TOO!!! 🙁



  61. Melissa Crandall on August 14, 2011 at 7:11 AM

    The worst culprit is my own mindset, letting myself get stressed by other things rather than taking that meditative time to write. If I can get that time in (usually early in the morning), the rest of the day goes much smoother.



  62. domynoe on August 14, 2011 at 5:16 AM

    Being sick. I can get through most any other distraction. But being sick means more sleeping than anything. Haven’t quite found a way to write when asleep yet. 😉



  63. Maggie on August 14, 2011 at 4:36 AM

    I’ve never really had a problem with writer’s block – until I got caught up in the earthquake/s our city has been subjected to in the past 10 months (I live in Christchurch, New Zealand). Every time I think I’m getting back on track – in rocks another one. It’s not like I’m completely traumatised by them, I mean we’re just getting on with it because what else can you do? It’s more that my writing centre of gravity is a bit off. I’m trying not to stress about it but I’m finding it very frustrating!



  64. karen on August 14, 2011 at 2:58 AM

    My dogs!They are either trying to climb on my lap, wanting to be fed, or jumping on the doors wanting either in or out. As for writer’s block, I will get passed a certain part and then wonder what do I want to come next, so it helps for me to get up and find something to do. Dishes work great for me, because while I’m standing there doing the dishes conversations pop into my head for the main characters. I was reading a writer’s help blog and he mentioned the ending and I stressed on my happily ever after ending for two days and woke up the morning of the third day and it was there in my head! Funny I’m still working on the 5 chapters prior to the end!



  65. Beth K. Vogt on August 14, 2011 at 2:43 AM

    I don’t think there’s an “if” to this question, Rachelle. I think every writer has to battle hindrances to writing goals.
    Mine? I like to write and edit during big, uninterrupted blocks of time. Those are rare occurrences, except between 12 and 6AM. And, oh look–it’s going on midnight now, and I’m sitting up talking with my daughter and her boyfriend. (We’re having a little break and I dashed in to check FB.)



  66. Jo Eberhardt on August 14, 2011 at 2:41 AM

    Being the primary carer (ie. stay at home Mum) for two small children, with a husband who works odd shift-work hours that change from week to week and has an “allergy” to helping around the house.

    After getting up at 4:30am with the baby, doing housework, cooking gardening, and child-raising all day, and getting the 4 year old to bed by 8:00pm, I finish the cleaning and have my first bit of “free time” at about 9:00pm. Through a haze of exhaustion, I try to decide whether I should spend my free time writing, reading books/blogs, or spending time with my husband (on the rare occasions when he’s not at work or asleep). Or, of course, there’s the option of sleep, because I’ll be up to do it all again at 4:30 the next morning.



    • Melissa Crandall on August 14, 2011 at 7:13 AM

      You’re a true “writing soldier,” Jo.



    • Sherri on August 14, 2011 at 8:58 AM

      Ugh! You’ve given me some perspective, Jo. Have you thought about using a small recorder to record some thoughts during the day? You could save them for when you get a small chunk of time – baby is with grandma – and have them ready to work with. I know there’s not an easy solution for a busy Mom’s schedule. What a trooper you are! Makes me want to quit whining! 🙂



  67. Hope Clark on August 14, 2011 at 2:30 AM

    Sleep. If I’m sleepy, I cannot write. I’ll fight through block and even some noises, but if my eyelids are fighting me, I give in. I’ve learned that the writing is NOT worthy if I write half asleep.

    Hope Clark
    http://www.FundsforWriters.com



  68. Neil Larkins on August 14, 2011 at 2:29 AM

    It would be easier to list what DOESN’T block my writing, a list that consists of zero entries…and I ain’t lyin’.



  69. Arlee Bird on August 14, 2011 at 2:12 AM

    Writer’s block is an excuse for being lazy or distracted. I’m never at a loss for things to write, but I often get off on a tangent of doing any other thing but write.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out



  70. Robin Lemke on August 14, 2011 at 2:04 AM

    I don’t believe in writer’s block, or writing every day.

    I think usually writers block means you have a story problem you need to work out. But I also believe in filling up the creative well, living life, and taking time away from writing if you need it. I find that the words I have to fight for are never as good as the ones I don’t.



    • Melissa Crandall on August 14, 2011 at 7:15 AM

      I find that true as well, Robin. I also find if I get a long stint of writing in, sometimes it’s hard to write the next day, like I’m waiting for the creative well to fill again.



  71. Olivia Newport on August 14, 2011 at 1:31 AM

    Brain clutter. Sometimes I have to dump some stuff out and make room for focus. That may mean taking a walk, making an emotional connection with a friend, getting something in my household in order. The clock may say I don’t have time for any of it, but if I clean off off my mental desk, I work more efficiently. Mostly I manage to power through until I reach a daily word goal.



  72. Martine on August 14, 2011 at 1:23 AM

    The first day of working towards a deadline is always hard for me. It’s like my mind is resisting the work ahead, even if I’ve been excited to start. I’ve been told it’s the procrastinator syndrome, and to an extent that’s true: as long as I have something I “should” be doing, I’m much more productive at everything else (I have weekly deadlines on my novella this summer, and I’ve solved many problems with my novel, written two flash fiction pieces and a short story), but once you have a set deadline, you have to get stuff done, and forcing myself to do it makes the work go slow. Once I’ve started though, I’m golden. The trick is just to get three sentences down.



  73. Harriet McDonald on August 14, 2011 at 1:12 AM

    I can rarely get any writing done during the daytime. My favorite time to write is during the night. Lucky for me my hubby is so understanding & supportive of my habit.

    I tend to let extended family obligations get in the way of my writing and find myself spread too thin. However, whenever I do settle to it, I can easily get lost in my work and, if nothing else, always do a bit of editing. My sweet little muse is usually swinging on my earring whispering in my ear and I can usually pound out new work with little problem. I’m one of the lucky ones who can just sit at my keyboard with fingers poised while my characters tell me what to write.



  74. Cheryl Barker on August 14, 2011 at 1:08 AM

    The times I have the biggest problem is when I’m trying to get started on a new article or chapter. If I can just get going, the rest comes much easier.

    I’m another one that has trouble writing when noise is going on or when I’m in a group. Group writing exercises are a challenge for me, especially when the leader continues talking after giving the assignment.



  75. Dianne on August 14, 2011 at 1:01 AM

    My unfriendly neighbors- I can hear them fighting, the intimate relations above me, doors slamming, laughter and conversation in the fire-hall. I have a sign that I put on my door stating ‘quiet please- writer at work’. Maintenance and management get a kick out of it. Unfortunately it’s about all that can be done to still the noise. I need to put one on the fire-door of my kitchen as well. That hallway is where most of the noise comes from.



  76. Julie Evans-Brown on August 14, 2011 at 1:00 AM

    I can put a story together in no time and get to almost finishing, when I just wake up one morning with can’t be bothered syndrome. I hate myself for it – totally, but always seem to get involved in friends problems and life in general. I can then go a week, a month or longer before returning to the text and finishing it.

    What I need is a good kick up the preverbial backside.



  77. Sarah on August 14, 2011 at 12:58 AM

    The internet. Facebook, blogs and email are never so compelling as when I can’t get a portion of my ms to work.

    However, my goal is to just keep writing. I remind myself the goal is to get words on the page. It doesn’t have to be good until I’ve revised it a few times. (And then a few times more!)



  78. Glynn on August 14, 2011 at 12:56 AM

    Constant interruptions, especially at work (writing is a large part of my job).



  79. BK Jackson on August 14, 2011 at 12:53 AM

    The day job—not time primarily, though that certainly is a factor, but the fact that the day job grinds me down to a pulp every day and it takes superhuman effort to dig deep and find a creative well afterward.

    However, I have gotten much better in the last few months about forcing myself to write something down each day–even if it’s only a few sentences.

    The bad side is, when you are sucked dry, the words you write can end up being royal junk. But at least I can edit royal junk that’s actually written down. Can’t do that if I don’t write. 😎



    • Sherri on August 14, 2011 at 8:50 AM

      I completely relate to this! I’m a hospice social worker and I love my job, but when our census goes up quickly and we have a high number of high need, high maintenance patients and families, it can suck the life right out of you. Some days, by the time I get home all I want to do is sit on the couch in a dark, quiet room and be quiet. On the other hand, I meet all kinds of people at work – lots of character studies and ideas for books there! For me it’s about trying to stay balanced. I think your idea of writing something each day – even a little bit – is great. It keeps us moving in the right direction, and you’re right – it is easier to edit when you have something to work with! 🙂



      • Marcy Kennedy on August 14, 2011 at 10:27 AM

        It’s nice to hear I’m not the only one whose “day job” gets in the way. I put mine in quotes because, although I’m technically self-employed as a writer and editor, I also help non-profits and charities apply for grant money.

        Juggling the 50-100 applications for each charity I’m working with, along with all the accompanying phone calls, applications, and fires that need to be put out, and then still having to work on the magazine article with the deadline fast approaching can leave little time or energy at the end of the day to write what I really want to be writing.

        So even though I write for a living, cases for support and magazine articles block me from working on my novel. It’s a great exercise in self-discipline to meet the goals I set for myself each week, but highly exhausting 🙂



I love words.

I love books and publishing and talking incessantly about them.

I love authors and all the intricacies of managing a writing life.

I sell. I negotiate. I coach. I brainstorm.

SIGN UP HERE TO OCCASIONALLY RECEIVE THE VERY BEST INFORMATION AND RESOURCES FOR AUTHORS
Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.