Monday, April 20, 2015


...or How to Cure, or at least Smother, Writer's Block

It’s been a slow, dry spell. Muse has fled and the sugar-sweetness of your newest manuscript is like sour cherries, devoid of inspiration.

It happens to all writers. The day when the Voices move on leaving you flopping in the sun like a fish out of water.

Remedies follow:

First, a routine. Yes, punch in a time clock and follow it without fail. Let nothing get in your way. Pick a time and write. Or at least try.

Since Life has a way of interfering with our Voices, pick a reasonable time and try for a daily word count. My routine is something like this:
  • In Chair at 9 am
  • Stay there for two hours with minimal research time. I set a timer to keep myself from wandering Jamaica looking for surnames—stuff like that
  • In Chair at 1 pm. Two hours then a break. 

All of the above is subject to change. Mostly I write for longer than 2 hours or go back to it after 4 pm for blogging etc.

Second, talk with them Voices. Pick a character. Have a conversation, see where they want to go with their life. Let them unload on you about their problems or past history that causes them to act the way they do.

Non-writers make me laugh and not with a lot of humor. “What's hard about it?" they ask. "You sit, you write. All too easy."

Writers know the truth:
"Writing is easy: All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead." - Gene Fowler
"To say that a writer's hold on reality is tenuous is an understatement — it's like saying the Titanic had a rough crossing. Writers build their own realities, move into them, and occasionally send letters home." - DAVID GERROLD

And last:
Q. How many publishers does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A. Three. One to screw it in. Two to hold the author.

Keep writing. Otherwise the Voices will make your head explode. You know it's true.


  1. Three - hilarious!
    You can't wait for inspiration to hit. You just have to start writing.

    1. When a writer learns to open their eyes, inspiration is everywhere. Imagination is the key that open the lock.

  2. Talk about coincidence.

    I titled the post before finding the joke. Even then I didn't notice it until Alex mentioned it. HA.

  3. Routine is mighty important. Action before motivation. :)

  4. And sometimes just writing about what's bothering you helps. At least, it helps me.

  5. Yes, I'm thankful that I'm not the only one who lives inside my own world and occasionally sends a postcard.... Awesome post.

  6. Love your post. I'm a newbie writer and MAN is it hard!! The internet is a blessing and curse. I love having research (and a thesaurus!) right at my fingertips, but so are movie trailers and amazon shopping...

    You can find me here:

  7. Oh man. The schedule! I'm working on it. I quit my job about six weeks ago, but that was right before April A-Z (which as you mentioned a couple posts ago takes a TON of time, especially as a co-host). So I haven't really figured out what my 'process' is yet. Though if I can keep on with writing every morning like I have for A-Z I'll take that as a good habit to have built...


Your Turn. Don't Be Shy

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...