Writer’s Block

A piece of the travertine marble with which they built The Getty Center.

There, I said it.

Antipasta said it last week when we met.  She named it writer’s block.

I have to say that for me it’s a little like being a creative zombie.  I’m still moving, words are still hitting the page and screen.  But there’s no real life behind them.

Here’s another metaphor for you: it’s also like a crisis of faith.   All the changes in the publishing industry have seen long time players dropping out or running scared.  Maybe the era of the hardbound book is drawing to a close.   I don’t know what to strive for anymore.

I know that you can’t think about the work as a product.   You have to write what matters to you, publishing be damned, and then see if it floats.  Having my first novel win me an agent and make the rounds of some pretty impressive publishers, and be rejected as “too quiet” started the slide down the slippery slope of trying to please some unknowable teacher.

Since then I’ve written a NaNoWriMo novel called Basura Canyon and worked on a memoir for more than a year.  I’ve had some short pieces and photography published, but… I’m not sure whether to go back to one of these projects and give them the respect and attention they need, or to start something new.

Anyway, I’m working on getting my mojo back, and I’ve tried not to whine about it publicly too much.  Those of you who have tried to recommend books to me lately know that my fussiness has extended to my reading life, too.  I’ve found it really hard to get into novels lately.

Okay, so then this morning, just when I was considering whether or not to write about this on my blog, I hit PUBLISH instead of DRAFT and there you have it.  I sent out a few lines to my blog subscribers.

Now it’s time to go clear  my head in a Zumba class.  I’m going to dance my frustrations away for an hour and get out of my head.  Aren’t you glad I can’t go on and on about this?

p.s. If anyone has any ideas about how to stop this stupid inward spiral, please do tell.

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5 thoughts on “Writer’s Block

  1. Hydra says:

    When my brain fell out of my ear hole this morning, landed on the floor, and you took its picture; I thougt you said you just keep it between us. I didn’t know you were going to post the picture on your blog. I’m so embarrassed. I’m xonfident you’ll get your mojo back because it never left. You’re always writing so been there all along.

  2. Sundry says:

    Aw..thanks. Are you saying you’re a blockhead? Dude, give yourself more credit.

  3. RuthG says:

    The only way I know how to edge out of writer’s block is to start decorating the block–as you’re doing here by writing about it so beautifully.

    I’m betting that you’ll word-paint all over it & find yourself on the other side very soon.

  4. Honestly, I can’t give much advice on the subject because I haven’t had writer’s block in years — one of the few writing related problems I haven’t had. I’ve been thinking about that, and I suspect it might be because I like to write escapism in my fiction: relatively light, frothy stuff designed for entertaintment for than enlightenment. If that’s true, then I would suggest you throw yourself into some project that takes a bit of the emotional load off: Action/adventure, a good mystery, or something humerous. It might work …

  5. Sundry says:

    RuthG – Thanks, I hope so. Maybe some other art forms are in order for a bit. Does biscotti-making count? 😀

    Mark – Yeah, that’s a good idea. I keep wanting to change the world. You just gave me an idea…. hmmm. And reminded me that a woman I shared a writing workshop with for years once told me that she loved the way I said I was “playing” with stories. I think my idea that I have to treat writing like a part time job was good thinking time-commitment wise, but may have gradually drained the fun out of it.

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