We’ve been talking a lot about writer’s block this week. Yay! Such an uplifting topic. It’s important to address, I think, because it’s something that all romance writer’s face from time to time. Of course, there are varying degrees of writer’s block and more causes than we can imagine. Writing is a cure for many ailments.
It soothes the soul, it helps you find peace, passion, and occasionally it helps you find profits too. Writing romance helped me end a marriage and begin a new life. It can be cathartic and it can be the process that finally breaks you down.
Writing can ruin you too – at least for a little while. It can cause you to face truths you don’t want to face and that, dear friends, is why sometimes rather than pushing through your writer’s block, as we talked about yesterday, sometimes you have to sit with it.
Sitting With Writer’s Block – Why?
Most of the time I recommend pushing through writer’s block. Do what you can to get words on the page regardless of how crappy they are because you’re a romance writer and that’s what you do – you write.
However, when the cause of your writer’s block is deep down, pushing through it won’t help you. The block will continue to surface and unless you face what’s causing it you may never really write again. Sounds dire, right? I suppose it can be.
So what do I mean by sitting with writer’s block?
I mean that instead of writing you might spend some time becoming more aware of the root cause for your block. For example, let’s use the example of someone I know. We’ll call her Beth. Beth loves to write. Stories are constantly pouring out of her until one day they stop. Or she says that they’ve stopped. Beth still considers herself a writer but she hasn’t written anything other than an email or a social media post in six months or more. She’s blocked, she tells me.
I ask Beth to think about why she’s blocked. I push and poke her to analyze her thoughts, actions, and emotions beyond the obvious. What’s really going on?
Beth realized, and this process took another month, that she wasn’t writing because she didn’t feel acknowledged. She’d written dozens of manuscripts and both traditionally published and self-published books and yet because she wasn’t getting the career and feedback that she’d hoped for, she ultimately began to feel like her writing didn’t matter. No one cared if she wrote so the words stopped coming.
That’s what I mean by sitting with writer’s block.
It requires you to ask yourself hard questions and to dig deep for the answers.
You then get to decide. You see this information is empowering. In Beth’s case she gets to decide why she writes she has to answer the question, “Would you continue writing if no one ever read a word you wrote?”
Because Beth enjoys writing. She enjoys the process of crafting stories and putting them onto paper. And ultimately when she realized that she’d write regardless of whether anyone read or praised her material, it was liberating for her. When you no longer need acknowledgment it takes the pressure off, she said. She can just write what she wants to write.
So what about you?
If you’re struggling with writer’s block are you brave enough to dig deep and find out why? Are you ready to answer the difficult questions?