“Bad writers are bad because they stop too soon. In fact, let’s take a step back. The only quality, I think, that marks the writer as different from everyone else is simply an unwillingness to quit. Others give up when they learn writing is hard; the writer struggles on. When I sit down in front of the blank page, it’s no easier for me to fill it than anyone else. The non-writer looks at the blank page and — quite sensibly — says, ‘forget it, I’m outta here.’ But if they had to, they could put a few words down there — just like I do. Only the words wouldn’t be any good. So the non-writer gets frustrated, gives up and leaves. Me, too, I get frustrated… but I sit there, and work to make it better. Anybody who’s willing to struggle, I think, can write. The real work is to stick at it until you find the gold. To get to that funny line. To do the hard work no one else wants to do, but everyone wants to have done. To discover the great character bit, the clever story turn. Until you have it, you don’t have it. Until it’s there, it’s not there — and you need to stick at it until it is there.”
— Terry Rossario
It seems as though the only way to pull a writer out from the depths of absolute nothingness is to force a gun up to their head and tell them to write. It’s as if the stern actions from their jacked-up ridiculously terrifying action hero of a muse has the power to lift the verbal blockage that releases the most wonderful stories known to man. Why is it though that I have to force myself to write in order to overcome the mind boggling pause in my creative stream of consciousness?
A part of my ability to sit down, sans too much fidgeting in my chair, has a lot to do with where I decide to embark on the impeccable task of coming up with a story or written discussion. Apparently my muse is a lame hipster chic resurfacing herself in the most obvious of places because I’ve noticed that I’m more productive sitting in the sturdy wooden seats at Starbucks with a tall hot hazelnut latte with soy. Apparently a quiet and comfy house is too main-stream for my retro muse, because the only things I’m able to accomplish while staying at home are reading crime novels and watching old episodes of Doctor Who.
My mind tends to wonder off into far off places (particularly bad-lip-reading videos and Daily Grace videos on YouTube) and I can’t seem to concentrate on what really needs to be done. I have several stories waiting behind this massive obstruction filled with the finest elements of procrastination in my head, and instead of eagerly forcing their way out to be read by willing readers, they wait patiently for my distracted self to invite them out for coffee.
I’ve cleaned entire living spaces instead of finishing up academic papers and proposals, forgot about magazine articles while having a small photo shoot in my bathroom or spending way too much time on Tumblr, and have baked several cakes, batches of cookies and pies instead of writing the novels I’ve promised people I would write.
Procrastination is the bane of my existence as it actually hinders me from my most favorite thing that I love to do in life (as well as terrible grammar but that’s another blog post), and I find it incredibly frustrating to have to work through. I’m aware that it takes a fairly decent amount of will power for any writer to keep on writing, even though at times it seems as though it’s even more exaggerated with me. I feel as though the thoughts take longer to trickle down from my cerebellum and into the muscles and nerves in charge of rhythmically hitting plastic computer keys, although every writer finds their selves stuck at times with the infamous writer’s block. I do, however, hope to one day become better at overcoming this plaguing rhetorical hindrance that binds the mind. Writer’s block and procrastination may be the bane of my existence, but my love and passion for a practice almost torturous can lead me beyond it with many interesting completed projects.
One thought on “Writing Through Writer’s Block”
No writer could disagree with the ideas here. For my part I do my best only when I separate from the distractions and write a copy knowing it will need revision. then later I can make it better. I do it because I love to write, to put ideas down on the screen, and then to share them. I am continually amazed at the comments made by the critique group to improve the piece; they are usually right. every good novel was once a lousy one the writer made better, and better….