Tag Archives: writer’s block

It Will Come

There is nothing like a long, slow, quiet period for a writer when, well, nothing gets written. I’m not concerned — it’s not like writing earns me a living and now I’m eating crumbs. I enjoy writing. It’s like when you go to a party and you just kind of sit there and watch everyone, have a drink or two, nibble on some chips, and don’t really interact. That’s what I’m feeling as a writer now: just hanging out watching, with no desire to chime in.

It has nothing to do with discipline–I don’t view writing as a chore or a task.

It has little to do with paranoia, depression, or other mental distress. While they may certainly be in the context of my and other writers’ lives, that’s always been there even when I was writing 1000+ words a day.

It’s just a period now that I don’t feel anything about. As if I’m on writer’s prozac, and devoid of any feelings for or against writing.

Which is too bad, because I miss writing, I like writing, and I enjoy reading my writing.

What sucks about the whole process–and you’ve read this ad nauseum–is the self-promotion. I think perhaps I’ve spent myself on that front. The self-promotion, as contradictory as that may be, is what may have exhausted the last shred of creativity from my bones.

I know just as well as anyone the importance of cultivating an audience of likers of my work, so don’t lecture me about how I must keep on keepin’ it on.

And sadly, I just can’t write stuff enjoyably without knowing there will be an audience for it. It’s the feedback, the discourse, the criticism, the applause that makes the process of putting a story out into the world enjoyable.

Someone told me a few weeks ago to write an write and write and keep it on my harddrive until I feel ready to share it.

Nah. That just won’t do.

Until I feel like mingling in the party again–and that’s just a mood thing–I’ll just stand on the sidelines for a little while longer.

It’ll come. I know it will come.

Thanks for reading.


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I’ve been thinking long and hard why I haven’t been able to write creatively (or editorially) for the past several months. I refuse to use the term “writer’s block;” it is just not a term. For the time that I’m not writing, I can’t call myself a writer, so “writer’s block” doesn’t apply.

I keep saying that when I get another job, one that doesn’t suck the life out of me, that I’ll be in a better position to free up that part of my brain that enables me to write creatively. But I don’t know if that is true, so I can’t set my expectations there or else I’m headed for disappointment. And I need that like I need an addiction to crack.

At least for the time being, it’s hard to concentrate on a fictional narrative, given this all-encompassing “holiday spirit” we are all supposed to be engaged in this time of year. Why is it that in a time of giving we are so obsessed with what we don’t have?

What I do have is what will enable me to clear my head and write, because that is what gives me the fulfillment I crave as a writer. I don’t know that the old adage of poor, hungry, alcoholic, tormented artists empirically applies. Good narrative writing requires a lot of things and discontentment isn’t necessarily one of them (or else every depressed person would have an equal shot at being the next great author).

What a good writer does need is confidence and gratification in her writing. We can’t write with the objective of getting external validation, in which all too often we get wrapped up. Independent publishing is more than just doing it on your own — it’s about making all of the details of a writing career your own, answering to no one, and making the right judgments in how to go forward. Or not.

My inspiration for writing fiction comes from having the bandwidth to notice small details and insights in the course of my days–a ladybug crawling up the curtains, the dust on a ceiling fan, a veiled comment. It’s when I don’t have that bandwidth devoted to noticing and cataloging those details that I can’t seem to write. I’m not Agatha Christie so my stories don’t involve complex twists in plots. The stories I am most successful writing involve complex characters with specific traits, involved in compelling yet often mundane situations.

So I need to free up my bandwidth to enable those insights. I am clogged up with resentment (for my boss who lied about my compensation package), commuting details (like leaving at a specific time to allow delays in the downtown 4 Express subway), kid details (oh shit I have to bake cookies for my kid’s school xmas party on Thursday), grownup details (Chase bank is a lying, cheating, manipulative bank that holds my first and second mortgage and if I don’t call them out with a letter to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency they won’t issue a new escrow statement with a cancelled gap flood insurance policy). And more shit like that.

I have to somehow find a better way of dealing with all of those shit details, compartmentalize them, in such a way that I can still write. I’m letting them clog up my life. It’s like what practicing Kundalini Yoga is like, when the instructors teach you to unblock all the blockages, whatever the hell that means.

Somehow I have to do that. Somehow.


Thanks for reading. It’s good to be back.


Filed under commentary, essay