Tag Archives: writer’s block

No Rush

12 Jan

I’m not writing lately. Well, I’m writing right now, but it’s not the kind where you shut yourself up in a room and write for so long that your shoulders hurt. I used to do that. Before the pandemic hit, I did it so much that I actually finished a novel. It’s been almost three years since my pub date (that’s legit industry lingo in case you’re interested) before everything stopped in its tracks before it got started.

Mind you, I’m not complaining here. My little book has actually done pretty well for a first time author, and is still selling consistently. I’m merely trying to explain how the pandemic and it’s after affects have kept me in a sort of limbo where I can’t seem to move on. I’m still so distracted that I longer have the focus and determination I once had. Where I used to be able to set goals, my brain now meanders around with no organization or end game in sight.

I have oodles of ideas swimming around in my head for a new novel, as well as several developing characters who speak to me often. I try my damnedest to ignore them, but they poke me in the ribs as I play that final Words with Friends game before I fall off to sleep. They’re there in the morning as I groggily drink my coffee, urging me to head upstairs to my computer and write something about them.

“Tell our story!” they scream.

I try to appease them. “Just give me one sec—I swear I’ll write something. I’m going to have another cup of coffee and then I promise—I’ll write about you. But first I need to check my phone.”

A three-mile walk, a trip to the grocery store, lunch with a friend, followed by five hours of teaching piano lessons, and the day has eroded like the southern California coastline.

Not a single word written.

Intellectually, I know that all writers go through dry spells—most are honest about this common dilemma and are able to offer themselves some grace. Unfortunately, I carry a familial genetic marker that makes me repeat to myself the ridiculous lie that I’m a worthless loser. I feel such pressure to prove that I can write another book—that I’m not a one-trick pony.

For once I’m pleased that I have age on my side, and the wisdom to know that I can and will get through this slump. And lucky for me, those friends in my head who want to come to life will not leave me alone until I give them their rightful spot on the page.

Anne Morrow Lindbergh said it well:

“In general, I feel, or I have come to feel, that the richest writing comes not from the people who dedicate themselves to writing alone. I know this is contradicted again and again but I continue to feel it. They don’t, of course, write as much, or as fast, but I think it is riper and more satisfying when it does come. One of the difficulties of writing or doing any kind of creative work in America seems to me to be that we put such stress on production and material results. We put a time pressure and a mass pressure on creative work which are meaningless and infantile in that field.”

Breathe, Jess. There’s no damn rush.