6 Months of Writer’s Block

Mary E. Nolte

I want to write about not being able to write.

In March, after months of wrestling with it, I turned in my would-be novel as my thesis for my Master’s degree. In April I sat down in front of a board of three people whom I respect greatly and talked about it. I passed my thesis boards, I got my MFA in Creative Writing, and then…..

I put it down and never picked it back up. I thought, at first, that this would be a momentary lapse in writing, that it was just a short break of a month or so and then I would start where I had left off and finish it. Because that’s the thing, it isn’t finished at all. It’s 36,156 words of a novel with a giant hole in the middle where I just couldn’t figure out the plot.

Where Have You been
Poor thesis sitting on my bed waiting to be read

 

And the truth is, it wouldn’t even bother me that I haven’t picked up my novel in six months except that I haven’t done much short story writing, either. I have written just two new short stories since March, and both are nowhere near being finished.

I’ve been fighting with myself over this lapse in my fiction writing. Part of me wants to believe that to be a successful writer, I need to be spending part of my day every single day writing. The other part of me knows that there’s a chance I’m just not that kind of writer – that I’ve always been and might always be prone to these lengthy breaks and that everyone’s process is different.

The point is that I’ve been wrestling with this for a while. I quit my office job and told everyone there that my plan was to work on my novel. Get published. (Become a famous author)

And I haven’t picked up my book since March. March.

But I’ve tried really hard to be productive. When I couldn’t write, I rebuilt my website. I journaled. I started blogging, which has been a different way of writing, and for me, a very enjoyable one. I’ve gone through nearly all of my possessions and gotten rid of a lot of things that I don’t need. I edited and submitted a lot of short stories. I’ve spent a lot of time hiking. I haven’t done too bad.

And while I think that space is good, I think that it won’t be too long before I lose my Allie and my Bill (main characters in my book) forever. So, this week, I’m going to try and read it. I’m going to sit down and open up the pages of the thesis I bound for myself and simply read it as if it is a novel I found in the library. And the writing will come, eventually. Or I’m hoping. I’ll let you know.

Is anyone else out there suffering from writer’s block? Can anyone help me see the light of productivity at the end of the tunnel?

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5 thoughts on “6 Months of Writer’s Block

  1. I laid a novel down nearly six years ago…then the other day, I made a comment on another blog about the need for more female heroes in Hollywood movies and… BAM! A spark fired off a thought which evolved quickly into an idea… I started plugging away into my notes on my phone and the flow of ideas quit. I mentioned this to another writer who suggested I go old school. I grabbed a pencil and a notepad. I had to coax it out at the beginning but…the flood waters started and haven’t stopped. I don’t have a degree. I’m not proficient with grammar. I’m a recovering author who’s dream was squelched by a teacher in my youth. It took twenty five years for me to discover it again. Another instructor in an English 238 -Creative Writing class at a local college lead me back to my first love. He did more for me, in helping to discover genuine personal growth, than words could ever convey. His class was so paramount to me, not my unfinished major, I re-enrolled. I love reading, always have. I have stories in my heart that compel me to tell them. And I have gotten completely off target…I have no idea what techniques you use but a comment, a pencil, and a notepad (not my iPad 😳) worked for me. I wish you well in your endeavors. I enjoyed reading your post and wanted to encourage you. Godspeed to you breaking through your writer’s block.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for commenting! I honestly write almost everything by hand first. It just feels more intimate, and I can’t get distracted. I’ve written things on the computer and it never feels as good as what I’ve handwritten.

      It is very encouraging to hear other writer’s stories! I need to just bite the bullet and get back into the swing of things. Maybe I just needed a little break 😊

      I wish you well in your endeavors too! Good luck with your book! You’ve already got me intrigued with the more women heroes thing!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I totally feel your pain. I have experienced some writer’s block – what I found that helps is that I make a habit out of writing. Every single day – even if it’s the last da*n thing I want to do on Earth. Another thing that helps me is to plan out my outline with note cards. So if I’m really feeling a block, I can skip a note card and come back, or at least I sit down every day and have a plan as to where my writing needs to go.

    You just have to find something that works for you. It took me a while – but once I found a rhythm, I actually look forward to writing. It’s tough to do something where no one on the outside is pushing you (or even believing in you) it all has to come from self-motivation.

    I know you’ll break through it!! Good luck and happy writing!

    Like

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