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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Insecure Writers Support Group March 5, 2014

Today is the first  Wednesday of the month, which means it is IWSG day. The once-a-month blog hop started by Alec Cavanaugh . IWSG = Insecure Writers' Support Group (click the words to visit)

 We share our insecurities and support each other with empathy, sympathy or practical suggestions. 

One of the great joys of writing is the feeling of ideas flowing, thoughts coming together, racing through your fingertips onto the keyboard and into the manuscript, flooding the pages.  It's as exhilarating as careening down a snowy hill on a sled, or putting a horse at a jump, knowing - just knowing - that you can't miss.

You are the ruler of the universe, the spinner of stories, the Tale-Teller, the Seannachie - you can hold people spellbound... Well, you can hold yourself spellbound at any rate...  Those are the moments, rather like Runner's Euphoria, that buoy us up and keep our fingers tapping on the keyboard.

...but then there are the moments, weeks, months, maybe years, where you squeeze out a chapter here and a chapter there, and it is like trying to squeeze the last bit out of a half-dry toothpaste tube.  And just about as enjoyable.  You know you want to write, but you find that you can't write.  Or else that the joys of Tetris far outweigh the joys of putting words together. 

You sit there about as useful as a rusty old water pump.  Lots of creaking and no juice.

What to do?  

I attended a small writer's conference years ago.  The first I ever attended.   I got a lot out of it, and I still have my notes.  Talks about characters, about where to get ideas, a funny chat on surreptitiously writing things down on napkins in restaurants.  Someone asked this particular speaker how he worked through writer’s block.  His answer, completely serious, was unexpected based on his talk up to then. 

He said,
“I can’t afford to have writer’s block.  If I don’t write, I don’t get paid.  So if I hit a stone wall, I write through it.  Anything.  If it’s a scene, I mock something up.  But I write and move on.  I don’t let myself get stalled.  Once I get my momentum up, I can always turn around and fix what I did.  But I don’t have the feeling that I am somehow stopped.” 

It’s a good thing to think about.  At the moment I’m a rusty pump.  Frankly, I think I have a slight case of burnout, since I am working on a story that had been fixed in my mind for a long time.  I was familiar with it, comfortable with it – but suddenly I was seeing ways that the plot could go, sidelights to the main character’s history and personality, new ways to deepen things – and I was simply tired.

I may take a day’s break.  Or not.  I may just plow through.  Write even if it’s just 700 words of my notes to myself about what I think might be happening.  Just write.

...Like I said before, without insecurities, would we be real writers?


This is a blog hop with lots of good participation.  Go forth and read!


  1. I find my inspiration varies from day to day, but I write through it because the alternative is not writing at all and that leaves me feeling blue.

    1. Hi, Johanna -
      It's true! Even if it's something I'd be embarrassed to put my name to, putting out *something* is an achievement.

  2. I agree, if you write anything at all, it's better than nothing. Eventually, you'll create something that you like. Writing is like other skills-the more you write, the more you improve.

  3. I understand the fear of losing momentum, but I think it's important to have some down time as well. Sometimes, you need quiet moments to really think about the story and where it needs to go. :)

  4. I love that writers attitude to writers block. Now, if only I could adopt that kind of thinking myself ...

  5. This is good advice. Sometimes I refuse to plow through because I dread going back for the redo. Yet every time I've forced myself to set words down, no matter how bad, it always pays off in the long run. Hope you get your groove back soon!