Difficulty writing, and what I need to do about it. (Suggestions are welcome.)

Lately I've been having a hard time sitting down to write. I've written about this before, I know, but it has since become worse, to the point of complete stagnation in my writing. As some of you know, I recently decided to shelve The Sometimes Sword, of which I was on the third draft. You can read about it here. I have started work on a new book, but I find myself wondering sometimes if I'm really cut out for this. I have always heard (and I have said myself) that a writer has to slog forward, and just do it. It's good advice for sure, logical and all that. But it misses an important point. What if you can't slog forward, because you can't seem to put your fingers on the keyboard? What if every time you sit down you feel sick, and ashamed? What if so many doubts clog your brain that you can't seem to recall any words other than self-recriminations?

Can I really call myself a writer when I let two, three months go by without actually, you know, writing? Thankfully as of today I started once more on writing the actual words of my new first draft, but how long will that last? How long until I look at what I've done and start hating it?

My goal right now, and it feels so inadequate, is to write at least once a week. This is a far cry from 5 pages a day like my last book. But with school and work I'm mentally exhausted every night. (I hate you Philosophy 1200.) It feels like writing would be a bad idea most of the time. I rationalize that the stress isn't worth it, that I as an adult can choose to do what seems to be the easiest thing in the evenings, and if that's not writing, then so be it.

Somehow, I know that's all wrong. I know it is. But it persists. Does anyone have suggestions, or even similar thoughts? I want to hear about them, and maybe what you are doing to overcome them.


  1. I barely attempt to do anything photography related on weeknights. I know it's not the same, since I don't have "homework" for work. But weekends are generally the easiest time for me to get in my hours at the computer.

  2. Sometimes I only write once a week. I just do it when I can, otherwise I get too overwhelmed and then I feel like a horrible writer.

    I am still embarrassed to say that I'm a writer. I hated writing and grammer growing up, but I have a story that I want to tell and I want to be a better writer.

    Remember why you want to tell your story, and don't push yourself. Write when you can. Once a week is a good goal, if you do it. Then eventually you will go on writing sprees where you write every day.

    You now have entered the roller coaster of writing. You write like crazy and can't type fast enough, and then, after a while, you slow down and don't write, then you feel bad that you didn't.

    The high of writing will come again. Just be patient.

    ps sorry it's such a long comment.

  3. Honestly, some of the best writing advice I've heard from John Green.

    If you haven't watched his videos (not all of them are about writing, but there are a whole handful), they're pretty awesome. In one of them, he's asked about his writing process. He states that during the first few drafts of his books, he gives himself permission to suck. Which is probably some of the best advice about writing ever.

    Don't be so hard on yourself for not being able to write more than once a week. I'm lucky if I get that often.

  4. I wish I had an answer for you. I don't write much myself these days (although I write a lot for the work I do). Best I can say is keep at it, and if you can't work on a novel, try a short story, or a scene, or vignette, or whatever.

  5. I don't at all mind long comments. Like some of you said, I do think it's a matter of not being so hard on myself. Unfortunately, I know what happens when I don't push myself hard: failure. I'm just getting tired of pushing is all.

    As for writing smaller things, I have been playing around with that. I recently wrote the beginning of two possible books, just small 10-15 page scenes that helped me explore some different character types and so on. Hopefully I keep that up.

  6. I love writing but I don't do it very often and every idea I have I can't develop more than a few pages...the words just won't come out. I find it helpful to walk, helps me to think a lot. I usualy walk home from work and it gives me the opportunity to think about my day and my interactions with others, which sometimes gives me a few ideas, but then I get home and it's all gone. It doesn't help having a crap memory as I do. I also find it useful to see pictures and drawings from other people, sometimes I find myself checking the Deviant.art website which has loads of brilliant art work from so many gifted people. They do make me wonder and make up somethings about them. It is awfuly difficult to write, I would love do it for a living but can't see that happening. If I got the ideas it is neither the right time or place, if I got the time I don't know what to write... Not easy at all. Another thing I think makes all more complicated is that I don't have much knowledge bout specific things that have nothing to do with my job, so I find that I have to investigate every little thing as I'm afraid to write something wrong or silly. It all seems way too silly anyway and I end up giving up. As I read your post I immediately thought about answering cause I share the same worries. Hopefully one day we'll overcome this. Best of luck! x

  7. Marta, I'd just like to say one thing: don't give up! I know how ridiculously hard it is to try and keep a story in your head (and how overwhelming it is), but just as I am finding, patience and practice will pay off!

    If you feel so inclined, try setting aside time to specifically write down ideas, even if it's just 5 minutes each night. Keep building on it, then you won't find all your writing ideas gone from your head. Start out small, write some one page stories, or poems.

    Thanks for visiting and speaking up!