Thursday, October 6, 2011

The writer that doesn’t write

Most writers experience writer’s block at some time. Truthfully, I don’t think that is my problem. I have ideas for stories. I start stories. I just don’t finish stories. I lose interest. (The curious part is, while I don’t write, I still think about them.)

My nephew got married on the 1st. My brother, his father, made the most wonderful speech about how much Justin means to him and how proud he is of all his accomplishment. I later learned that I wasn’t the only one brought to tears.

I sat down that evening to capture my feelings to share with all my friends. You haven’t seen it because I didn’t write it. I have my memories of it, but I know they will fade over time. Yet, I cannot force myself to write it.

Deb Dixon’s fantastic presentation at an LCRW sponsored conference had me chomping at the bit to write my novel. I got the spreadsheet filled in. I have a new white board with ideas and scene outlines. And I have lost interest.

Another short story, what I feel most comfortable writing, is off to a start that has everyone I have shown it to excited. It sits. I just don’t have the interest to work on it.

So, I critique. I am comfortable critiquing. I presume that not everyone is blowing smoke when they say they like what I return. (You are very likely to receive 1000 words of opinion on your 3500 word manuscript.) I do get satisfaction from this portion of writing. But, it seems the best I can hope for is to be mentioned in someone’s forward to their novel.

Don’t get me wrong, I know all the platitudes: Butt in the chair; write, write, write; writers write; perspiration trumps inspiration; etc.
My issue, I have lost the desire to write. I’m not sure how to get that back.


  1. Sometimes that happens to me, too. I have a lot of unfinished work as well. I think the ratio goes 1:150. (One piece of finished work for every one-hundred-fifty I lose interest in.) Sometimes I get my groove back by rereading something I wrote and playing around with it to change it enough so that it runs off in an unexpected direction. Then I want to know what comes next. If I plot, I get bored. I like the uncertainty of how something might turn out. Even as I'm creating it. It's like when I draw in pen. If I make an error with a line, I try to see what I can turn it into. A lion gnawing at a bone might now be chomping on roses. A snake slithering through grass might be entering a witch's house instead. That kind of thing. And writing is like that, too. That's what delights me and keeps me going. If you think about it, if you're bored with where the story is going, the reader will be too. So I guess what I'm saying is, if you like your characters, pick up the story from the place you first began to lose interest and "draw" something different from it. Maybe a nice character is evil. Or an evil character is doing something for another's well-being. At any rate, critiquing is well and good, but don't stop creating as well.

  2. Lots of things can get the brain stuck in the muck. You could be stuck partly, like me, because the ideas haven't gelled enough deep inside you so your brain fights you to physically write until you've figured something out. You're ideas are still percolating and forming since you're still thinking about them. When the right idea, connection or moment grabs hold of your shorts and tugs tight enough you'll get moving. Until then, if you're still thinking about your stories then you're still moving forward to their completion so keep your chin up.