Using Writer’s Block as an Excuse to not Write

by RS on February 7, 2011

For the past month I’ve been nursing a cold and flu and I’m finally much better, but getting sick wreaked havoc on Julius by crashing into a solid wall of so-called writer’s block.

I tried to maintain some sort of creative energy via reading and watching several movies, but I was guilt-ridden that I wasn’t writing anything new for Julius. The problem was that a part of me did not want to scrap what I had already written despite it wasn’t working at all for the story. But yesterday, after re-reading the first three chapters of Theodore Draper’s The Roots of American Communism, I realized I had some factual errors that needed to be fixed so I went back to revision mode and then KAPOW! An epiphany: Stop holding on to material that doesn’t work at all for the story.

Many writers argue that writer’s block doesn’t exist that it’s used an excuse to not work. After much thought about this, I have to agree. Although I said right in that first paragraph that my cold and flu brought on a side case of writer’s block, the truth was that I didn’t feel well enough to write, and I was feeling lazy, and I was harboring the idea that I could somehow finesse what I previously wrote through revisions and not have to throw it out.But that wasn’t the case, and once you admit yourself that what you wrote isn’t moving the story forward and you can say so long to all those chapters that’s when the so-called writer’s block magically disappears. It’s actually very liberating.

So now that I’ve come to this realization, I’m happy with the idea of starting over, and I have several new ideas that make much more sense for the story. And now it’s time to mush on forward. I have a book to finish.


Writing Challenge:  WRITER’S BLOCK
  1. Second Tuesday 2: Words Shy of Daylight – Alberta Ross
  2. 12 & a ½ Ways to Deal with Writer’s’Block – Ruchira Mandal
  3. Second Tuesday – Writer’s Block – Patti Larsen
  4. Iain the Cat opines on Writer’s Block – Jeannie
  5. Using Writer’s Block as an Excuse to not Write – Rebeca Schilller
  6. Writer’s Block – Gary Varner
  7. Second Tuesday – Writer’s Block and the Tooth Fairy – Annetta Ribken
  8. Writer’s Block or Writer’s Withdrawal – Eden Baylee
  9. Breaking Past Writer’s Block – Elise VanCise
This post is part of a monthly writing challenge known as “Second Tuesday,” written by members of the Fellow Writers’ Facebook group. Click on any link above to read another “Second Tuesday” post. Enjoy!

7 comments
Ruchira Mandal
Ruchira Mandal

I always start over when something isn't working, but as I write shorter pieces than novels, I guess it's easier for me to do. Good Luck with 'Julius'!

Eden Baylee
Eden Baylee

It's so hard to start over, but sometimes it's necessary. I applaud you for coming to this realization and not continuing to build upon a weak foundation. Eventually, it would've come tumbling down. By doing this now, you have saved yourself aggravation by proactively deciding to change course. It's a brave step you've made Rebeca, and you should be proud of yourself for doing it.

alberta ross
alberta ross

getting rid of what doesn't work , add, or move the writing foward can be so hard - words have come from you seem precious somehow - takes courage I think to eliminate them - a lesson to remember - to think of it as a liberation is a liberation as well.

Jeannie
Jeannie

I loved the part about liberating yourself from material that doesn't move the piece forward. I found your piece to be very refreshing and an example whereby a little "rest," i.e., Writer's Block, produced some clear thinking, an epiphany, and you were able to move past something that had clogged your way for so long. I think that any time we use a certain part of our brains for too long, they get over-extended and weary just like our muscles when over-exercised. A rest is needed then a revelation occurs. Well done, you.

Gary
Gary

I would agree w.b. doesn't exist as it's own cause...but as we are all human and at times want to shift blame elsewhere, so w.b. acts as a place to shift responsibility. Truth is, we get blocked largely because we get in the way in some fashion: ego, guilt, self-sabotage, and as you noted, sometimes like the monkeys the African tribesmen catch while the monkey's fist is clenched around the tasty termites in the mound and refuses to let go, despite the imminent danger. Glad you found away out of things! (And hope your bouts of icky-sicky are things of the past now!)

Patti Larsen
Patti Larsen

Yay, Rebeca! As much as it sucks to be sick... sometimes the heart needs time to get the truth across to the ego... bravo! Fear and guilt are so addictive... we'd rather feel guilty and keep feeling that way and complain about it than do something to fix it. So happy for you!

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