24 August 2015

I Can't Write Anymore

Sometimes I think that to myself. Ok, all the time. I can't write anymore. It's not that I don't want to--I really, really do. It's that I can't. I can't come up with ideas. I can't put words onto the page. Can't can't can't. 

Ok, if I really dissect that, I'll find it isn't true at all. I still come up with ideas. 90% of them may involve the same characters, but they are new ideas, at least. I've come up with a bunch of ideas for editing my book. I still somehow manage to write a blog post three times a week (mostly), although that can often be a struggle. I even wrote three paragraphs on Friday night. They were from a scene in Book 3 and I may not even use them, but at least it's something. 

But there's still that mental block that tells me I can't do it anymore. I remember in high school sitting at my desk with a notebook using every second of down time to get words onto the page. Why is that so hard now? I used to write poetry all the time, but I haven't in years. The ideas just don't come to me anymore. 

I know I have several different reasons for not being able to write. I know what they are, but I still can't bring myself to just push through them and do it. Maybe the answer is to just stop giving a crap about what other people think, or how horrible the words come out. I can always rewrite. And I can certainly just write something for me. Just keep working on it until I like it and then maybe try to send it out into the world and see if someone else does. 

As I'm writing this, I'm realizing that maybe that is my big hangup. I never write for me anymore. I try way too hard to get things perfect. I want the words to already be perfect in my mind before I even try to write them, so most of the time I just end up staring at the blank screen. I think I just need to not give a crap anymore. Write what I want and then see how it goes.


  1. It paralyzes you, the constant worry if someone is going to like what you write, especially if you've received a lot of negative feedback pertaining to the work in the past. It can seem like a huge waste of time... but it isn't.

    There are millions of readers out there, even discounting the ones who only read comic books or Oprah's recommendations. Writers often see writing as a competition because, after all, there are only SO MANY people who buy books... oh-my-god-what-are-we-gonna-do-must-destroy-anyone-writing-my-genre-and-be-a-bazillion-times-better... we forget how starved some people are for that one story which speaks to them. And we forget about people who read voraciously, readers who wade through words just to find a deeper place to dive.

    Millions of people who have different tastes, different desires.
    If you write it, there is someone who will read it. Not everyone will see the appeal or appreciate your work, but that's true of every artistic endeavor. Right now, the only person your writing should entertain is you, you're correct.

    If you hate your work, or fear taking risks, it will show,

  2. I think you just solved your own problem. Write for you, with no pressure to make it publishable or anything. Just enjoy.

  3. You're on to something. I know I write better when I'm writing for myself and not worrying what others will think.

  4. YES! You can always rewrite. Get the story down. Just write it and don't worry if your first draft is crap. Finish it and then begin revisions. Always write for yourself then edit for your readers. :) When you feel confident in your MS, give it to a few beta readers, one at a time. I'd be happy to be one of them and I'm super gentle because that's how I'd want people to be for me.

    Maybe you should blog less...like once or twice a week. That may help.

  5. It sounds like you found a solution - write something fun, for you! :)

  6. I write for me, although sometimes it's a slugfest to write what is needed versus writing to blow off steam. I have a lot of work related stress and sometime ago it released itself via a slush novel about serial killers. I don't like writing when I'm angry, so sometimes I will go a week or w/o writing until I can calm down enough to do it.

    Father Nature's Corner

  7. At least you have ideas! Just keep writing those paragraphs - you'll have something longer before you know it :-)

  8. You seemed to have solved your own problem and figured it out for yourself. Still, I know how overwhelming that feeling can be. I've often wondered what my own problem is. It's not like I have writers block. I have ideas - too many ideas sometimes. I can make lists, outlines, scene summaries , fill out plot worksheets , map out each beat - action and reaction for my next scene , but when I sit down to actually write it , I end up researching a setting or something insignificant or that can wait. I will do anything to avoid writing the scene and I believe you just solved my problem as well. I'm afraid of what it will read like, what others will think of it. I'm afraid of failure. Your post helped me more than anything has in a long time. Thank you.