I’ve been known to comment on various blogs: “I’ve never had writer’s block. I have no shortage of things to write about or the desire to write them. If I’m not writing, I’m chewing on it.”
Ok. In January I blew through 20 chapters of a first draft. Four weeks and done, rough edges and all. February wasn’t so kind. I hit the wall at chapter 12, a nut that took 10 days to crack. I couldn’t deliver background on a lesser character. Frustrating, because I could easily write what I wanted to write. But it was information my narrator couldn’t have known.
I faced options: cut the material; drop the character; change the narrative position; re-write, re-write, re-write. It sucked. It was basically 10 days of 100 words here, 100 words there, a bleed on the train, a grueling transcription by night, one step forward, two steps back. It was hard. It was hard work.
Writing isn’t easy. Writing is hard work. It’s mental and it’s physical. Do yourself a favor: don’t belittle the craft by referring to tough moments in craven terms. If you’re really writing — not just not-writing-while-wishing-you-were-a-writer-and-calling-it-writer’s-block — try thinking like an athlete.
You’re the fighter on the ropes. The Ironman in Kona’s crosswinds. The Mavericks surfer getting pummeled ’til your lungs split.
Writer’s block? You’re fighting off blows, pedaling against resistance, climbing to the surface because the next wave’s coming and you need air. Don’t kid yourself. Writing is hard. It can be physical, just as endurance sports are mental. You might achieve some kind of glory, if only in your mind. But there are going to be grueling days and nights and weeks when your production hits a wall.
That’s not writer’s block. That’s writing.