this is a self-indulgent post

‘Round about 1999, I had a terrible case of writer’s block. I didn’t write a thing that I didn’t hate for six months or so. When I refer to this episode, I always call it the Bad Nasty Evil Writer’s Block, because it made me so miserable that when I finally did start writing again (and not hating it from word one) my coworkers noticed, to the point that my manager said, “You’re writing again, aren’t you?”

Since then I read an article (which I think I’ve mentioned and linked to before, but here it is again) about how writer’s block is basically an invention of the Romantics, when the process of creation was thought to be passive, something received by the artist, instead of active, something done by the artist. The gist of the article is that writer’s block is another name for stress or depression or fear of failure or fear of success.

Since reading this, I’d decided I don’t believe in writer’s block. I didn’t feel there’s a need to put a fancy name on what’s perfectly normal: people get stressed, people get depressed, people get worn down by everyday concerns. Accepting that this is normal and will pass has helped me a lot in keeping the bad writing days to a minimum for the past several years.

Now. What does this have to do with anything? It’s this: my May output was dismal, and my June output has not been much better. Worse than that, when I think about writing anything my reaction is basically DUN WANNA.

For a writer to DUN WANNA for writing, this is . . . very bad.

I’ve tried not to push it. I’ve written a little, I’ve not forced stories that didn’t feel ready, I’ve read, I’ve done peripheral things like research or messed around with graphics to use another part of my brain. I’ve also acknowledged that this is a genuine block with a genuine cause (or quite a few of them, really: I don’t want to go into it here but in sum, things are not as serene as I’d like at Casa de Jenna.)

Still, it’s a gloomy prospect that my Year of Prolific has not turned out to be quite as prolific as I’d hoped. And if it continues it’s going to cause some problems: I have an MS due in October and I’m determined to get a rough draft of the movie finished before the year is out, to say nothing of all the little things I’ve wanted to write and haven’t been happy with.

Someone on Twitter linked to this post this morning, which is full of good advice, but also things I already knew and have been doing or trying to do.

I don’t know if talking about it helps or makes things worse, to be honest. I’d rather be upfront about it than not, but it’s always a question for me if I’m trying to genuinely be open about things or if I’m just being self-indulgent and “woe is me.” I mean, whenever I say “I have writer’s block” I always picture throwing myself dramatically on a divan with a lacy handkerchief and demanding bonbons to make up for my horrible state of mind. And I don’t own a divan. Or a lacy hanky, for that matter.

Though, hugs would not go amiss. Just sayin’.

Anyway. Attempts at not stressing have not helped, because I have a lot to stress about. Reading my comfort lit has not helped, though my comfort lit is always fun in other ways. Taking a break has not helped, because the DUN WANNA continues. And so on and so forth.

I’m not sure what the next thing to do is and I need to figure it out. I’ve got deadlines to meet.

Mirrored from Jenna

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