Friday, May 04, 2012

Pass the Plumber's Rods

Writer's Block.

I am blocked. I think I can stop using other excuses after a year and five months and admit to myself that I am good and blocked and I need to do something drastic about it. You can see I'm blocked by the fact this post is a few days late... Trouble is, when I feel like this, I don't want to do anything writerly. I avoid my online friends, (because they are all writing and there's only a certain number of time before they get fed up with asking about the WIP), I don't want to promote, because I have nothing coming up--it's a bit of a dark spiral into depression, to be honest.

I've been stuck on a Work in Progress, set in 1922 England for well over a year now. I should have finished it (to my own deadline) in December 2010, but I didn't quite do it--being about five chapters short of ending it--and here we are 17 months later and I'm hardly more than two chapters further along.

Oh, granted in that time I have done other stuff, but it's nothing to be proud of. One published short story (let's be honest, I could have written one short story a month, at least, just to keep busy) and a few started new WIPs.

The reason I haven't continued with the new WIPs, even though I've found them interesting and compelling is that I don't want to end up with several unfinished manuscripts. I'm notorious (in my home life) for starting things with great enthusiasm but petering out and losing interest and the thought of that happening to my writing frightens me to death. I don't want this to be a nine day (or even, as it really has been, a nine year) wonder.

So what can I do to push on, get this albatross off from around my neck and get on with something else?

1. Stop playing online games obsessively, for a start.
2. Turn off the internet for two hours a day?
3. Give myself smaller targets. Better, surely to write 300 words a day until I'm back in a groove than to write nothing for 17 months.
4. Use Write or Die, this seems to motivate me (if I can motivate myself hard enough to open Word in the first place, that is!)

As to what causes it with me, I don't really know. I had the same problem when I was writing Transgressions. I just stopped for two years, but at least I was then writing fanfic, so keeping my juices flowing as it were. I wonder if it's a fear that my next book won't be anywhere as well-liked as my last book (Junction X) and then I think that that's stupid, because of course it won't be, but you still have to try and do better and better each time. I know it's not a problem with plots and such drying up as I have more projects in my head and in my WIP folder than I'll ever be able to write, and I am inspired anew every day, so it's not that.

All I know is that I'm sick of it.

Does anyone else have problems like this? I dread to ask, because I know the answer will be no - you lot are all writing!

Wish me luck! I'm going to get the lunch started and then write.

I hope...
Erastes is the penname of a female author living in Norfolk, England with 3 cats and a mad dog. She writes gay historical novels and short stories with gay themes from many genres. Her two books for Carina are: Muffled Drum (Austro-Prussian War) and A Brush with Darkness (19th Cent. Florence) Her website is and she can be found easily on Twitter and just about everywhere else.


Marin McGinnis said...

You are definitely not alone. I too am famous at home for starting things with great enthusiasm, and then a year, two or three down the road, I have lost interest and the supplies I gathered for whatever it was start to gather dust in the basement.

I dread the same thing happening with my writing, and I have been where you are, for over a year until just a few weeks ago.

I have a critique partner now, and I owe her 10-15 pages every week, which helps keep me on track. When I start to lose interest, I do a little research on some obscure topic related to my WIP and get myself back into the game. And Write or Die is a fabulous tool!

I have not finished, let alone published, anything, but my fear of failure and passion for my story keeps me slogging away.

Good luck to you - may your muse deign to stop by again soon.

Elyse Mady said...

It happens. I know this first hand. Creativity isn't one of those things you can turn on or off. Give yourself time to recharge and do something that you love and the words will come again. And on the plus side, when you write historicals, even with a delay, you never have to worry about it going out of date!