A Writing Rut or a Brick Wall


This post is going to be a bit of me whining, and I’m sorry for that. I just need to get it off my chest.

I’m currently working on a story, or trying to work on a story, that should only wind up being 1,000 to 1,500 words long. Compared to NaNoWriMo, that is nothing. I’ve been working on this story for probably a month and a half. I have only 500 words so far. I feel so pathetic.

I’m not really sure what is holding me back. I have my story idea, I know where the story goes and where it ends, and I have shared my idea with my wife who thinks it’s a good idea. I just can’t get myself to write the dang thing!

I don’t think my internal editor is holding me back. Sure, he is chiming in from time to time, offering helpful tips such as “you suck” and “do you really think you’re a writer? who are you kidding, really?”

I also don’t think it is a lack of time. I have at least an hour a day to write during my lunch hour at work. That should be plenty of time for me to bang out at least draft one in a week. It hasn’t happened, though.

Maybe it’s procrastination? I have been known to have a problem with this, after all. Diane has written about this recently, and can probably relate. I know I want to write this story, and I know time is running out, but I can’t get myself to write the stinking thing. Arghhhh!

Yeah, that last one is probably my problem, mixed in a little with the internal editor thing. Any of you out there experiencing similar issues lately? I desperately need to snap out of this soon because it is killing my writing confidence…

18 thoughts on “A Writing Rut or a Brick Wall

  1. Maybe you are worried that the story really needs to be 2000 or 5000 words and you are already trying to shrink the story down. I would recommend just writing the story completely ignoring the word count. When you are done, see if you have something that works for the word count requirements. If not, polish it up and send it somewhere else.

    Good luck.

  2. I know exactly how you feel…. I KNOW I need to get on with my web site and Etsy store but do I do it? No. I continue to make books even though the end result is supposed to be to sell them but do nothing constructive towards achieving this. I have to ask myself ‘Am I afraid they won’t sell?’ or “Do I just enjoy the creative process more than the business aspect?’ or worst of all “Have my books become my babies and I can’t bear to lose them?” 🙂

    Maybe you are in a January slump and the onset of Spring will put new vigour in your step and inspire you. Or maybe you need to start something different and then come back to it?

    What do I know? Practice what you preach, Diane 🙂

  3. I wish I could offer you advice rather than company.

    I am so mad at myself for not being done with my NaNo story by now, 50,000 words in one month, and then since December 1st, I’ve added what, maybe 1,000. Why? I too know my story, I know where it goes, but any little question of detail I am unsure of, any how that lets me say to myself “you don’t know how”, just paralyzes me. And I know darn well the only thing to do is write through it, but I don’t. I’m not. I feel like a total loser, who will never get it done.

  4. Here are some tips I use when I get blocked:

    If you write on a computer switch to longhand and vice versa.
    Try changing your writing location.
    If you usually plot don’t, if you don’t plot give it a go.
    Write character background and world info for your story as warm up.
    Reread your fave short story to remind yourself why you want to write.
    Try writing something else entirely to get you going.
    Write the story as a screenplay instead of as straight prose then adapt it back into the format you need.
    Unplug your internet and telly, get your partner to hide all your unread books and turn your mobile to silent until you’ve done one draft.
    Set yourself an unspeakably indulgent reward for finishing the story (mine usually involves an expensive meal or cinema binge).

    Hope some of these help, I think you can find more over at the SFWA site.

  5. Whenever I get ‘stuck’ while writing a story, I let it go for a bit, try to put it on the back burner (although that is not always easy), and turn my hand to something else. Usually, as soon as I stop worrying over it, my mind floods with ideas and I am able to get writing again. Also,I think the word limit could be the problem, it’s quite hard to put everything into 1,000 – 1,500 words. My best short stories are usually around about the 3,000 word mark. 🙂

  6. HELP!!!!!!!!!!! How do you do that cool little block quote thingy? You know, when you have italics and then you have the faded quotations, or is that only your blog type? I’m trying to post an excerpt and I wanted to do that. 😦

  7. Anyway, about the post. Maybe it’s just a stage? Internal editor? You have that too? I have to force myself to finish something before I edit it because then I end up completely changing the story and botching up the plot. It’s awful.

  8. What a great company I’m in.
    Really, it is so encouraging to see that there are other people having same or similar problems…

    One word: community.

    Perhaps one just have to switch things off and stop thinking about current events as ‘failures’.

  9. Here’s a thought, how about instead of fretting about it (which is known to cause huge procrastination which makes even mowing the lawn look attractive…) why not just write a new story. When that’s done you may just find it easier to come back to this one. Sometimes one just has to deliberately walk away.

  10. Reading your post threw me back to the time that my daughter was a toddler. That was a wonderful and magical time. It is so exciting when they start having a personality. Thanks for the memories.

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