So you think you know writer’s block?

Many people are familiar with the basic concept of writer’s block. For those who don’t, it is a condition known to writer’s that ends in missed deadlines as a result of your characters going on strike. When they fail to work, fail to move, fail to assist you as their creator, you suffer.

A quick image search for “Writer’s Block” brought me one-third of a s’more?
Photo from NabiscoWorld.com

Wikipedia claims: Writer’s block is a condition, primarily associated with writing as a profession, in which an author loses the ability to produce new work.
Dictionary.com writes: writer’s block (noun) a usually temporary condition in which a writer finds it impossible to proceed with the writing of a novel, play, or other work. Most claim it to be temporary and psychological in nature, at least in part.

Welcome to Writer’s Block! (We should open a bar and call it that. We could have group sessions that focus on plot progressions and writing prompts.)

What some don’t realize is that there is another form of writer’s block. This form is lesser known to published authors, but much more popular with writer’s such as myself. This form of writer’s block prohibits us from allowing others to read what we’ve written for one reason or another. I have this form of writer’s block. Yes, I know the irony of writing a blog and being afraid to let others read what I write. What you don’t know is that I wrote a book. Or at least 30,000+ words of a book. The one I talk about today is actually the second of three books I’ve written (or begun writing). It’s not finished even though I started writing it 2 years ago as part of the 2010 National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). I have a written beginning, several key moments throughout various stages of the middle and the end pretty well wrapped up.

This week, I began working on it again. I started by proofreading the first two chapters, which I then nervously emailed to my husband and my best friend (who did the 2010 NaNo with me). Neither have read it and I’m not sure CB even knows what it’s about. She wont be able to get back to me about it until this weekend, but my husband actually did read it. He praised it fairly well for a man who’s really not good with expressing himself about things he likes. Mostly, I get comments like “It was good” or “I liked it” with little to no elaboration as to what he liked, what he thought was good, or if anything in particular really struck his fancy. I’m hoping for more from CB, as she’s much more of an avid reader than my husband is.

Last night, while on Skype with my husband (he finally got a webcam and I’m SOOO happy that we finally get to see his beautiful face, if only for the few minutes before the internet connection cuts out), he asked “What are your plans with your book? … Do you just want to finish it so you can say its done?” To which I replied: “I’d be too embarrassed to publish it, even self-publishing takes a bit of time and patience and I don’t have the confidence to push it to the public. what if someone we knew read it? and it’s not like we could just not tell people I was a published author, that’s kind of a big deal, ya know?”

These small questions forced me to be honest with myself. I worry about what people think of me. I am terrified of what people with think of me if they read what I wrote. I love the story. I love the characters. Things are great in the little universe of my own creation. The problem is that my main character is a female serial killer who chooses her victims on a whim and tends to get aroused during the commission of a homicide.

“Shocking” personified…
Image via Jojo in the morning

Not exactly something I want to discuss with my mother-in-law or my church group.

“Oh Mrs. Noba, what do you do?”
“Me? I’m a stay at home mom who writes semi-erotic slasher novels in my spare time.”
That conversation just doesn’t play out well in my head.  And it’s not like I could just NOT tell people that I was publishing a book.

This is where my writer’s block comes in. My characters are highly cooperative with my ability to shape their world for better or worse. I am simply unwilling to allow them to exist beyond my own hard drive. My main character is a great one, even if she kills people for no apparent good reason. She has a good heart and is known to be quite self-less from time to time.

Too bad I’m the only one who will see it.

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8 thoughts on “So you think you know writer’s block?

  1. I think it’s impressive you do NaNoWriMo. I can’t imagine writing a novel in one month. Procrastinating about writing a novel for years seems much more doable. Good luck with CB’s critique. And if you crack this kind of writer’s block (or open the bar) please let me know. I’ve got my own non church-friendly story 🙂 ps- yay for Skype!

    • hehe At least by opening the bar, we could all get a little liquid courage in us on open mic nights 😉 I didn’t succeed and last year, I spent the time working with my daughter on short stories, trying to build her fine motor muscles and improve her hand writing. I’m still gonna write this November, but as an unofficial participant. I don’t have any new stories to tell, so I’m going to be working on my 2010 novel and my “memoir” (It’s not really a memoir, I just don’t know what to call it.) Once my 2010 project is complete, I might release a few chapters here… Just to gauge the receptivity of the work on a small scale. Not sure about that yet.
      And yes, YAY for Skype! hehe

      • It’s funny you mention open mic. I got brave and shared my writer’s block story at one and it was a hit with strangers. Now if only I could sneak it past my known world 🙂 I bet DaShoStoMo – Daughter’s Short Stories Motor (skills) was also a hit. Look forward to whatever you share. Although if it’s the serial killer one, I’m not the best critic. A friend once forced me to watch The Silence of the Lambs. I then forced her to watch The Little Mermaid immediately afterwards to help me neutralize what I had just seen. There was mandatory singing.

      • LOL That’s funny about the movies… I love horror movies, but watching 13 Ghosts the other night, I got ten minutes in when I remembered my husband is in Afghanistan and wont be able to protect me from the monsters under the bed. DaShoStoMoSki! Sounds like a Russian figure skater lol I love it! I’m too afraid to do open mic… I can deliver speeches because I have been trained to do so, but only when I absolutely have too.

  2. diannegray says:

    Just keep on writing – no one has to read what you write as long as you love doing it, that’s all that matters 🙂

  3. […] Bed of Despondency and Meh” (which is actually kind of catchy, maybe we could build “The Writer’s Block” bar, pub and coffee shop on the banks of this river bed?), you need something to bring life […]

  4. ashleekizer says:

    Im right there with you, i have a novel 3/4 of the way done, but i can’t even think about others reading it. It’s far too personal, i think i dealt with teenage and childhood issues by writing through my main charters. One day our books may see the light of day, until then we can love them ourselves! Also so glad you got to Skype!!!!

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