Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Writer's Shock:
The Long Road to the Blank Page

Daunting. Great word isn’t it? This one little word describes all of the emotions running through me, the chaos, the turbulence, when I’m about to start a new project. Fear grips me by the throat and I struggle to breathe. I open up the blank outline, the blank MS, the blank...everything, and I want to cry. How am I EVER going to surmount this HUGE mountain - especially when it looks like a volcano called Mount Doom?
Too bad I don’t have Sam to carry me. Or an eagle.
Some people call this Writer’s Block. Defined so nicely by Merriam-Webster's Medical Dictionary as “a psychological inhibition preventing a writer from proceeding with a piece of writing. But, a block implies that something is in your way. A big heavy object or a brick wall is in front of you and preventing the words from spilling onto the page. Heck, you can’t even get to the page! It’s an interesting idea, but there’s nothing blocking me. 
I prefer to think of it as Writer’s Shock. It’s akin to culture shock - “a state of bewilderment and distress experienced by an individual who is suddenly exposed to a new, strange, or foreign social and cultural environment”. THAT is how I feel when I stare at the blank page - bewilderment and distress at my unfamiliar surroundings. I’ve been waddling around in my work in progress for so long, happily getting words on the page, that jumping into a new project is - you guessed it - daunting!
I know it’s only temporary. With any block or shock it lasts awhile and then goes away. Words start to flow again. The blank page fills up. Mount Doom becomes smaller and smaller until one day you’re standing at the top looking down, ready to move on to the next mountain. Of course, that’s when the whole process starts over again.
Where's that darn eagle when you need one?
What do you think about writer’s block or shock? Do you believe in it? If so, what helps you overcome it? If not, what’s your secret???

"writer's block." Merriam-Webster's Medical Dictionary. Merriam-Webster, Inc. 03 Jan. 2012. <'s block>.

culture shock. Unabridged. Random House, Inc. shock (accessed: January 03, 2012).


  1. Uaually, if something isn't flowing, or going to flow, I've got something else to work on until it's resolved.

    I've just begun a mystery novel (yes, no vampires!), the knowledge of police procedurals almost halting me, but I'm able to tap into my nephew's knowledge of 20+ years. But my biggest halting point was the basic of who-done-it and why. When that was resolved (and this is like your picture of the ball crashing through a brick wall) I know what to do and I'm runing with it.

    Also, I fortify myself by reading my favorite authors, and if that doesn't do it, I take a break.(^;

  2. music helps me. Along with sleep, can't function on exhaustion. I definitely 'believe' in writer's block, sometimes it just takes time. You can't force it.

  3. If I have a block, I either push myself through or I go do something else for a bit. Clean, read, watch TV. Something to clear my mind. Yet I always find that pushing through it works. You can go back later and fix it in your rewrite!

  4. As you know, I've been struggling with this at a few points in the past year or so. I usually like to read something for inspiration - sometimes articles and books about the writing craft, sometimes books in my genre. I also realized while on vacation that it really helps me to be stress-free and relaxed. Well, that's going to be hard to come by when not on vacation lol
    Love all of the tips. I need as much inspiration and motivation as I can get. I do love making lists of goals so I can review them once in a while to see how far along I've come or what I still need to do.
    Thank you for the post and Happy New Year!

    Also, I wanted to let you know that I nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award. I know you were already nominated for this previously, but still wanted to include you in you in my list :)You can find the post here:

  5. Love all of your ideas! And Yelena, thank you! :)

  6. Ugh...writer's block. Bleh! I know exactly how you feel! I do suffer from writer's block from time to time. It can be so overwhelming when you're just itching to write but you can't get the words out.
    I tend to pull a book that I've read several times. Sometimes reading a page or two gets the block out of the way, and sometimes it takes a chapter or two. So far that's the only thing I've discovered that will pull me out of a writing rut.