Monday, April 10, 2006

Writer's Block

There, I said it.

The reason I can't seem to write a single damned word of my novel. The reason I can't seem to make a blog post that isn't a link with some witty comment, a sumamry of my weekend, or some dull-witted political rant.

I can't fucking write.

Oh, I can write. I can write at work just fine. I can email, I can IM, I can make what I've taken to calling "maintenence" blog entries, but can I write? No. And it's kind of starting to piss me off.

I feel creatively numb. I've always been a little streaky in my creativity. I often write in "bursts," where I sit down and crank stuff out left and right. My last novel, for example, I choked out 40,000 words in two weeks. I typically hit a short story in a day, two at the most. And then I'll go dormant for a month or two, or maybe just write little piddling things here and there.

But now, when I sit down to work on my novel, everything I've written so far looks awful and when I try to write more, it just doesn't come. I even tried to outline it, to force myself into a structure so I could work on it like I would a project at work, and I can't even do an outline.

I admit that I've lost some of the excitement - the idea was born of a white-hot passion, which has since died down into a pervading sense of cynicism - but I can't even come up with a decent idea for a story, let alone a story.

The last story I wrote, I got the idea while I was in Hawaii. I was also doing a lot of reading, and I was reading things I don't typically read. Possible conclusions:

1. I need to read more, and I need to be more diverse in my reading selections.
2. I need to get out more, possibly reading and/or writing in different settings. These seetings would be parks and places I can relax, rather than places I have to worry about time and work.

But I've got to do something, because this is getting to the point of frustration.


Roger Whitson said...


You should have like two or three projects going on at the same time--that way, when you have a block on one project, you start to work on another. I just had this revelation with my own work. I've been writing this chapter on William Blake and comics--I rewrote it like three times and I couldn't understand why not only could I not finish the chapter, I didn't like anything I said. Then, I started writing about Mary Shelley and my writing became infinitely better. Sometimes, you just need distance from your work, otherwise you become too invested in it or you know too much about it to actually write.

Angela said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Angela said...

could have written your post, Jason, and I'm sorry writing has been so difficult for you lately. This may have no relevance to you at all, but I've stopped forcing myself to write every day. I'm sick of choking out some crap and hating it, so instead I'm trying to let the writing come when it does Don't get me wrong -- I don't like it this way, but I think when I actually do start writing again, it might actually be something of quality. I'm reading voraciously and brainstorming ideas, and I'll write when I'm ready. Clearly, I write in "bursts" as

Angela said...

Heh. I deleted my first post because of a misspelling.