Does it exist? Or is it what we say when we don't feel like working?
This week we'll be sharing our thoughts and opinions on the controversial topic of writer's block and sharing how we get past it. I know some people who've been writing since childhood. I know writers who have taken up the craft within the last decade after dreaming about pursuing a career in writing their whole lives. Still more, there are the people who write in secret - a few in journals, others penning stories they share with no one, or still more who jump from one project to another while never actually finishing anything they've started.
I'm going to be brutally honest here. Anyone can write. Not everyone can write well (and I haven't been at it very long, so I'm pretty sure I'm one of those folks who almost writes well). It's a craft so highly complex, that even after years of honing, you can always find something else to improve upon. There are so many variables to writing a worthy tale it can boggle the mind.
I have never actually experienced writer's block. I'm not so sure it exists. I can vouch that there are days I don't feel like writing. Days were my body aches from the arthritis-like symptoms of Lyme Disease, which last month went on for three weeks. There are days when I can't remember things from my first book and I stare at the screen trying to remember details I only penned last year. I have trouble concentrating, can't sleep some nights, get bad headaches, and my mood swings are a bitch (literally).
I've had times where I sit at the computer and the words come slowly -- and badly. Dialogue that reads stilted and fake. Action scenes that confuse and meander. The second book has seven POVs, so you can add "slipping out of character and making them all sound alike" in there too.
There was a section in book two, chapter seven, where I was supposed to describe the character I'm basing on my recently deceased nephew, Eric. I still haven't been able to go back and flesh it out and I'm on chapter fourteen now. For very obvious reasons, it's too painful to do. Does that mean I won't?
I'm not going to lie and say I've never quit at anything. I've quit at lots of stuff, and usually with very good reasons (or so I like to tell myself). But I can tell you this-- I've never quit when it really mattered. Like my relationship with my husband or parenting our children. Sure, there are days I want to kill him or moments I want to run screaming from the house to get away from my offspring. But I don't. I stay and we work things out.
Writing isn't something you do for someone else. It isn't something you do with the hopes you'll hit the lottery and your book will be insanely popular. You do it for yourself first and foremost, for everyone and everything else second.
I write to escape. Originally, it was to help me cope while I underwent a ton of medical procedures to find out why I had "issues" (and since we're talking a G.I. doc, let's leave it at that). Next came allergy tests to determine why my throat was collecting white blood cells and scarring up, making it difficult to swallow, in a condition called Eosinophilic Esophagitis. Writing helped me deal with the next diagnosis of Celiac Disease in June of '09, and it helped keep me sane when my world caved in with a third diagnosis of late stage Lyme Disease came only three months after that.
Writer's block? How about writing as a salvation? I'm not driven to write by characters that hold conversations in my head. I'm not ridden by a story and consumed in a mad helter-skelter dash to get the words out and onto paper. Nor am I possessed with a grand gift meant to be shared with the masses.
I write because I want to. Simple as that.
I sit my ever-widening butt in a chair and I write to think about something other than myself and the medications I must take to beat some stupid bacteria crippling my body and mind. I write to burn off the mental energy and frustrations that sear into me as I watch my life go by.
Sure, there are days I don't write. Lots of them in fact. But like everything in life -- writing is a choice.
I don't believe in writer's block. Just like loving my husband is a choice I will make every damn day as long as I live, for me, so is writing.
I choose to write. How about you?