Thursday, December 11, 2008


Top 10 Excuses NOT to Write:

10. My cat wants me to play with her.
9. My friends want me to play with them.

8. I have to clean my house (heh-heh).
7. It's a gray day, and I need sun to be inspired.

6. I have a bunch of errands to run-and, oh, yeah, I need to work out.
5. I got a bad review and must do something fun first to get in the mood.
4. I really should catch up on promotion and update my website and blog-that's all writing, isn
't it?
3. I need to do my BlogMistress thing for Ninc-I'll schedule and launch a bunch of industry guest blogs that just arrived and do all the clean up work and then I'll be free to write. Right?
2. I need a nap-then I'll write.
1. I have writer's block.

Okay, I admit it. I never believed in writer's block, and I figured if I didn't believe in it, I wouldn't ever get it. If I got stuck, I would write a scene-any scene coming up-that came to me, just to get page count for the day. That always seemed to work. My brain would somehow fill in the missing pieces. Eventually. But slowly, the pressure of writing book after book (this is number 85), year after year, no let up for twenty-five years, has caught up to me and I find more and more excuses why I can't write on a particular day.

Though I've never been happy writing so fast, I have been known to complete a book in two months when I was really pressured because I got behind on another deadline or something unexpected came up in my personal life. I've now had two months on my current work in progress and barely have a hundred pages to show for it. Talk about frustrating. I have about six weeks to finish the other two thirds of the book and I'm trying not to panic. I actually like this book, but every time I start to work on it, I write a few pages and then blank out.

My former writing partner has a different take on my situation. She doesn't think it's true writer's block. She says that when things came crashing down in my life (usually meaning money issues that made me panic), I always had trouble writing. Well, aren't we all in a financial mess? Books are making less money for most of us. The financial markets crashed (there went my inheritance/retirement fund). And I just received notice that as of January, my health insurance will be $20,000. for 2009. 20K for one person! What a bite! Yes, I am stressed. Yes, I need some ME time.

Once I finish this manuscript, I'm determined to take my first real break from writing in twenty-five years. A break that I've promised myself for several years now. I'll teach my suspense-thriller class and hopefully become a student (if chosen) for the Master Gardener program. Whatever happens, for a couple of months, I will concentrate on anything else and hope that my muse will lure me back to happy and productive writing.

In the meantime, I need to deal with my current situation so I can turn in the best manuscript I can. I have to let go of the doom and gloom umbrella and let the sunshine and a sense of humor about it all come in. I'm brain-tired and need a break, so it's harder than usual to kickstart myself, but I do know the drill.

Top 10 Ideas for Beating Writer's Block:

10. Exercise-okay, I already do th
at, but I could add another day or two to my schedule.
9. Research to find plot points-hmm, considering how much of that I do, maybe that should go on the first list...

8. Have a talk with my characters to find out where they're at-so what if they refuse to talk back?
7. Add some fun activities to my life-well, that's part of the problem-I accomplish more when I eliminate everything but writing and need to make that my priority until I'm back on tr
ack-so what if it's the holidays?
6. Write scenes out of order-they may bring up plot points I need when I least expect it.

5. Brainstorm with writer friends whether or not I think my brain is ca
pable of responding-surely something will stick.
4. Change my writing location-I could renew my relationship with my local Starbu
3. Get off the computer-the Alphasmart Neo doesn't let me check my email or go off on those time-sucking research jags.

2. Write forward and get another couple chapters written before worrying about whether or not they work-I can always revise or rewrite.

1. Accept that the angst I've been experiencing has become part of my process-the getting ready to write-and believe that I'm about to step over the threshold and actually make it happen.

Posted by
Patricia Rosemoor


  1. I would say your former writing partner is right about your money issues is the problem. Money stress can cause a world of problems. Lets face it you are not alone with the financial problems right now we are all in the same boat. Everyones health insurance keeps going up and they keep paying out less. I know our goes up every year and the deductables keep getting higher and the insurance is not paying anything throughout the year. It seems like we pay most of our medical bills and pay for the insurance to. I know in my family this year we didn't draw names for Christmas because no one really had the money to do so. We are just getting together and having a nice meal. The world is in bad shape right now and no one knows what is ahead.

  2. I can't imagine the stress of having writer's block. Whenever I get stuck in a situation at work, I leave my desk and take a ten minute break to refresh my brain and thoughts.

  3. Virginia --

    Hopefully we'll get some kind of insurance relief in the next year. Fingers crossed.

    Jane --

    Taking a break works when I'm simply "stuck" on a scene. But when I have no idea of what that scene should be, it's a more serious issue. I don't have the "big" block -- that is, I can still write if not up to par -- but I fear if I don't take a break, that's what will happen.

  4. I had people tell me that if they are stuck on something they go out for a long walk or run and stop thinking. Never tried it and probably never will. My question is how do you stop thinking????

  5. Sometimes I try to think of something else, because the more I think about the current situation, the stucker I get.

  6. Well, I'm not a writer, so no advice there... but when I was feeling pressure with school (was because it is - finally! - finished) I would:
    1) vent to my family
    2) pace back and forth pulling my hair
    3) run over all the stuff I have to accomplish - making lists in my head and going over them repeatedly... I do not recommend this for releiving stress, but I do it nonetheless
    4) stop and play with and/or pet the cats
    5) take a shower (never mind if it's the third that day - it takes up time and helps me refocus)

    Of course, I doubt my list will help you.
    Best wishes with your writing, though.

  7. Jo --

    Thanks for the laugh. I have this picture in my head of a woman pulling her hair....