Writer’s Block

I’ve been asked to share my thoughts on writer’s block.  That’s easy, because there’s no such thing.  Writer’s block is merely a convenient excuse used by people who either lack talent or are too lazy to put in the hours and hard work that it takes to write a book.

Mind you, the PR work around writer’s block has been extraordinary.  F. Scott Fitzgerald has made a remarkable ambassador.  Suffering from “writer’s block” has become almost desirable; a mark of true creative genius and the necessary first step to penning  “The Great American/Canadian/European/Insert your country here Novel.”  Seriously, what other profession romanticizes the inability to work?  Does your dentist suffer from dental block?  What about the guy building your house?  If he fails to show up for work claiming he has carpenter’s block, do you pour him a scotch and think “oh this poor lad is agonizing over how to mitre a corner – what a remarkable fellow!”  Or, do you fire the bum and go on to the next contracting company?

It’s entirely possible to get stuck on a part of your book.  Happens to me all the time.  On those occasions, I either work my way through it, or do what my primary school teachers taught me – leave it, move on to another part and come back to it later.  This means that the chapters of my book aren’t necessarily written in chronological order, but so what?  For example, I’m currently working on chapter five.  I wrote the whole day yesterday and only came up with 500 words.  It’s not writer’s block though – it’s me being a perfectionist.  This is a really important part of the book and I want to make sure it’s right.

Writing a novel is not for the faint of heart.  It’s hard work.  It takes time and effort.  Accept it.

If you still believe that you suffer from this imaginary affliction, before your toss your idea in the trash, I have some suggestions:

  1. First let me ask you – how badly do you really want to write this book?  If you can’t live without completing it, proceed to step two.
  2. Pick up a pencil and paper, sit yourself down, and give it an honest effort.  Scribble a rough draft and worry about the editing later.
  3. Assess your writing skills.  Perhaps you need a grammar refresher, or need to study the art of storytelling.  Take a few classes then give your book another go.

As for me, I’d better get back at it.  The kids will be awake soon and as today is errand day – my time for writing is limited.

About the author 

Valerie Francis

Valerie Francis is a bestselling author, literary editor, and podcaster with a passion for stories by, for and about women.

Each month, Valerie recommends books from literature’s best female authors. Selections come from every genre because women write, and read, in every genre. The Women’s Fiction category offers up some terrific novels, but these days there’s a strong female presence in thriller, horror, crime, and other genres traditionally dominated by male writers. No matter what the publishing companies may think, in the 21st Century, Women’s Fiction is whatever we want it to be.

stories for women, by women, and about women