Writer’s Block Angst

From my journal.  Kind of whiny and angsty and stuff…

So what concerns me is this:  If you say you want to write, but you’re not writing, because you can’t think of anything you want to write, does that mean you really don’t want to write or that you have too high an expectation of yourself and you’re afraid or maybe you’re afraid that this is just another time you’ll start and not finish or is it that you have one big gorram case of writer’s block?

 

‘Cause that’s where I’m at right now.  Can’t think of a bloody thing I want to write, at least for longer than a few seconds or so.  And I sure don’t have any stories just bursting to get out of me.  It used to be easy.  First there were the post-nuclear war stories with me and a friend.  Then there were the World War III stories with me and all my acquaintances and friends, Then there were the space stories with my acquaintances and friends, and then there were engineer traveling the world stories with, yep, you guessed it, me and my acquaintances and friends.  And what tied them all together was ME getting the hot chick and having some neat adventures and then getting married and stuff.

 

And then I got married and I stopped writing that kind of thing because, after all, I had MET the girl here at home and married her and started a family.  I also realized that I was most likely not going to get the kind of job where I was often travelling internationally, and really, I didn’t want to be away from my wife and child all the time anyway.  To grow as a writer, I needed to write about somebody that was NOT me.

 

And so, I decided I wanted to write about my hometown. You’re supposed to write about what you know but literature or mystery or suspense were never the genre I read, only international thrillers and war, but not having been very many places you can’t write about what you don’t know…

 

And maybe I’m a very good scene writer but kind of weak at characterization and absolutely unskilled at plots, but there’s no one to teach me how to do that, anyway.  The one time I went to a writer’s group it was a disaster.  They informed me that I wasn’t even writing in their genre and besides, my story should have started in the middle, and the story I’d spent three years polishing and having people tell me was good was, in fact, not good.  And that shook my confidence, and besides, nobody makes a living as a writer, not really, and who am I, and I’m 37, and isn’t it time I grew up anyway?

 

And these and other thoughts are assaulting me because that thing called Resistance is really strong, and that’s where I’m at, because I haven’t come up with the weapons I need to fight it, namely persistence, perseverance, and so on.

 

And worse is that I’ve read truly good books by masters of the craft, and other people have written badly written books about boy wizards and become runaway successes, and I realize that what I turn out probably won’t be either, and that doesn’t help either.

 

And that’s when I just write in my journal occasionally, whining about how I’m procrastinating and stuck and vowing that I will start to write, and then a week or two goes by and I’m writing the same thing in my journal, and so I have accomplished nothing, and the cycle starts again, because I vowed, and as soon as I figure out what genre and locale and what POV I’ll use, and then there’s that whole pesky plot thing again, and creating characters but who wants to spend time on the villain when I want to work on the characters I like, such as the main character, the hero guy, and the hot chick that he has a romance with – not too deep, mind you, just your typical James Bond coupling, except wait, I want to reflect Christian values, so maybe I’ll make them married, except that then the whole situation changes, so okay, he’s married and no relations with the hot chick, but what fun is that, so now what do I do?  And besides, he’s getting awfully suspiciously like me, and that’s not how it supposed to be, so let’s go back and create this character, the hero guy, who gets the hot chick, except not if they’re not married, and here we go again…

 

War was so easy to write.  Just plop my characters into a battle and off I went, and made sure to describe all the really cool hardware while I was at it.  International spy was easy too, because the character just went to exotic locales had had gunfights with the bad guy’s henchmen, and the girl was the one he rescued and fell willingly into his arms (in both types).  Except that real life, of course, is never that easy but who wants to write about real life?

 

And then I wanted to, and I didn’t know how, because I never read that kind of stuff, and couldn’t think of a plot that didn’t involve a gun battle of some type.  Which is great for potboilers and so-called men’s adventure but not so good for getting published in a magazine.  At least it wasn’t too useful for short stories.  I didn’t want to write potboilers, so writing a book length thing was kind of out, and besides, that took me right back into that whole not writing about what I didn’t know scenario.

 

And so that’s where I’m at today, at least part of it.

 

Scott

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3 thoughts on “Writer’s Block Angst

  1. “And maybe I’m a very good scene writer but kind of weak at characterization and absolutely unskilled at plots, but there’s no one to teach me how to do that, anyway.”

    I have the opposite problem. I’m solid at characterization, but bad at scene writing.

    “The one time I went to a writer’s group it was a disaster. They informed me that I wasn’t even writing in their genre and besides, my story should have started in the middle, and the story I’d spent three years polishing and having people tell me was good was, in fact, not good.”

    Writers are notoriously tough on other writers. I have no clue why. 🙂

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