Making lesbians happy – one book at a time

You ever say or do one of those things that seems to follow you around and haunt you forever?  Like Sally Fields’ infamous words when she was awarded the Oscar, “You like me!  You really really like me!”?   I did one of those things a week or so ago when I was on a panel at the GCLS conference.

The question directed at me was, “What do you do when you get writer’s block?”  I poked my finger at the audience (just to emphasize how very serious I was) and answered something along the line of:  “There is no such thing as writer’s block!  That’s bullshit!  Writer’s block is a myth that writer’s made up just so they don’t have to write that day.  It’s because they’re lazy.  Or maybe they don’t have anything to say.  And, if you don’t have anything to say, then do us all a favor and don’t write!”

The words came out sounding a bit harsh.  And, to be truthful, I suppose I meant them to be harsh.  But, I was really talking to myself because writer’s block was one of those things that had doggedly pursued me for years.  There were days when I was too busy to write.  I had to pay bills, clean the house, do laundry, mow the lawn, paint the garage, get my daughter fed, or a umpteen million other things that every person had to deal with.  Then when I finally sat down to write – nothing came out.  I stalled in first gear.

I had writer’s block.

I tried not to worry about it.  I told myself that there were days when nothing was going to come out and that was okay.  My brain was just too worried about the mortgage payment that month.  Or how I was going to pay for that Roto Rooter bill.  I could write tomorrow.

The end result of that train of thought was —  I wasn’t writing!

So, I started a new myth of my own :  THERE IS NO WRITER’S BLOCK.

And, you know what?  If you don’t believe in it, it doesn’t exist.

Now, I view my writing as my number one job.  I write some every day and do all the other ‘real life’ stuff after.   I’m not saying all my writing is good.  I’m not even saying it’s mediocre.  But there are words on the page.  I’m not married to those words and I didn’t write them in blood.  I may throw them away tomorrow.  But for right now there are words on the damn page.   

And don’t beat yourself up over word count.  One day I was bemoaning the fact that I’d only written a hundred words.  Saxon Bennett (author of twelve novels and Goldie winner) said to me, “I’ve written twelve books and I wrote them all one word at a time.”

And don’t worry about good or bad while you’re writing.  You can worry about that later.  The publishing world is full of these highly-evolved, big-brained people called editors who will be more than happy to tell you if your words are poopy.  I once got some pages back from an editor with a nearly-illegible scrawl along the margin that read, “You didn’t really think this was funny, did you?”  (Um… as a matter of fact, I did, but thanks for the dose of reality.)

You know what separates wanting to write a book and actually writing a book?  Yep, putting words down on the page.  So, if you want to write a book (or another book), I suggest you join me in dispelling the myth of writer’s block and don’t let anything stop you from realizing your dream. 

Now SIT YOUR ASS DOWN AND WRITE!  (that was me talking to myself)

Comments on: "Writer’s Block – Myth or Fact?" (9)

  1. I also don’t believe in writer’s block. That being said, I go through (sometimes VERY) long periods when I don’t write, and if I try to force it, it’s horrible. For me, I don’t consider this to be “blocked.” I just think it’s not the right time to write. I guess the reason this is not writer’s block for me is because the term “writer’s block” denotes a problem. I don’t see it as a problem. I’ve been writing “seriously,” off and on, for almost 20 years. I never worry that I MUST write something now because I know I’ll write something later when the words are there. The words always come back. And if someday they don’t, that’s okay too.

    That being said, I can have this attitude because my livelihood has never been dependent on my writing. Writing is something that I do because I enjoy it not because I have to pay my mortgage. I can definitely imagine being “blocked” if I had some sort of book deal with ten people breathing down my neck and everything on the line. That would be a problem. I can’t see myself ever being in that situation though.

  2. It’s simple, Sonje, you only write when you have something to say. Brava!

  3. Yesterday, I wrote 3 sentences. YAY. Progress!

  4. Lynne Hand said:

    Just wanted to say i have just finished your book, thanks, really enjoyed it, made my day.(just had something to say).

  5. Lynne, thank you so much! I needed a little pick-me-up today!

  6. Lynne Hand said:

    I’m very pleased, i wasn’t sure it would resonate. Please write more, there is no doubt the world is way short of pleasant smart alec’s.More power to you. good luck to you and i hope your tomorrow needs less pick me ups.
    cheers

  7. Lynne Hand said:

    I;m sorry, i’ve just re-read this, I meant pls write more books,not write more to me. (stalker alert), good luck.

    cheers

  8. Now you tell me! After I just wrote you a wonderful poem in iambic pentatmeter! dang it…

    • Lynne Hand said:

      what a shame i love anything to the 5th beat, shame all round…….smart arse

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