The dreaded writer’s block

Photo by Olya Kobruseva on

There are so many articles and posts on social media about this particular situation. How do you work past writer’s block? How do you avoid it? And so on and so forth.

For me, I have never really experienced it.

I know, what a humble brag.

In my case, I know what to write. I always do. Sometimes, I can’t sit there and write. My brain just locks up and my fingers refuse to write what happens next. Right now, I have a finished book. I am currently rewriting it to make it better. I am stuck on Chapter 11. The entire book is done, but I am stuck rewriting. I have no clue why. I intend on adding in close to two or three chapters to fill the story out better. Chapter 11 isn’t even a new chapter I need to write.

I do have a theory that this could be due to 2020 being an utter crapshoot of a year for creatives. We felt on fire last year. We were contributing to entertaining everyone on lockdown. This year, our brains and bodies are just worn out.

I am a big fan of not pressuring yourself, as a writer. I don’t really punish myself for taking it slow. I don’t punish myself for not putting up a new fanfic chapter or pulling out my binder of edits. What I do, instead, is relax. I was talking with a friend recently and she made me realize that we come from families where if we aren’t doing something at all times, we are wasting time. The need to constantly be working on a project or doing something with our hands is ingrained into our brains. We are the generation of hustling and it is killing us. Everyone I know has a skill or a hobby. We can’t even enjoy our hobbies without pressure to monetize them. We aren’t allowed hobbies anymore without people urging us to get paid for them. This isn’t conducive to good work and it leads to burnout quickly, which leads to writer’s block.

As a writer, this is one hobby/job I love. I love creating worlds and situations and bringing in readers to experience. I love that I can monetize this. I love that all of my hard work is on show on a national database (Amazon). The hard part is selling myself to write. As a self-published author, I am in charge of marketing, PR, along with editing, formatting, and creating covers (luckily I have an artist friend who helps with this.) This is also part of the writers block. I have to constantly be thinking of ways to promote my works.

I am always working. So when I hit a block while writing, it isn’t because the story halted. It’s because I have a million other things I have to prioritize. I am a mom. I am a wife. I have a home to keep organized (heh, i don’t). I have young children who require my attention. I have five books that are all done and out there for people to buy. I am working on two more books at the same time. I work hard for this career.

Writer’s block for me, is my brain saying, “You need a break. Binge watch a new show. Drink some water. Take your meds. Play with your kids.” My books are there for me to disappear into when I need to. Writer’s block gives me a chance to step out of the fantasy and relax.

2020 was an eye-opening year for all of us. We needed it to learn how to be better at self-care and to focus on what is important. For me, family, writing, and myself.

Erin Elyse

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