When A Writer Doesn’t Write by Deatri King-Bey

DeatriThere are times that months go by that I don’t write one word toward a manuscript, outline, research or anything for my future titles. The first time I did this, my family became worried, talked about “writer’s block” and plotted on how to break me out of it.

I kept explaining that I didn’t have writer’s block. I just didn’t feel like writing.  Shooooot, truth be told, I could use a good dose of writer’s block at times. Maybe that would make the characters in my mind be quiet. <SMILE>.  Back to the family and the case of writer’s block. Three weeks in, they decided I must be depressed and that’s why I had writer’s block. I’m lucky I didn’t get locked up, y’all. I was tempted to write something for pleasure (actually pressure because they were pressuring me) to keep them from sending me to the padded room on the psych ward.

I was not under any quick approaching deadline with a publishing house. I was free and enjoying it. I could write—and I thought NOT WRITE—at my own pace. I go through phases. At times I’ll write every free second I can squeeze out of the day and create extra seconds to write some more. Other times I’m happy with the two hours I set aside a day. Then there are times when I don’t want to write at all. I may go days or even weeks without writing a word. Note to self—never Ever EVER allow family to find out you’re in the no-writing phase.

I absolutely LOVE my no-writing phase. When I’m in it, I read like nobodies business. I’m talking a book a day (and don’t forget the full time job, children, husband, pets, grandbaby who most think is my son, volunteer work…) I’m up all night and going to work sleepy, but I don’t even care.

When I write, the stories come easily for me, but all of that creativity is draining in ways that are hard to explain. The no-writing phase keeps me from experiencing creative burn-out, which will lead to writer’s block. I become a creativity vampire ready to take a bite of the next novel. My no-writing phase rejuvenates me by overfilling my creative cup.

So if you haven’t heard from me in a while, could one of you please check the psych ward for me, because my family just doesn’t get it <WINK>.

So let’s look at the other side. What if you actually do have writer’s block.

“Oh no! My characters have stopped talking to me, and I have no idea what to write next. It’s just not coming to me. I’ll never finish this book.” –Author with writer’s block.

First, do you actually have writer’s block or do you just not feel like writing? As I explained above, there is a difference. I know there are those out there who believe you must write every day, but my creative self, my muse would be very unhappy with me if I forced it to work daily without giving it a break every so often, and it doesn’t matter that my muse loves what it does. In my opinion, overworking the muse can cause it to go on strike and leave you with writer’s block.

So let’s say you actually do have writer’s block. How can you get out of it? You’ll need to see what works for you.

  • Take a break: Go do something enjoyable that doesn’t include writing. Some have found it helpful to take a vacation from writing with an end date they’ve set, then find themselves craving to write before the end date arrives.
  • Freewriting: Write or type whatever comes to your mind without form or reason. Just write. It doesn’t have to make sense, have a format, follow the rules of grammar…
  • Read books in the genre you are writing.
  • Read books in any genre except the one you are writing.
  • Talk the plot point out with someone, brainstorm through the issue.
  • Ensure you aren’t trying to FORCE the plot to places you want it to go instead of where it should logically go. The muse fights back and the next thing you know, you have writer’s block and/or a clunky plot.
  • Step away from your current work in progress for a day or two then begin reading it from page one.
  • Work on your marketing plan for the novel or some other aspect of the novel. Do some research, conduct an interview. How is the Website looking?
  • Stop forcing the creativity if you don’t want it to revolt.

Much Joy Peace and Love

Deatri King-Bey

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2 thoughts on “When A Writer Doesn’t Write by Deatri King-Bey

  1. Stacy-Deanne

    I agree, Dee. Taking breaks is good for your mental health and creativity. I’ve been in the business for years and when I first started I wrote every day to the point where people used to tell me I was writing too much. LOL! But times change and as you get older, and your career rises to other levels, you don’t feel that pressure to write like when you’re just starting out. I write when I want to now plus I am in school so I take time for that. I still love writing more than anything but I don’t break my back to write. If I don’t feel like writing for a while, I wait until I do. Back in the day I felt guilty when I didn’t write but I don’t anymore because I know that taking my time and doing things at my own pace is helpful to my creativity. I currently took three weeks off from a project. I am also blessed to be with a publisher that does not instill demands on me. I just tell her what I’m working on and when I plan to submit it so there is no pressure from her. I realize many authors have deadlines put on them but I don’t think I would enjoy that. Being pressured would make me rush and I am not one to rush my books. I take my time and make them the best they can be. So I write when the muse hits me.

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