January 11, 2010

Trouble Writing?

Every writer I know has trouble writing.  ~Joseph Heller

I might be morbid because this line gives me hope.  Is it wrong to be glad other writers have trouble writing?  Okay...maybe not glad, but relieved.  I feel a bit less alone.  Facing that blank paper waiting for words can be overwhelming.  And yet those stories inside my head beg to be written.

What makes it hard to write?  For me, it falls into three categories:

1.  Lack of sleep.  When my brain is groggy my stories are soggy.  Can I help it if your blogs are so compelling they keep me reading long after bedtime?  Stop writing such alluring posts! (no, don't)

2.  Perfectionism.  No, not the kind as in my house is spotless and I line up the ends of the rug with a broom.  But the kind that obsesses over whether my MC's favorite color is orange or yellow.  Is she tangy or sunny?  Then there's the psycho voice that interrupts me in the middle of a paragraph. "You're going to write that?  In your new journal?  You're marring the page with mistakes!"  If I don't shut the critic up, I'm tempted to close my book and lock the pencil away for good.

3.  Life.  You know, those little people needing to eat; friends wanting coffee; hubby wanting...snuggles.  Pfff.  Geez people.

Do you have trouble writing?  (If not, please share a different vice so as not to make me hate you.)  What keeps you from writing?


  1. I'm not married and have no kids, so time is not too big (although family and friends still demand some attention).
    My biggest thing is ME.
    I keep me from writing, often from fear. Sometimes from laziness.
    I am my own worst enemy.

  2. Yes- I have all these same distractions and feelings too. Lately I've been doubting myself. I reread some of my recent writing from my WIP and I'm feeling encouraged - it's decent. I need to just make myself write. Thank you for that quote and for that picture - it feels very familiar.

  3. I would say laziness for sure. And then, for me, sometimes the "big picture" gets in the way. I sit down to write a piece that describes my character, but get to hung up on the climax to focus in and learn my protagonist, etc.

    And I agree--it's always a relief to know that everyone hits a speed bump!

  4. I hate to admit that I love when people say they struggle, it makes me feel better. I think even with kids, a part time job and house cleaning I have more time than I think to write. It's just about using it and not being lazy, which I am most days of the week.

  5. MeganRebekah, I hate battling fear. grrr
    Mary, isn't that funny? Most writers love writing but we add the pressure of making it GREAT, and then it's hard to make ourselves to do it.
    SarahAnn, I skip that step too. :{

  6. Patti, me too. lol I know what you mean about the time.

  7. I think it's easy to come up with excuses no matter what life is like, at least it is for me.

  8. Perfectionism is definitely a hard roadblock for me to get over too. Also when it's sunny outside... which is why I do a lot of my writing in the winter!! :)

  9. I have a lot of trouble writing. My biggest roadblock is fear (fear that I will mess up, fear that I can't write well, fear that my ideas are dumb). Kids make writing harder too. :)

  10. So true, Elle.
    Valerie, good plan writing in the winter.
    Natalie, I ditto your fears.

  11. Ugh, EVERYTHING! I like to get into a writing groove and stay there for hours, and once I'm interrupted because hubby wants to go do something or our friends want to eat dinner or we have yet another house guest coming to stay with us... its all over.
    I come back, screw around for a few more hours and finally get back into my writer groove about an hour before I fall asleep.
    Plus my work schedule is nuts.
    And people who write really fast and then blog about how they just wrote a whole book this week make me wanna tear my hair out.


    Wow, I feel much better now! Thanks for the opportunity to get that all out :-)

  12. I have to be obsessed with/in love with my idea. I should write even if I'm luke warm about something to exercise more writing muscle more. So then I read, which I definitely need to do but am using it as a great excuse right now.

  13. Life definitely gets in the way for me. But sometimes it's also fear. Is what I'm writing good enough? Is that really what people want to read? Things like that. I try to get past it by simply writing something, by staying in practice, whether or not I think what I wrote was good or bad.

  14. For me, it's a combination of procrastination, family, and doubt. :-)

  15. For me, once I've started writing I can usualy carry on. It's the getting started that holds me back. What I usualy do is, go to the blogs I'm following and read the posts and comments and if I have anything to add I leave a comment, which is what I'm doing right now. This normaly gets me in the groove and then I can wtite a post. I too get writers block though, especialy if I don't have anything burning in my brain to start with. Other people's blogs tend to inspire me. You are not alone. God bless you.

  16. Focus for me. Late night when family asleep is helpful. I can have that do or die mentality too. Not helpful.

  17. M. Gray, I agree. It's so much easier when you're excited about the story.
    Cindy, it's good you push through. I sometimes let that stall me and have to remind myself to continue.
    Shannon, doubt is such a scene stealer!
    Geoff, other blogs inspire me too. When I'm down about writing, reading them always gives a lift.
    Heartsjoy, focus is so hard when everyone's vying for it.

  18. I have trouble writing for #2. Only. I want it to be perfect the first time. This is the exact reason I'm putting off the third part of my revisions. Because it's so. much. stinking. work. Because it's not perfect!

    I want every novel I write to come out like the one my agent has. And it just doesn't happen that way. I've forgotten the countless rounds of revisions I did on that novel to make it "agent-worthy."

    Le sigh.

  19. I have no trouble writing........crap.
    I do have trouble writing anything meaningful.
    Sometimes I just tell myself to write crap and once in a while (not often) something good comes out.

  20. Elana, around the age of ten I thought writers wrote the story then it was published. End of story. It'd be nice if it was that easy.
    gs, you made me laugh.


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