Muse, where are you? Me against my writing.


It’s me against the computer. My eyes attempt a stare down of the screen, with the cursor mocking me with every blink. I type one halting sentence, and then stop. My mind is blank. I know where I want my characters to go, the overarching plot structure, the twists and revelations that will need to happen. Right now, though, my characters are sharing a meal with friends, and I cannot make them move on.

There are times in everyone’s writing career, I think, where you face this. At least, I hope I’m not the only one who has been here. It’s writer’s block, but it has been going on for more than a week. Every attempt I have made at moving my third novel along has been smacked down by a tyrannical muse.

I don’t remember having this problem when I wrote my first novel. With its sequel, I remember having a day or two of deleting every attempt at sentences I wrote, but by the third day I was back in my stride, with pages flying past.

With this third novel in the trilogy, I am having more problems. Part of it, I’m sure, is that I am a full-time web marketing coordinator with a husband and a new house who is also trying to write part-time. I have lots of distractions, including this blog. So the multitude of things that are on my mind are no doubt part of the overall disaster that has been my writing this past week.

I’ve tried different techniques for conquering writer’s block, but none of my tried-and-trues are working this time. I’ve tried just opening a new page and starting anywhere, just writing, as this web site says is a good approach.

“Remember,” they write, quoting an unknown speaker, “the worst thing you write is better than the best thing you didn’t write.

Sometimes just writing about your troubles can help you to overcome them, and I’m hopeful, which is why I’m writing this post. I know I will eventually be able to conquer my block, which I mentally picture as a redwood tree across the highway of my writer’s brain. I’m itching to get going, but I think the pressure I’m creating for myself is more hindrance than help.

Margaret Atwood has some good advice in this article from The Guardian for those of you who, like me, are stuck.

“Don’t sit down in the middle of the woods. If you’re lost in the plot or blocked, retrace your steps to where you went wrong. Then take the other road. And/or change the person. Change the tense. Change the opening page. … Prayer might work. Or reading ­something else. Or a constant visual­isation of the holy grail that is the finished, published version of your resplendent book.”

 

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I'm a lover of writing and books. I graduated from South Dakota State with a master's degree in communications in 2011, the same year I was first published. I'm a wife and mom, and I work in content and digital marketing in South Dakota.

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Posted in Writing tips
10 comments on “Muse, where are you? Me against my writing.
  1. […] Muse, where are you? Me against my writing. (brittanywesterberg.com) […]

  2. Pat says:

    Thank you for the mention. Much appreciated.
    I think Margaret Drabble’s advice is brilliant.
    Have you tried Morning Pages? Or writing a short story – something very different, maybe for a magazine or periodical out of your comfort zone? Your novel may seem a doddle if you tackle that.
    Good luck – hope the block disappears. 🙂

    • brwesterberg says:

      I have not tried writing a short story. (My short stories are never short.) 🙂 As for something different, I just finished a large writing assignment at work today (marketing article), so I’m hopeful that it may have cleared my brain.

  3. […] Muse, where are you? Me against my writing. (brittanywesterberg.com) […]

  4. […] Muse, where are you? Me against my writing. (brittanywesterberg.com) […]

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