I started writing Fall into Winter, my book of erotic novellas, February 2010. I had been writing non-stop for a few months and then suddenly hit a wall. This wall manifested itself as two weeks of staring at my laptop—typing, deleting, retyping, and walking away at the end of each day no further ahead in my manuscript. I had been going at a manic pace up until that point—1500 words per day at six, sometimes seven days a week for close to three months. I was addicted to writing, and the words had spilled out of me with little effort, so much so that when the wellspring of ideas suddenly dried up, I became a nervous wreck.
If it sounds like I’m comparing the inability to write with the feeling of withdrawing from drug use—I am. Sure, I’m using a sledgehammer to illustrate a point, but that’s how I felt about it at the time.
Writing was my cocaine—I craved it, was obsessed by it. The rest of my life had fallen by the wayside, replaced by the high of snorting lines of text from a page, knowing that each day brought me closer and closer to my goal of writer’s nirvana—a finished product in the form of a book.
I recalled mumbling incoherently to myself those first days when I couldn’t meet my word count (yes, I’m one of those writers who thinks word count is important, at least for now), trying to calm down, trying not to panic. I reassured myself that every writer must go through a dry spell. I was certain I would get my mojo back, but when? During that period of unproductiveness, I developed a nervous twitch. As I positioned my hands over the keyboard, willing my fingers to type words I’d be happy with, I’d make a peculiar shaking motion with my head, resembling one of those bobblehead dolls. I reasoned I needed some sort of physical movement to loosen the words stuck against the walls of my brain. What I probably needed was a shrink, but I digress.
Call it writer’s block or whatever you like, but I knew I was suffering from withdrawal—writer’s withdrawal. Without my fix of it, I was showing symptoms of:
- Loss of appetite
- Social isolation
My writing crashed with my story “The Norwegian.” The male lead was a hot, sexy Norwegian biathlete. I could see him, hear his voice, and even smell his scent. That’s how real he was to me. What I struggled with was the female lead. Who was she? What was her conflict? How did she meet the male lead? Because I loved the male character so much, how could I write a female that was a match for him and real at the same time?
You know the old saying that writers should write about what they know? Well, that tidbit of information got me over the shakes. I channeled my angst into the story by answering the questions I had been struggling with:
- Who was she? A writer
- What was her conflict? She had writer’s block
- How did she meet the male lead? She holed herself up in a winter cabin to complete her latest book when he showed up.
I got over the hump of my writer’s withdrawal after that, and you know what the great thing about it was? Catharsis. I felt so much stronger after breaking down that wall.
|Writing Challenge: WRITER’S BLOCK|
|This post is part of a monthly writing challenge known as “Second Tuesday,” written by members of the Fellow Writers’ Facebook group. Click on any link above to read another “Second Tuesday” post. Enjoy!|