On Muses, Procrastination, and Writer’s Block


There’s a lot of contention in the writing world about the existence of both muses and writer’s block. I happen to fall into the camp that believes in both. However, I don’t believe that either of them are mystical outside forces which control a writer.

My Muse is my subconscious. She’s that part of me that finds wonder and magic in everything. My inner child.  I may talk about her as if she’s an outside part of me. I may bitch and moan and gripe that she’s run off ONCE AGAIN with the hot chick down the street. Or that she’s being a recalcitrant bitch who refuses to work with me. But I’m really bitching about myself. About my inability to get out of my own way. Or about my inability to just sit my butt in my chair and just write.

BIC-FOK (Butt in Chair, Fingers on Keyboard) is not one of my strong points. Oh, I can do the whole butt in chair, fingers on keyboard deal all day every day. Surfing the web and finding all sorts of fun goodness is NOT a problem for me. It’s the focusing on the writing without being distracted that gets me every time.

To help with that, I invested in a program called Freedom. It allows me to turn off my internet connection for a set length of time. And the best part? The only way to disable it before the time is up is to restart your entire computer. Paired with Freedom, I have the desktop version of Write or Die. I set it for 500 words in 30 minutes and wing off on my merry writing way. I can usually get those words done in 15 minutes, but I like having the extra time because it tricks my brain into thinking “You wimpy bitch, 500 words in 30 minutes is NOTHING. I will crush those puny words.”

Of course, I occasionally go through periods where I suffer from writer’s block. I’m not talking about a simple “I have no ideas.” These are periods that make me feel like I’ve got thick, dark wads of cotton instead of brains. It’s a matter of not being able to even *think* coherently never mind write.

Many people dismiss writer’s block. They say it’s all in the head. That a “real” writer doesn’t get writer’s block. That it’s just another form of procrastination. To those people I say “Screw you. Screw you right in the ear.” Just because YOU’VE never experienced writer’s block doesn’t mean it’s not real.

And I resent the implication that I’m not a “real” writer simply because I occasionally experience bouts of writer’s block. Is having writer’s block conducive to being a working, published writer? Of course not. Nobody ever said it was. And believe me, I’ve tried every single suggestion I’ve ever come across to get past the writer’s block. Nothing works except for letting it run its course. Will that hamper me as a working writer? Probably, but I’ve found that worrying about things that I can’t control is pointless and only leads to fewer words written.

Just remember that not everybody does things exactly the way everybody else does them. AND THAT’S OKAY! I don’t write the way Chuck Wendig writes who doesn’t write the same way Ilona Andrews writes who doesn’t write the same way Stephen King writes. We’re all walking our own writing paths and striving to tell the best stories we can and that should be all that matters.

I’d also like to remind everybody about the giveaway I’m doing in support of Rob Thurman. Go HERE to enter for free books by a great author!! And, if you already entered but don’t see your comment, WordPress ate a couple of comments that it had marked as spam. Please repost and I’m so sorry. I think I have the problem fixed. Thanks.

7 responses

  1. I totally believe that writer’s block exists. Some writers may call it by a different name, but when the writing won’t come, it won’t come. It doesn’t make me any less real than any other writer out there. It happens.

    I just got out of a writer’s block yesterday. Course I had oral surgery and have been dizzy and spacey for about 2 weeks (long story) and writing, while I thought about it constantly, I couldn’t even fathom DOING IT. Just yesterday I wrote 354 words on my new project.

    It isn’t procrastination. It can’t be because usually while Im blocked, I want to write in the worst friggin way. I get so effed in the head over it that I can’t believe I’d do that to myself. 😦



    • *hugs* Hope you’re feeling better after the surgery.
      Yay for progress on the new project. It always feels good to finally be able to get back to the writing after a bout of being blocked. Good luck!

  2. My muse speaks in nightmares. No, really. 🙂

    I log off the Net when I’m working, but it’s hard to resist that little twitchy urge to jump back on and check blogs, e-mails, etc. when the words aren’t coming easily. I’ll have to check into the Freedom thing. Wonder if they have that for the iPhone? *laughs*

    There’s a great blog on overcoming procrastination over at Zen Habits this week. I printed it out and pinned it to my bulletin board!

    • Lisa, I would hate to have your muse. S/he sounds pretty scary.

      I know exactly how you feel about wanting to jump on “just for a second”. The first few times I used Freedom, it made me extremely anxious because I couldn’t get online. Yeah, I might have an internet addiction… *blushes* What helps me is to set it in 1 hour increments and reward myself with some internet time in between those hours.

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