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The Evil in a Writer's Life

Is called Writer’s Block.

That’s when you sit at the computer and realize you can’t finish a sentence. You might even forget your hero and/or heroine’s name. And if it’s really bad, you’re asking yourself what your own name is.

Everyone has their own way of handling writer’s block. Some doggedly sit at the computer, struggling to come up with the next word or sentence. Others get away, looking for something, anything, to help jumpstart their imagination.

My imagination tends to go on vacation when I’m tired. Or for the days I could write non-stop, write all night and still be alert the next day.

So what do I do when that happens?

Cleaning the three bathrooms comes to mind. But I prefer driving up into the hills or around the vineyards or ranches and let my characters talk to me. They do love their road trips.

Sometimes opt for a long bath and a book to let my brain relax enough to return to work.

Personally, I don’t sit at the computer and try to push through. My writing isn’t as effective then.

So what do you do when your imagination decides to take off?



  1. I'm currently writing Taming the Highland Wolf about Julia Wildthorn, a writer of werewolf romances, except she's a werewolf herself, when she gets writer's block. She goes to Scotland to try her hand at a historical romance, but finds writers block is the least of her troubles! For me, I brainstorm, clean, read a book, go back and a movie, reread the pages I've already written, brainstorm some more. :)

  2. I live in a tug of war between an unruly imagination and self-discipline. The part that wants to play is the part that knows where to find inspiration.
    "Morning pages" are one of my best compromises. Before I try to work on the book, I free write for a few minutes. Absolutely anything that comes to mind--garbage--incomplete sentences--the way I really feel about______.
    When I'm blocked because I really don't know what happens next, I have a wonderful friend, another writer who is fantastic at plotting, who brainstorms with me.
    Those days when nothing is going to start the flow? I don't know. But I have found they're most likely to descend when I'm extremely tired.

  3. Hi Linda,

    You know, online shopping used to be a great way for me to cure writers block--until I realized I didn't need anything else! :-) Now I find I simply have to get away from the computer. I still enjoy sitting in a comfy chair and putting my thoughts down on paper. That seems to help me focus.

  4. I hate when the words and ideas just aren't flowing - but I refuse to call it a block. ;-)

    When this happens, I stay at my computer, but shift my focus. I might work on a different scene, one that fires my imagination a little bit more. I might chip away at my list of research topics. I might do some freewriting to explore a character, the plot...whichever aspect of the work I feel least confident about at the moment. Because that's usually the thing that's tripping me up.

  5. I think the best thing to do is just get away from the computer. Get up, move around (even if it's just a quick turn about the Sourcebooks office, haha), and do something not related to writing! A nice cup of tea helps, too.

  6. go on the internet.


    Normally, I change playlists in my iPod and try again. Or, I'll try another scene, which is what I'm doing right now. The story didn't want to be written linearly, so I'm doing patchwork. But it's so satisfying to get those words on the page, that I'll let it continue.

  7. That's why I get out of the house. New scenery helps.

    The best part is everyone has a way that works for them.


  8. I give myself permission to stare at a blank screen, no pressure. And usually, the words start coming. Sounds simplistic, but for some reason it works for me. :}

  9. I seem to get ideas driving to and from lunch with my BFF. So if I'm blocked, I call her for lunch! ;-)

    Meeting with my CP also energizes me and gets me back into the story, esp. when we brainstorm.


  10. All good ideas ladies, I can see why there are so many good writers out there. I had someone else ask this question not to long ago, I told her a good run around her house screaming at the top of her lungs aught to do it. She had a good laugh and shook her head with that, she's demented and should be locked up for her own good look in her eye! But hey, nobody said I was sane! lol ;)

  11. I've been suffering for the past couple weeks with my own bad case of writers block. I think I've done everything to get past it, wow is my house clean :-)

    I am still trying to push through and find my inspiration but the damn muse if off partying or something because I can't find her anywhere.

  12. You've got me all dreamy-eyed with the thought of three bathrooms, Linda, and I can go no further. OMG, it must be heaven....

  13. Uh, Roxanne, you wanna come over since you love cleaning so much? :}

  14. LOL Cheryl! Yes, they're nice until you have to clean them. And our tortoise is hibernating in one of them. She'll be there until April or so.

  15. Sorry I'm late chiming in. I've had a stomach flu, thank God it's just about over. When I have writers block, I grab one of my cool Circa notebooks and I write long hand. It works. I also have this reallly cool thing called "The Observation Deck--A Toolkit for Writers" by Naomi Epel There's a book and a deck of cards. I usually just grab a card from the stack and do whatever it says. I love it. Especially the one that says "Feed your senses" When I hit that one the last time I opened a nice bottle of Australian Shiraz and a box of chocolate truffles.


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