Writer’s Block, Schmiter’s Block

It isn’t that I never get blocked–I do. Often. For me, writing a story is often a lot like traffic gridlock. There I am, tootling along, on my way to my destination, sometimes on a deadline, and everything stops. Next thing you know, I’m sitting in stop-and-go traffic. Then I look out the window and see that the problem is some jerk who didn’t want to sit at a red light, so he pulled into the intersection behind a line of stopped cars, and now the cars with a green light can’t go anywhere because Jerkface is in the way.

Writing is like that. When I’m blocked, it’s usually because something is in the way. If I can figure out what it is, I can use my god-like writerly powers to reach down from the heavens and pick Jerkface up and put him in that great time-out in the sky.

Except during NaNoWriMo, I seldom write full speed ahead. I usually write carefully and slowly, and what I’ve already done nags me and drags me until I have it good enough to go on. Sadly, that doesn’t always mean it’s good, just that I think it is. I’m learning to cut most of my lead-in, even if I’ve written it to my satisfaction, but I have to write it to my satisfaction first. Then I can go on.

Eventually, there comes a point at which the story flows. After that, if I get blocked, I know it’s because I’ve taken a wrong turn. Somebody reacted inappropriately for no reason. I’ve told too much when the scene needs to be compressed, or I’ve glossed over a scene that needs to be opened up. I’m putting too much emphasis on something that distracts from what I want to emphasize.

During NaNo, I just make a note of this and write on, as if I hadn’t made that mistake. If only I could do that the other eleven months of the year! Maybe I’ll learn to do that, when I’ve been doing NaNo long enough. For now, writer’s block is my friend; it helps me write the way I write, until I learn a better way.

Does writer’s block torment you, or do you use it to help you write?

WRITING PROMPT: Put a character in traffic gridlock, as a perpetrator or as a sufferer.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

You may also like...

One thought on “Writer’s Block, Schmiter’s Block

  1. Misha

    January 29, 2011 at 2:23pm

    Oh my word! Someone who knows what I mean.

    The other day, someone was blocking for no reason and I suggested they go check if they didn’t make a character act out of character or if they broke a rule in their story’s universe.

    I think they thought I was insane.

    I might be, but that’s not the point.

    Usually, if I block for reasons not connected to my emotions, I check for the above errors. If I still block, I know that my creative mind has run out of thoughts, so I relax and wait for the rest of the story to form.

    I usually write full steam ahead so that I can out-write my inner censor.

    Anyway, just came by from Lee’s blog to say hi.

    Misha would love to share..TimeMy Profile

    Permalink  ⋅ Reply
    • Author

      Marian Allen

      January 29, 2011 at 4:40pm

      “I usually write full steam ahead so that I can out-write my inner censor.” — Brilliant! That’s what I need to do. Or maybe not. (Yes, I’m Libra–lol) I love the idea, and it works during NaNo. I think I could do it on a good day. 🙂

      Thanks for coming to visit me. I just went and visited you. 🙂

      Permalink  ⋅ Reply
  2. Mary Montague Sikes - Monti

    January 29, 2011 at 7:05pm

    Oops! Just noticed you’re a Libra! So am I and it sure makes me live with lots of checks and balances!

    Also, is there a way to delete the error in the previous comment. I copied something from Google Alert and not paying attention thought I was adding my normal url! Not!!! Sorry.


    Permalink  ⋅ Reply

Your email will not be published. Name and Email fields are required

CommentLuv badge

This blog uses premium CommentLuv which allows you to put your keywords with your name if you have had 3 approved comments. Use your real name and then @ your keywords (maximum of 3)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.