On Writer’s Block by Barbara Winkes

Readers have an appetite for new books, which means as a self-published author, you have to provide while gently remind folks of your back catalogue. Three to four titles a year is not uncommon for indie authors. You have to ensure the cooperation of your muse any way you can. Even if you’ve found a comfortable discipline, there will be plenty of distractions: Worrying about reviews, rankings, sales, especially if your book just came out, are only some of them.

There’s the Internet. There are many, many opinions on what you should write, what you shouldn’t write, and how to write it. How to promote it and how not to. Engaging is great. Letting yourself get sucked into disputes can seriously throw you off your game. We haven’t even talked about real life that might or might not include a day job besides creating imaginary friends and bringing them to the people.

Some writers will insist that writer’s block doesn’t exist, that if you really mean it and are disciplined enough, it won’t happen.

Well…I’m not one of those writers (I’m also convinced they just call it something else).

You can try to force it or walk away for a bit.

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Those are usually the top two choices for me, though it sometimes takes a bit to figure out which is the right one. They might work for you too.

It’s important that you try out different strategies so you’ll have them at your disposal eventually. Experiment. Sometimes a movie, a scene from a TV show or a headline in the paper brings back the spark. Sometimes you have to sit it out—which can be an exercise in dealing with setbacks.

Try something new. If you’re a pantser, take notes about your story and your characters, create charts and tables. If you’re a plotter, find some prompts and write stream-of-consciousness. Remember that in the end it will matter very little how you got there. It matters that you get there, provide something you can be proud of to editors and readers. In the privacy of your own writing space and mind, anything goes. Even never using the term writer’s block at all, if that’s what helps.

There’s a story that is waiting to be told, and the process will be everything from amazing to sobering to wanting to tear your hair out at times. It’s also your job and your business and your dream come true all at the same time, and it never hurts to remind yourself of the latter.

I hope you’re still with me, and come back to take a look at the overall experience of being “out there” as a writer with me. Thank you for reading!


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