I’ve been struggling to make progress with my book for some months now. It’s not that I don’t know what happens next, but everytime I sit down to write I find myself easily distracted.
I began to think back to my unstoppable days, where churning out two or three thousand words daily was a default occurrence. How was I able to do it?
Honest answer? I didn’t have much of a life. I wasn’t married, didn’t have kids, didn’t have a job or a house to clean. Instead, I was a loner with no friends. By creating a new world through writing it was an escape from the mundane. The characters I wrote were my friends, I aided their struggles, shared their grief and success. Writing back then was so easy because it was more meaningful!
So what is writing now? Does it hold a similar meaning?
Well, no. I have a great job, a wonderful husband, and three beautiful kids that I love spending time with. There’s no going back to the way it was, and I don’t want to!
But I’ve been hanging onto this same story for 17 years, wanting to finish it and not being able to. Now I realize why–it’s no longer an escape, but I still love my characters dearly, and I’ve invested too many years to just give up on them.
So it’s sentiment. Sentiment has helped my writing survive, but it hasn’t propelled it forward. It’s a feeble reason to keep writing. Which is why I haven’t been very successful doing it.
That’s why other things distract me, that’s why I can’t write more than 300 words in a sit down even when I do carve out the time. I need to find real meaning for my writing again.
Obviously, my previous purpose is no longer feasible, I’m no longer a miserable teenager, I’m a content adult. I don’t want to escape reality anymore. So what substantial meaning can I attribute to writing now?
My answer: Drawing support from others who share the same struggles is a time proven method for success in almost every aspect of life from religion, to disease, to exercise, to entertainment, etc. So I’ve decided to begin meeting with other local writers at least once per month just to write together and support each other in the writing process.
I met with my group last weekend to test it out, wrote 400 words, and worked out several kinks in my storyline–a definite win!
If writing is a struggle for you and it wasn’t before, even though you’ve carved out the time and gathered your notes, then maybe the reason for your writers block goes deeper.
I suggest doing some soul searching to determine what remedy will work for you to get back on track. It may be trial and error for a bit, but once you figure it out I bet you find that writing comes to you much easier.
Perhaps joining a writing community is the answer for you too. If there isn’t a local group where you are, try searching for an online group, and don’t be shy about shopping around for the right fit.
Good luck and happy writing!