Symptoms of Having a Writer’s Block

This information shows some symptoms that could be signs of a serious case of Writer’s Block, which should be checked by a doctor or nurse:

  • Incessant sighing
  • Hours of staring into space
  • Pulling at hair
  • Hours of staring at Microsoft Word
  • Hours of staring at a blank sheet of paper
  • Lack of appetite
  • Bouts of kicking and hitting random objects
  • Idleness

I had a few of these symptoms today, but a cup of tea at a coffee shop calmed my nerves a bit. This writer’s block I’m having isn’t so bad as the ones before. I think with a bit more concentration I’ll be able to complete chapter twenty-something that I’m stuck on. Once I do, I’ll only have three more chapters left to rewrite before sending the latter chunk of TRC off to my editor. I really want to have this draft (the ninth revision, I beleive? could be less or more, I forget; I don’t keep track) so that I could return to the beginning and devote my complete attention on fixing up the inconsistancies in plot and character, along with strengthening my dialogues. (The previous revisions were on maturing the plot and characters & making the story flow better) My editor said my dialogues “waxes and wane” too much. And I agree with her. Writing dialogues has never been my forte. But it’s something I hope to improve on. How? By eavesdropping, reading more (perhaps plays?), being more observant when in a conversation….

Oh yes, I think I’ll faint if I ever get a writer’s block over writing about the sea/ocean. Why? A few days ago, I accompanied my cousin to a photoshoot, and while she was shooting, I sat at the beach and stared at the lake (it was big enough to look like the sea/ocean) for three hours. I took notes, and more notes, and more notes. I observed the seagulls, and tried to put into words the way in which they swooped about the sky. I observed the water drawing and withdrawing from the sand, leaving a trail of white foam. I observed this bloated greenish-brown frog’s movement: I scared the frog imobile by throwing a pebble at it, it crouched still on the sand for a few minutes, before it hopped forward once more, but stopped again when I threw another pebble at it…and so this cycle went on until I got bored. I observed the way in which the children would run into the water, then run out, screaming, when the waves came, as if they were being charged at by a flow of lava. (Intermission: I remember I was like that once, finding joy in those little activities–ah, how jaded we become with age). I observed so many more things I would have been blind and deaf to had I not sat before the lake for three hours. (But I won’t post my detailed notes up here. It’s top secret). I’m coming to understand, by and by, how crucial it is for writers to be out in the world, to experience it, when before I prefered to be cooped up in my room writing, thinking that to be out would be wasting my writing time. As Garrison Keillor stated:

“Writing is not narcissism. Writing is abut the world that we live in, and when writing loses touch with the beautiful surface of the world, it loses its way.”

So, even though my occasional writer’s block makes me want to stay at home to brood over a sheet of paper, I’m taking more walks now around this vast, beautiful green field near where I live. And it’s worth the bother. Seriously. Joyce Carol Oates wrote:

“The great English Romantic poets were clearly inspired by their long walks, in all weather.”

Many of the great writers I read biographies of were great walkers. The Brontë sisters especially. Therefore, the message of this post today all comes down to: Let us all walk more often!

6 thoughts on “Symptoms of Having a Writer’s Block

  1. I meant Waxes and wane. She meant that there are some really strong, witty dialogues in my manuscript, but at other times, my dialogues seem very weak and rushed, or that it adds nothing to the plot.


    • I heard that walking away and leaving a manuscript for six months helps haha. It helps the writer read their work as a reader not a writer. Ahk. Hope I made sense there.


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