Words Failing Me Adverb-sarily


Me and you both, buddy. Pass the Advil and quill.
Me and you both, buddy. Pass the Advil and quill.

It seems that I am having a hard time writing these days.

Oh I can put words down on the keyboard, but they are floating about and bumping into one another and jostling for space and not behaving as they should.  The words are flailing about, treading on one another, stomping on each other’s feet, adverb-sarily taunting one another and just being naughty in general.  Whenever I get into a flow, bombs drop out of the sky and poke holes in the narrative. Analogies breakdown quicker than a Hyundai in a snowstorm and my beginning-middle-end have no beginning, middle or end.  It’s a hodge-podge of gruel, porridge and mush.

I have about 15 posts in my drafts folder and am becoming a draft dodger as I try to soldier on here.  I am warring with the words and they have me laying down arms and typing fingers.  Every time I get the buzz to scribble down thoughts, they vaporize and scatter like roaches when the lights get turned on. Whenever I get the zen to share something here, words turn on me. A literary Lupus of sorts.

They say that when you are stuck, it’s important to keep writing.  They say that even if you write about not being able to write, write.  And that’s what this here post is.  I am writing about the fact that words are playing a cruel game of hide-and-seek and I am the exasperated parent on the couch with a tumbler of Sprite and a thimble of patience and just not interested.  But that’s the game.  That’s the way it goes when you write.  Ass-in-chair wins out all the time.  Ass-in-chair gets words on the screen, even if they don’t make sense.  Anne Lamott talks about writing a “shitty first draft” and I have plenty to plaster the walls of Paris with that.

That is what writing has taught me – to write.  Even when you hate it, even when you love it, even when the wallpaper is peeling and you want to fix it and even when everything in you says f*ck it and want to go and play Angry Birds for an hour or watch bad music videos on YouTube, you write.  Or when you run out of coffee.  Write.

Stephen King once said that “The scariest moment is always just before you start.”  I understand that because when I sit at the screen, all my fears and voices within join me, and they chatter and catcall me and pinch me and heckle me and they play the vuvuzela in my ear.  When I push them aside and honour the one singular voice that is scraping on the walls of my mind to breach surface, then I can begin the flow.  I can then start to heed that call that is always hounding me. Beseeching me to put digit to keypad.

I am a lot of things, and writer has always been one, even before I learned what writing was.  I can’t talk worth a damn, my drawing and painting skills go no further than stick figures, I dance like an Ewok having a seizure and I sing like a dying aardvark.  But I can write.  And no matter what I have endured in my life, writing has been there.  The only time I put writing back in the desk was in the last painful years of my active drinking life. That hurt as much as anything else did.  The one thing that centered me had been put in the rubbish bin alongside the empty bottles.

I used to write short stories. I also started a novel.  As a starter of things, I am batting 1.000 in the Big Leagues, but as a finisher, I am still riding the pine in Triple-A ball.  This blog was my gentle re-emergence to the craft, to at least get something out there, to put one bloody word in front of another and not trip doing it.  I still haven’t touched my old stuff nor have I started anything new.  Fears still hold me back, but I am aware of that and hope to get past them and just start.  Ass-in-chair kind of stuff again.

So in the meantime, I write about not being able to write, and yet I write, so perhaps I am being dishonest when I say I am having a hard time writing.  Perhaps it’s just that I am a having a hard time putting it together.  Or having a hard time being vulnerable.  Or having a hard time moving through the things that block me from doing something great.  Or at least passably good.  Or having a hard time getting to the real core of things within.  The sticky stuff inside. To quote Mr. King again – “Fiction is the truth inside the lie”.

Isn’t that what we do here when we write?  Dismantle everything and display it for all to see and pour blood on the page and bring a light to dismal places? It’s about the truth, and I can manipulate words and they can manipulate me and yet me meet in the middle with those who read them and we collude to see our own truths in our eyes and we settle down for tea and share.

Or coffee.  And I truly am out of coffee.  And that needs fixing.




77 Comments Add yours

  1. This is an exceptional expression of your exhaustive frustration.

    1. thank you PP! not so much frustrating as just part of the process 🙂

  2. annegillion says:

    This alone is a work of expressive art. Captivated by your first paragraph and felt compelled to comment before reading any more – and I’m a trained journalist.
    “Oh I can put words down on the keyboard, but they are floating about and bumping into one another and jostling for space and not behaving as they should. The words are flailing about, treading on one another, stomping on each other’s feet, adverb-sarily taunting one another and just being naughty in general. Whenever I get into a flow, bombs drop out of the sky and poke holes in the narrative. Analogies breakdown quicker than a Hyundai in a snowstorm and my beginning-middle-end have no beginning, middle or end. It’s a hodge-podge of gruel, porridge and mush.”
    Stop beating yourself up, Paul. It’s the disease.
    Love and thoughts,

    1. Hi Anne,

      You know, writing is the only part of my life where I have the most clarity. It’s the healthiest part of me, in that I don’t get caught up in the comparison thing nor do I get bent out of shape if I don’t do this or that. It just is. Writer’s block is almost a myth. When I am blocked, I just do what I did here. Write. So while it might seem I am beating myself over it, I really am not! This was just something that I wanted to share here – something that I would have normally put in a journal. But thank you so much for the comments – I didn’t know you were a trained journalist. (I apologize for any grammatical atrocities!!)


  3. JJ says:

    I have a couple of stories I had the impetus to write about 10 or 15 years ago, but never did, and paintings too. It’s a regret as they would have been good and my own fresh look at things.

    I have Anne Lamott’s “Bird by Bird” book too and it’s so helpful with this sort of thing. Generally it’s a momentum thing. Start, and even if you only do ten minutes per day, it’s started and you can get back to it, whereas if you don’t start at all, 15 years later you think of it with wistful regret and loss.

    I also think with blogging there is a tendency once you get a following to think that you have to be the guru who teaches, who leads, the one who knows, the one who helps others. You can still do that, however, finding joy for yourself is key, writing for yourself is key, finding pleasure in writing a paragraph for a short story you get a kick out of is key. You need to absorb joy yourself, despite fear, just remember what it feels like to write with joy and jot down ideas for stories with joy.

    I too started writing again just by blogging about other projects and cards. You do improve your skills, you also improve your ability to make good sentences and paragraphs. Practice is practice in any endeavour.

    If you aren’t interested then it means you need a break to rediscover joy. It doesn’t mean it’s gone forever. You might find it interesting to read biographies of writers, poets or artists while you take a break. That way you aren’t totally cut off from it and you start to realize what a slog it is for others.

    1. “I also think with blogging there is a tendency once you get a following to think that you have to be the guru who teaches, who leads, the one who knows, the one who helps others. You can still do that, however, finding joy for yourself is key, writing for yourself is key, finding pleasure in writing a paragraph for a short story you get a kick out of is key. You need to absorb joy yourself, despite fear, just remember what it feels like to write with joy and jot down ideas for stories with joy.” I love this all.

      All your comments are bang on and they speak to me. I think you are right about doing it for the joy, and that is why sometimes I wonder about the future of this blog. Sometimes I wonder if it has served its purpose. Or perhaps I just need to do as you suggest and just do something else and get back in touch with the part that truly finds joy in it. Because even when I slog it out, it’s still joy. I may not feel it in that exact moment, but I know I should be doing what I need to be doing.

      One thing I fought against was reading other works. My writing teacher told me over and over again – read! And I didn’t. Mr. King (again) talks about how if you don’t read (other works) you are aren’t going to be able to write well. And I get that now, even though I rarely read fictional works.

      And yes, Bird by Bird is fantastic. I have read it a few times, and I need to get it back from someone I lent it to a year or two ago to reread it.

      Thank you for your kind words.

  4. I LOVE this post!! Proof that writing when one can’t think of what to write is the right thing to do, right? A friend of mine told me, that if I was stuck in the writing doldrums I should start with a single “word”. But how can you start with a word when there are SO MANY? So I started writing down words I hate (plethora, serendipitous, vis-à-vis…), which got me on the topic of hating people, simply because they uttered a word I hated…
    I would not worry about writer’s block if I were you. Great, hilarious, challenging post – per usual…

    1. Thanks Marilyn! I like what you said about picking a word, etc. There are countless ways to get out of writing doldrums. And guess what, they all involve writing! Sometimes it’s about having fun with words, and I had fun with my post.

      Thanks again for being here, and thanks for helping me get out of my own doldrums by asking me to do that post together!


  5. And yet, you still produce a masterpiece.

    I have no words of advice because I do not share your talent of writing and so never struggle to blurt out whatever is on my mind (lol), but I will say that I look very much forward to all of your posts.

    1. Awww thank you Jane! I always enjoy your easy going conversational style, so don’t get down on that! I actually envy that in some ways – it means it comes so easily from you! But in the end, I am sure to come up with something. I think I just put some additional pressure here for some reason to make sure it’s “perfect” lol.

      Anyway, thanks for the props and hope you are well!


  6. Love it. Been there, man.

    1. Thanks Dan! I am sure you’ve been there a few times, eh? We’re never alone!

  7. Paul says:

    Well said Paul. I, unfortunately, am finisher, not a starter. Once i have started I always seem to finish. Which means i have no posts sitting in the wings. I will tell you this about me though: when I am confused or not sure what I am going to do in life, then my writing comes harder. The more focused I am in life, the more focused I am in my writing. I don’t know of that means anything to you or not, but just sayin’. How has your life changed since you spoke with God on the bench? That would be interesting.

    1. You know Paul, I read this when you first responded and just kind of put it in the part of my brain that likes to suck on candy and sit with it. I reread this again and it just suckerpunched me in the gut (in a good way). That thing about where I am at in my life is bang on. I was just telling my wife the other day that I feel that something is missing in my life. I just can’t figure it out. It’s not spiritual because I feel that I have my connection with God, but there seems to be some sort of purpose or something that is not being expressed or fulfilled. Not something grandiose or anything like that, but…??? And perhaps, as you so wisely suggested, that might have something to do with uncertainty in my writing. It would seem that I have these themes or ideas i want to convey, but they fall apart. So what’s trying to be expressed? An underlying desire or some kind? And that’s what is driving me batty – what is it?? Gah! ha ha.

      Anyway, you hit the nail on the head once again. Let’s see how this unfolds, I guess.


  8. Oh, you are not alone! I’ve been bumping up against the same story or lack of, for about a year now. Your post is a reminder to just do.

    1. Hi Tricia! Yes, I am now kinda thinking about cracking open that old flash drive of mine and taking a gander at some of that stuff. Or just start fresh. Who knows. I hope that you get a chance to get fresh eyes on that story. Would love to have you share it one day with the world 🙂

  9. ainsobriety says:

    I am not a writer. I love blog posts that show the depth of thought the author has made.
    My posts are quickly written, on a whim, usually with the spark of joy or fear or anger that brought me to a place that I hope might help me to write about or others to read.

    I have always wanted to be a writer. I even have an English degree, earned as I went through engineering.

    I suppose it’s never too late for any of us to start!

    Hope your writers block dissolves!


    1. I love your posts Anne. I think they are more than just a momentary toss-off type thing you make it sound like. They certainly are tinged with great insight, which is why I love your comments here and on other blogs too.

      The thing about being a writer is that if you are writing, then you are a writer. I went through that struggle of “well I’m not published so I can’t say I’m a writer” type of thing and in the end I can say I am a writer. I haven’t published. I don’t have an agent. But I write. Same as if you knit. You are a knitter. Just because you don’t sell your work or have been highlighted in some knitting magazine, etc. doesn’t mean you’re not a knitter.

      I started with some workshops and such. Once a week at night type of thing. It was great for me. Got to meet some other writers and got good feedback. Different skill ranges and lots of different voices. You have a voice for sure!

      Thanks for all you do.

      1. ainsobriety says:

        Thank you. You are right. I might write quickly, but I really only do it when I am inspired.
        I always think back to when a teacher once said of you have an issue or a question, chances are so do others. But everyone is afraid to ask.

        I’m not afraid to speak up any more.

  10. NewLeaf says:

    Your struggle is so beautifully brave. Writing is something I’ve let fears champion. ‎ Appreciate you sharing. Always wishing you well.

    Kind thanks, NewLeaf

    1. Hi NL 😉
      I hope that you find a way to keep writing. I really do. I would love to read your healing journey. Writing has helped me in so many ways. I hope you are able to return to it 🙂


  11. I reckon you could seek out the poetry in a shopping list Paul. You’re truly out of coffee, I truly love your writing.

    1. Thanks for that – got a chuckle out of the shopping list thing. I will take that compliment, thank you. That’s very kind of you to say so. I will go make more coffee now (I am not kidding, was just about to make some before getting to your comment!)


  12. lucy2610 says:

    Paul for someone who says he’s having trouble writing – you sure can write! 🙂 xx

    1. Thanks Lucy – I was having some fun there by the end…lol. Thanks for reading!


  13. Pfft, that was brilliant! 💋

    1. Thanks WGNZ…lol. Hope you’re well!

  14. sara says:

    Ha! I loved this, especially the image created for me about the parent on the lounge with a tumbler of sprite and a thimble of patience :). So, you want to write your way out of your funk? Seems like you’re doing a fine job of that!

    1. Hi Sara! thanks for the kind words! It was sorta fun to write that, and I think that is what I have been missing – the fun part. I have been too busy trying to make everything so very perfect and “appropriate” for the blog, etc. But I can see now that after doing it and reading lovely comments like yours that I just need a bit more joy attached to the writing.

      Thanks for helping me see that!


      1. sara says:

        More joy 😊 Exactly what is needed!

  15. jeffstroud says:

    Oh Man if I could write like that about not writing, I would write all the time! As many of you blog followers have already pointed out; Wonderfully done! There is a lot of great advice and I even took some myself just now.
    I was going to respond later but then the energy would be dissipated and the joy of responding would not be the same. I have to get in the practice of “do it now” or it don’t get done!
    Just like “ass in the chair” write even when you have nothing to write about. I have been doing “morning pages” almost everyday since I moved into the apartment, the blog as only been published a few times in the past few months. Someone above as well as you mentioned the process of truth and blood on the page. I felt that many times through blogging. At the moment I am not sure I wish to be that vulnerable right now, even my photography as slowed down a bit… recharging, examining, looking at the details.

    Keep going you are doing great!

    1. hi Jeff.

      Great insight as usual. And thank you for sharing what is going on with you as well. Very helpful for me.

      I know many folks who do the morning pages. That comes from The Artist’s Way, no? (I could be wrong). I don’t have that kind of time in the morning, or the discipline to be honest, but it really works for a lot of folks. Glad you’re doing it.

      As they say (and again, I will quote Mr. King for the nth time on this) – “Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration. The rest of us just get up and go to work” so doing the work is just that – work. I don’t mind to be honest.

      Anyway, I look forward to when you post more pics, my friend!


  16. Rod says:

    A lot of guys drink and write, like Hemingway, but Flannery O’Connor suffered from Lupus and still wrote sober and in pain every morning and rested in the afternoon. Drinking is a crutch. Flannery O’Connor used two crutches, neither one having anything to do with booze.,..I respect that.

    1. I think we all had those romanticized visions of writers like Hemingway, etc. Then again, they were rare and in the end, they often committed suicide (like him and Hunter S. Thompson). When I wrote drunk it was abysmal, even though at the time I was penning the newest bestseller. In the end, the writing I do clear and sober is way better than what I could have produced back then. I had some moments of good writing, but it never got to where it could really go.

      thanks Rod!


  17. mishedup says:

    i hear ya.
    piles of unfinished posts..some i go back to because if i had the thought a couple weeks ago it may still be a good thought, you know. There may still be something there to write about.
    I put up a place holder blog just the other day, because it had been a long time. Place holders are good….
    and this was a very well written one.
    “Ass in chair. Shitty first drafts. left foot, right foot, left foot breath!”….all Anne at her best. And clearest.

    1. Thanks M! I am not sure how long to keep my old drafts, to be honest. They are there because I must have had a reason to start writing them. But I will see if any are worth revisiting.

      P.S What is a placeholder blog?

      1. mishedup says:

        Basically a check in….I’m ok, I’m busy, this is why….you know, letting everyone know you’re still here and keeping the space open!

  18. I really need to read Anne Lamott.

    Inspired, and inspiring, Paul, and a motivating lesson in Just Do It!

    1. she’s one of my heroes. She and Mr. King are one of us too, by the way (I am sure you knew that!)

      thanks Josie – hope you are well, my friend!


  19. Phoenix says:

    Brilliantly said… er… written! 🙂

    1. Ha ha…thanks 🙂

  20. Well done! Sounds like your are having trouble publishing more than writing since you said you have about 15 drafts started! Writing clearly and well is much more difficult than people think it is and every time you publish it is a risk. Writers, myself included, all say they write for themselves but we need a reader and want to do it well.
    Perhaps you just need to hit that publish button and see the response…this post was excellent, honest, and resonated with a lot of readers…lets meet in the middle then, shall we?

    1. Thanks for this – I usually don’t have a problem with the publishing part – I think I have 220 posts done here at the blog. It’s completing a full thought per se and then releasing it. It’s more about starting it. While I don’t ruthlessly edit my work here, I certainly don’t want to half-arse it either…ha ha. So some may get completed, some may disappear into the ether. We’ll see!
      Thanks for the encouraging comments!


  21. Groovy thoughts. Honest. True yet fun and not without the usual mastery of the language.

    1. Thanks Linda…so very kind of you to say. I did have fun with it, and as I mentioned in another comment, I think that has been the missing ingredient lately! I will try to remember this lesson 🙂

      Thank you for all you bring to things here, my friend.


  22. sherryd32148 says:

    I delete all my drafts if I don’t publish them within 24 hours. I can’t stand looking at them undone in the draft bin – drives me nuts. I also can never remember what the heck I was trying to say when I started the post so what’s the point of going back?

    I so admire writers like you who really craft your pieces. It’s like a work of art when you hit publish. It’s evident when I read it how incredibly talented you are and how much your writing means to you. That’s why I love reading your blog and why I would happily buy your book or short story anthology or any magazine that carried an article penned by you.

    So stay stuck…just don’t stop writing.


    1. I sometimes feel the same – like I lost that moment, so why bother keeping them? I have deleted drafts in the past. I might do a cleansing again. I am not attached to them, but thought perhaps I would finish them off. But the time passes and I often don’t have that drive or passion about whatever it was that I was trying to convey.

      And thank you so much for the kind words. You know, I don’t craft too much. I seriously need editing, and when I wrote stories, I was ruthless in my editing. The blog has made me lazy in many ways, and I understand this when I do guest posts for other blogs and they EDIT like MAD. Lol. It’s ruthless at times, but good for me to do. You should see how much thought and effort goes into some of the posts that other people I know do. I am a fly-by-night person by comparison!

      Anyway, thanks again Sherry – you have a fine way with the words too. Your emotive message comes through straight and clear and that’s why I enjoy your words. Especially when you do your lists. You’re the queen in that department!

      Hope you are well!


  23. k2running says:

    So I think it was you who once told me during a bout of writers block, that our writing doesn’t have to be perfect and to just write from the heart……..you are an incredibly talented writer, I only hope to be half as good as you someday.
    Even your writers block is brilliant!
    Hang in there:)

    1. Ha ha…thank you Katie. I appreciate the kind words. I was just having fun there. I think it wasn’t so much writing that I struggled with, it was finishing. When it comes to writing, I am usually good that way. But lately it’s been elusive. But I will get back quickly no doubt.

      Thank you for being you and for being so supportive! 🙂


  24. Amy says:

    Stops and starts are what I’ve been stuck on too.

    1. Yeah I get that totally!

  25. I was just telling my husband the other day that I think my writer’s block is because I’m happy in my life right now. Usually my grand forays into writing are fueled by things I need to work out, usually some sort of angst. Sure, I’ve got things I’m worried over and life isn’t perfect, but mostly I’m content… even with my writer’s block.

    1. Hi Judith,

      It’s funny how many people feel the same in the blogging world. I have seen many blogs start up and then eventually peter off because the folks have said that things are fairly good and there isn’t much to write about. I think you are right about working through things in writing. I do for sure. I guess we think that others would be bored of us broadcasting our content-edness…ha ha. For a recovery blog, it might be a good idea for myself and perhaps others to say that things are great – might give newcomers some hope.

      Anyway, I guess we tend to fall into the category of “no news is good news”! Glad all is well with you – look forward to reading about your workouts / next race!


  26. Im running on day 42 and have truly truly enjoyed every word of your sober blogging so fare. As a none english speaker your langauge truly enriches mine – plus alot of laughs 😉

    Do not take yourself all too serious now 😉

    You have already made a major impact in this Sober Univers – why not just enjoy your rebounding and allow yourself to head for YOUR next (bigger) writing piece … you may already what that is already ?


    THX., and nice weekend 😉

    1. Ha ha…thank you SMP! This made me laugh…thank you. I will certainly do my best to not take myself so seriously. That’s been a big learning curve for me! And thank you for the kind comments – I appreciate them and I am very glad you are here, my friend 🙂

      And congrats on your 43 days of sobriety! That’s fantastic!


  27. Kate Loveton says:

    Paul, I have been going through this malaise for several weeks now. You expressed my sense of paralysis so well, and my need to get myself back in gear. If Shakespeare were listening in to my thoughts, he would surely say, “Get thee to it, woman!” And so I am trying to get myself back to it. It’s comforting to know others experience this, too. Great post.

    1. Oh hello Kate!

      I too am glad that it’s not just me going through this. I think opening up about it helps to release the fears that drive them. And I am so very grateful for you visiting this rather niched site (I am opening myself up here slowly in terms of my topics, etc.). I look forward to reading your blog!


  28. Kate Loveton says:

    Reblogged this on Odyssey of a Novice Writer and commented:
    I had to reblog this post from Carry the Message. This post describes so accurately the feelings I’ve have been battling the past month or two. It’s comforting to know others experience this dry patch. I am having a serious conversation with myself at present, admonishing myself to get my writing butt back in gear.

    Have any of you also experienced this malaise from time to time?

    If you get a chance, check Carry The Message out. This gentleman has a seriously great blog.

    1. I am very humbled by your reblogging, Kate. Thank you very much for sharing 🙂

      1. Kate Loveton says:

        My pleasure! 🙂

  29. This is an excellent post which speaks to me. I battle the words on the pages when I’m drained of energy because of worry, over-work, not enough sleep etc. Sometimes, my mind is a complete blank; I can’t think of the word that means (insert your choice), which distresses me farther.
    Is your daily schedule plugged tight, are you overwhelmed with too much on your plate. That can be exhausting. Maybe all you need is to take a carefree weekend to get the cogs up and running again. 🙂

    1. Thank you so much for the visit and comments 🙂

      And yes, I have quite the long days (I am up at 5am for 6:30am work start) and am busy pretty much until bed. There are so many times where I am so ready to type out a post and then boom – I am exhausted. That is why I post infrequently – I am too tired to write a post. I do comment a lot on other blogs, and that’s easy as I don’t have to “commit” to a long process!

      Carefree weekends are a dream right now – have two boys 7 and 5 who won’t let us sit for long! (It’s a great problem to have)

      Have a wonderful rest of the weekend!


      1. I don’t have children who need my attention. I’m retired and still frazzled. I hope you can get some YOU time somehow. Is it Spring Break for the kids for you this week as well?

        1. Sorry for the delay in getting back to you! and yes! Spring break (or as we call it up here, March Break). I have actually decided to retire the blog, so hopefully I can get some other kind of writing in now!

          Hope you are well, my friend!


          1. When I come back next week, I plan on carving more time for writing for me and less commenting and reading others blogs. I love Blog World but it’s eating up my time.
            Good luck. I know where you;re coming from.

  30. jan says:

    Lol – my draft folder is full too. I can really identify with this post – sometimes when we think what we’re writing is not ready for prime time it really resonants with our viewers. Just one of those ironies of writing! jan

    1. Hi Jan!

      You are right about how we may not feel that it’s “ready” and yet that post will get the most comments, etc. And vice-versa. It’s amazing that the ones that I am most nervous about releasing via blue button are the ones that tend to resonate more. Funny how that works, eh?

      Anyway, thanks for connecting and look forward to checking out your corner of the world!


  31. stacilys says:

    HECK YA! You can write. Pretty darn good too 🙂
    Heya Paul, great article. I once read (well, I haven’t finished it yet) a book called, The War of Art. It’s pretty good and goes into what you were saying here about just sitting your butt down in the chair and forcing yourself to write. It doesn’t matter if it’s good or not. What matters is that you are determined to not let anything get in your way of that. You should check out that book. I think you would really like it (http://www.amazon.com/War-Art-Through-Creative-Battles/dp/1936891026/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1426529474&sr=1-1&keywords=the+war+of+art)
    Anyhow, always a pleasure to read your posts. Interesting that you didn’t add any funky pics this time.
    Hugs and blessings.

    1. I have heard of that book – someone else pointed me that way. Seems like something to consider then after all!

  32. Jonathan says:

    Hello again, It seems I’m moved to comment on another of your posts. You say,

    “They say that when you are stuck, it’s important to keep writing. They say that even if you write about not being able to write, write. ”

    Who says this? I think it’s actually very bad advice. Why? Because it’s general. I don’t think there’s a generic solution. Obviously, in order to be productive, there will have to be a certain number of hours in which your fingers are hitting the keys. There’s no way around that.

    And, the question so many have tried to answer: How do you manage to get those hours in? Every person must figure that out for himself. So, a first draft of a novel…that could require around 240 good hours. On the most basic level, your ass must be in a chair as your fingers hit the keys for 240 hours.

    If a person’s having trouble getting those 240 hours, I don’t think a generic answer is to sit there being unproductive towards those 240 hours while actively going through the motion while not doing it for real. That’s definitely not going to be the answer for everyone. It even surprises me a bit that it’s the answer for anyone.

    Now, there’s a great deal that could be said. I’ll close with an unpleasant thought, which has no specific target. One of the unfortunate things about writing is that it’s too accessible. That’s to say, there are a great many people who are literate. And, they’re capable of sitting down and putting words on paper. The bar of entry is on the floor. I could sit at a piano and hit the keys for the next year; and, I guarantee you there will not be a beautiful song composed. Nor do I or anyone else expect that this is within my potential.

    1. jrj1701 says:

      Hey Jonathan, I am just lurking on the sidelines yet your comment just got me out of my slumber and moved me to put fingers to keyboard. I agree with you that there is no generic solution, yet the purpose of writing about what is keeping you from writing is a means to get in contact with that creative force that I call God. Sometimes another influence comes through, yet this can be discerned and dealt with by writing it out, sometimes not by you, yet by somebody, it gets out and into the light. and so you can work with it. You use the example of sitting at the piano, well to be able to play the piano you have to work at it, and there are folks that have a God given talent playing the piano, yet even a tone deaf person can learn to play and even make some money at it if that is what he sets his mind to do, and puts in the hard work to achieve his goal, accepting that there will be failures, yet not letting the failures hold him back from achieving his goal. Paul is doing his part to help himself by helping others, he is doing something that is truly beautiful, sharing his struggle in all honesty, the good and the bad, and that it is a one day at a time proposition. I see in him great potential, for he is putting forth an effort that is worthy of praise, and is an inspiration to those who struggle, a bright light in this darkness. I have just read his latest blog post where he is taking his bow and leaving the central spotlight of the blogosphere, and I will truly miss his voice that has helped me in my struggle for the past couple of years, and I pray that he will not let his voice be silent for too long, for his voice is needed in this song, just as every voice is needed, even the ones who can’t hold up to the scrutiny of the negative critics. Even the negative critics are needed, though their job isn’t always appreciated and their efforts are at times destructive to good folks. We are all in this together whether we see it or not.

      1. Thank you JR for the comments. I was going to reply directly, but I thought your wonderful thoughts carried the day. Bless you and thanks for this…so very much appreciated 🙂


  33. Putting my hand up and admitting that the writing malaise has started to infect me too. I am telling myself that it is because my life has become so hectic, but I always seem to find something else rather than writing to do…

    Excellent post! ❤

    1. HI Heather!

      I have gotten like that – somehow that game of Angry Birds for me seems more important than doing the writing. I think it’s because AB can be quick and I don’t have to *commit* like I do writing.

      It’s a moot point at the moment as I am retiring the blog (as of two days ago) – hopefully that will shift my thinking / writing process back into fiction or even a new blog (or both). But need the time off to reassess it all.

      Blessings and thank you so much for the comments.
      And good luck with your fiction!


      1. Thank you, Paul 🙂

        I’m sad to hear that you’re retiring your blog, but I hope that means you’ll have more time to concentrate on your writing endeavors.

        Best of luck! ❤

  34. There are some striking phrases in here. I hear you. But you’ve nailed it. reading is the best thing you can do when you find it a struggle. Hemingway’s A moveable feast is a must, if you haven’t read it already. I learned much about the craft of writing reading it. But just reading other fiction is an act of replenishment. Swallow the words and they will coalesce into something new and marvellous when summoned. Read. Write.x

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