How beautiful is the cover for Jillian Boehme’s new book, “The Stolen Kingdom”? It had me immediately intrigued. I’m excited to feature Jillian on the blog today with her take on writer’s block.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
by Jillian Boehme
In a word, no.
I do, however, believe in PLOTTER’S BLOCK, which might be what folks mean when they talk about “writer’s block”. Let me explain.
One can always sit down to write words—there is nothing (aside from unconsciousness) that can stop this flow. If you get “stuck” in the middle of writing, you can always write something else for a while. There are all sorts of ways to get your creativity flowing, and all you need is a willingness to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard, more likely).
Plotter’s block, however, is the monster that stops me dead. A well-plotted story has certain points that need to be hit at a certain time. Planning these plot points, for me, is an excruciating business, and my longest bouts of staring-into-nothing are directly related to my inability to figure out the next logical thing to happen.
The same thing can happen if you’re the type of writer who likes to plot-on-the-go (“pantsing”, it’s often called). When you get stuck on a plot point, it may feel like writer’s block because you’re in the middle of your story and you don’t know what to write next. But trust me – it’s the plot that’s got you stuck, and not the writing.
The better my planning on a given novel, the easier my drafting process. (“Easy” is relative; drafting isn’t my favorite part of writing, either!) It’s true that I still end up staring sometimes—but it’s not writer’s block. It’s painstakingly deciding on exactly the right line of dialogue or the perfect sentence to end a chapter.
Staring at nothing is an unfortunate part of the writing process. But it’s not writer’s block. If nothing else, it’s an excuse to eat something chocolate. Which is definitely not something to complain about.