Tonight’s guest blog post is brought to you by fantasy and thriller writer and interviewee Tracey Alley.
Writer’s Block or Writer’s Doubt?
If you’ve been in the writing game for any length of time then I’d be willing to bet there were moments when you suffered from what is usually termed ‘writer’s block’. It’s happened to me, more than once. I find myself staring at a blank screen almost as if I were willing the words to appear on the paper by magic. It’s not that the words aren’t there. Like most writers I have a seemingly never-ending cast of characters in my head who are all clamouring for me to tell their story.
So if the muse is still there, if the characters are still calling to you then how could you suffer from ‘writer’s block’? That’s when I began to wonder if maybe, what we’re experiencing is not actually a ‘block’ but a brief existential moment of doubt. Are we, perhaps, listening to that tiny little voice in the back of our minds who so frequently tells us ‘you’re no good’, ‘you’re just fooling yourself’, ‘no one will want to read that‘ etc. instead of listening to the characters in our minds that we want… nay, we need to share with the world?
I’ll confess I’ve always had a tendency in my life to ‘over-think’ things. You may be the same. The problem is, at least for me, that I think that also spills over to my writing. I over-think it, whether it’s a scene or a chapter or even a whole novel idea, to the point where I’ve stopped listening to the characters and started listening to my own self-doubt. And so sets in the dreaded ‘writer’s block’.
Now I’m not suggesting that I have any answers. If I did I’d probably be famous by now 🙂 What I do have though is a suggestion. The next time you begin to feel that dark, heavy blanket of ‘writer’s block’, stop for a minute and ask yourself one simple question. Do you really have nothing to say or are you actually just wondering if you have anything that anyone wants to hear?
I won’t make any promises but it’s gotten me through more periods of ‘writer’s block’ than anything else I’ve ever heard suggested. Just tune in your mind, like a radio, to your characters and your muse, instead of your own self doubts. I think you’ll find that puts an end to writer’s block for good. 🙂
I think you’re right. Thank you, Tracey.
Tracey Alley was born and raised in Queensland, Australia but caught the travel bug quite early and lived in Melbourne and Christchurch, New Zealand for a while.
She considers herself a Christian, albeit a slightly esoteric, left of center one who also has a great amount of respect for Buddhist tradition and philosophy.
She’s infinitely curious about the world and her friends describe her as an intellectual butterfly as she flits from one topic to the next.
She’s a pacifist, a little bit left of center and can, like most people, be very complex. She’s passionate about the things she believes in and believes firmly that you have to keep learning as you grow.
So far she has two degrees and will likely do more study.
She believes she was born to be a writer and feels blessed that circumstances allow her to write full-time and still survive [although not on royalties yet :)]
She fell in love with words at a very young age and is a voracious reader, often with two or three books on the go at the same time.
One little known but rather interesting fact about Tracey is that on the paternal side her great-grandfather owned a circus. He was a lion tamer and worked with all the big cats and her great-grandmother was a trapeze artist and of Romany Gypsy blood. On her mother’s side of the family she was born into Scottish aristocracy.
Tracey’s website is http://traceyalley.weebly.com.
If you would like to write a writing-related guest post for my blog then feel free to email me with an outline of what you would like to write about. There are other options listed on https://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/submission-information/opportunities-on-this-blog.
** NEW!! You can now subscribe to this blog on your Kindle / Kindle app!
or http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008E88JN0 for outside the UK **
You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything. You can contact me and find me on the internet, view my Books (including my debut novel, which is being serialised on Novel Nights In!) and I also have a blog creation / maintenance service especially for, but not limited to, writers. If you like this blog, you can help me keep it running by donating and choose an optional free eBook.
For writers / readers willing to give feedback and / or writers wanting feedback, take a look at this blog’s Feedback page.
As I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t unfortunately review books but I have a list of those who do. If there’s anything you’d like to take part in, take a look at Opportunities on this blog.
I welcome items for critique for the online writing groups listed below:
Morgen’s Online Non-Fiction Writing Group
Morgen’s Online Novel Writing Group
Morgen’s Online Poetry Writing Group
Morgen’s Online Script Writing Group
Morgen’s Online Short Story Writing Group
We look forward to reading your comments.
3 thoughts on “Guest post: Writer’s Block or Writer’s Doubt? by Tracey Alley”
I would say that on occasion its doubt, but sometimes its pure old my brain is stuck in neutral, and nothing is going to force into four wheel drive, a good example is the story I am working on currently. I know where its going, I can and have sat down and wrote out pages events and conflict for upcoming chapters to help me guide the characters to the events.. but then I sit down to write the first, second and third chapters, and …… crickets. even the crickets eventually got bored, packed their bags and headed to Disney to apply as Jimminy cricket double’s.
I can see the high lights in my mind, know what a chapter is supposed to be about, and yet not a word works. Granted Im sure my newest keyboard is thrilled at not being pounded on for hours on end. but still.
Thank you, Jo. I’ve passed on your comment…