Friday, September 18, 2015

Intimidation Can Play Key Role in Writer's Block

I see writer's block discussed a lot in author forums.

There are multiple posts out there about what causes it and how to get rid of it, but I have yet to see anyone address the topic of how intimidation can trigger writer's block.

I had my doubts that such a thing happened until another writer pointed out that it was happening to me. 

She and I only knew each other from online correspondence, and I was crying on her virtual shoulder because I had struggled with fear of the blank page ever since I'd received a rejection on a partial from my dream agent. (Obviously, this was many years ago, and thank goodness for that rejection.) 

My friend's words to me were something like, "You need to let go of this idea that you're not good enough. Rejection is part of the business, and you can't let it intimidate you. Just keep writing."

At the time, I was also dealing with a serious case of burn out, so I laid off a little bit and gave myself time to lick my wounds. I read some books by authors whose prose I found inspiring and then went back to to the keyboard awhile later.

Taking some time to read in between helped me put some things about my own writing endeavors in perspective.

Each one of those authors dealt with self-doubt. Each one dealt with rejection. Each one still was dealing with one-star reviews on some of their books.

My friend's words hit me hard: Rejection is part of the business -- whether it's by agents, publishers or readers. No one is immune, but you keep writing anyway because you love the craft.

So when I went back it was with the renewed belief that writing should not be a chore or a burden or something that makes you feel lesser than what you are.

Instead, your writing should be empowering, relaxing or something that helps you feel complete.

If it doesn't do those things, then maybe it's time to put your writing aside and re-evaluate why you're doing what you're doing in the first place.

No one wants to be unhappy.

* * * 

Kathryn Harris is a journalist, a weekend blogger, a wife, a mother of two and the author of "The Long Road to Heaven," a novel about finding faith and forgiveness in the aftermath of addiction.

No comments: