February 2, 2010 at 12:24 pm (writing) ()

I am stuck. Seriously, mood-crushingly, tar-pit stuck. In the weeks surrounding Christmas and the New Year I wrote between 15,000-20,000 words on my current project, it flowed beautifully. Good stuff, natural dialogue, lovely. Then. . . nothing. For weeks. Literally. I’ve gone through all my usual tricks– research, new music, working on other stuff, editing the section from the beginning, but I think I’ve written maybe 1000 words since The Stop. I’ve since written three short stories (approx. 18,000 words), so nothing shabby there, but it’s not the same for me. I want so much for this project to come together, I’m in the home stretch (I think I’ll be “done” in about 20,000 words, and on to the editing stage), I just need to rally and push through but everything I write reads like zzzzzzzzzzzzzz and meh.

I’m not sure what’s wrong. I know what I want to do with this and why and (kind of) how, but I pull up my Scrivener file and just end up staring at it. It’s very disheartening, and it’s been making me really, really, really unhappy. It’s gotten so bad I’m worried everything about this project will be a wash, I’ll have to start over, and I know sometimes it goes like that, but I really thought I had something here. I mean, Christ, I do have something– I have a something that is currently 131,000 words (Jesus Christ, the editing down is going to be painful), so for it to dissipate at this point seems bizarre and stupid.

Hopefully something will happen and I’ll receive some sort of inspiration in the form of a chisel that can crack the concrete surrounding my creativity. Hopefully.



  1. Cliff Burns said,

    It happens. Sometimes one gets overwhelmed by the sheer amount of WORK that lies ahead with a writing project. It’s disheartening. Writing a book is like having a kid: if you actually remembered the experience, you’d only do it ONCE (if that). But there are some kind of beta blockers that are produced in a mother’s/author’s mind that, mercifully, allow us to forget the horror of what we endured. So we start to work on another creation, another off-spring.

    Break your routine, go for a walk with a notepad and favorite pen. Sit somewhere and just scribble, automatic writing without any pre-planning. It’ll come back to you…

    • molly said,


      Thanks for the kind encouragement, and welcome! I completely know what you mean about the beta blockers, my first completed novel met with some unexpected difficulties due to a lot of odd factors, and getting to work on this project has required a little bit of what you were talking about. I like your way of thinking about it, the whole mother/author analogy.

      I’ve just been really focused on this project since September and I think maybe my brain just broke. I’ve let things go during those myopic months, especially since I initially wanted to have a draft by the end of October (ha!). I’ve made the decision to get back into an exercise routine, spend more time making healthy meals, diversify my writing time, so hopefully eventually that will get me back to it.

      Thanks again, and congrats on finishing So Dark the Night last month!

  2. vvdenman said,

    That’s exactly what I was going to say. I usually take awalk. A long one. I let my mind wander. Usually I spend awhile thinking about the current issues in my life, but gradually, my brain drifts off to creative land. Then ideas and concepts just start fluttering out of my subconsciense. Good luck with it. It’ll come.

    • molly said,

      I think exercise always helps. I’ve been making more of an effort these days. . . I think I still need to find a yoga class. But thank you for the kind words, and welcome!

  3. Raechel said,

    I’m with Cliff on this one. Also, don’t be in a hurry to finish this. You took some time away from it and may take more, but three short stories is awesome, and by not forcing yourself to write, you’re waiting until you’re inspired to do so, which will save you a ton of editing, scrapping chapters, and thinking “Why the hell did I write this!?” later on. I hope the inspiration comes back soon– I know it’s frustrating to be so close to finished with the draft and get stuck– but you’ll figure it out, and when you do it will be awesome!

    • molly said,

      Unfortunately, I’m wondering “why the hell did I write this?!” about the whole thing. . . and dreaming of the next project. But I think that’s just laziness. This novel is really heavy, and the next (major) thing I want to work on will be a lot sillier and lighthearted, and I think part of this whole conundrum is just feeling overwhelmed by the gravity of my subject matter right now. But this, too, shall pass, and I’m very lucky to feel so supported by you and everyone else! ❤

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