Christie Craig on Writer’s Block

  • By: Jessica Faust | Date: Jul 02 2008

Christie Craig
Weddings Can be Murder
Publisher: Dorchester
Pub Date: June 2008
Agent: Kim Lionetti

(Click to Buy)

Fact or Fiction?

We’ve seen them played out in the movies, such as Stranger Than Fiction and The Muse. I don’t think there’s a writer alive who hasn’t given these questions some thought.

And what questions are those?

Does writer’s block really exist? Are writers dependent upon whims or what some so frequently refer to as their muses to be productive and successful writers? Can our talent, or means of livelihood, be yanked from our clutches by things we cannot control?

It’s a debatable subject, one I’ve discussed with numerous other writers over numerous glasses of Merlot. I’ve heard the stories of writer’s block preventions: lucky rabbit foots, sprinkling desks with holy water, of odd, sometimes bizarre, rituals repeated daily to show honor to so-called muses.

Of course, I have my own rituals. I stumble out of my bed, pour a cup of cinnamon half decaf/half peel-me-off-the-ceiling java, find my way to my office, still in my pajamas, mind you, hair only finger-combed and . . . here’s the most important part, I plop my butt in the chair and start to work.

Personally, I think writer’s block and those so-called muses are a tad more fiction that fact. Why?

It goes back to my childhood. Yup, I come from the age when we blame everything on our parents. However, Dad won’t threaten to disinherit me for this one. You see, my dad was a plumber. He got up every day and went to work. Never, not once, do I ever recall him saying, “I can’t plumb today. I have plumber’s block.”

Now, don’t get me wrong, I know there were days he plumbed better than others. Days his job was crappy. (And I don’t mean he literally dealt with crap, but hey, he unclogged toilets, so . . .) And as a writer, I have days I write better than others, and days I question my ability to write even a grocery list.

But do I believe it’s because my muse packed his bags and ran off to count zebra stripes in Africa? (And I say “his” because if I had a muse, he would look like Johnny Depp—he’d also love to do massages, and do housework without being asked. Hey, this is my fantasy, leave it alone.) Do I believe it’s because I’ve suddenly been struck by the ominous fate of writer’s block? Oh, heck no.

I guess I refuse to believe that this thing I do, called writing, is all based on luck, on some supernatural power, and not on the years I spent toiling, studying, and learning craft. If I was a baseball player, I wouldn’t feel as if I had to grab my crotch, wear the same dirty socks, or chew the same tobacco to win a game.

But now that I’ve told you what I don’t believe, let me tell you what I do believe. I do believe in burn-out. It is something brain surgeons, garbagemen, and even plumbers can face when they don’t take the time to live a well-rounded life.

I believe when I’m no longer inspired about a project, I’ve probably written myself into a corner and if I go back and reread, I’ll find the scene where I took a wrong turn. Or maybe I just need to take a day off. Yeah, days off are good.

I believe there is sometimes a fine line between being obsessed and being determined.

I believe that writers who stop living life and only write about it will eventually become uninspired writers.

I believe this career and the challenges that it takes to even get published can be a hard pill to swallow, and one needs to find ways to stay motivated. And if it means grabbing your crotch and wearing dirty socks and having a spittoon by your desk, then so be it. Doing things to stay motivated is different from doing things to prevent yourself from being robbed of a talent for which you’ve worked and earned.

So what about you? Do you believe and shudder at the thought of writer’s block? Do you fear and pray your muse will never abandon you? What do you do when you find yourself suddenly uninspired?

Christie Craig’s book Weddings Can Be Murder hit the bookstands May 27th. Check out her regular Tuesday Blog at Killer Fiction, her website, and her website for writers about writing at Write With Us Online.

65 responses to “Christie Craig on Writer’s Block”

  1. Avatar Yvonne says:

    Great post, I agree completely! Writing is not some magical state where your muse takes over and you write like the wind. If I sat around and waited for inspiration every day I’d get nothing done, as I often don’t feel like writing when I sit down at my desk.

    Regarding writer’s block, which I also believe is either burn-out or just old fashioned procratination due to the FEAR, I make a deal with myself to write at least a few hundred words even if it’s just freewriting.

    If I still can’t get into the flow, I take the day off and try not to think about it, which always guarantees that I muse it over and come back guns blazing the next day.

    You made a good point about living life instead of just writing about it – if you’re an unpublished author having a part-time job can keep your writing fresh and the inspiration flowing.

  2. Avatar Marie Force says:

    I so agree with you that there’s a fine line between determined and obsessed. I’ve recently reached that “burn out” point myself after writing a LOT over the last four years. Once I took a step back, things began to fall into place. My editor offered a new contract, I signed with a fabulous new agent, and now I feel ready to write again. But I’ve decided to stick to my original plan to take the summer off to recharge my batteries and those of the muse. She was getting a little cranky about the pace we were keeping!

    I agree with you that too often we let outside forces interfere with the act of writing and then try to blame the muse for abandoning us. That gets her REALLY cranky. Like you said, and like Nora says, butt in seat. Write.

  3. Avatar C. Taylor says:

    I completely agree with you! I write every day. Some scenes come easy, and some feel like I’m attempting to grow another limb.

    Every now and then you do take a wrong turn and the flow stops. I know I’m there when after several days, I feel like I’m floundering. The hardest thing to do is to hit the delete button on your last twenty pages, but it’s the only way to move forward.

  4. Avatar kitty says:

    Stephen King didn’t believe in writer’s block, either — ’til it happened to him. He said the words would just not come.

    You may call it burnout, but the result is the same thing.

  5. Avatar Loren Eaton says:

    I killed my muse some time ago and I’ve never been happier.

  6. Avatar Keri Ford says:

    I hate it when that flow stops. While I use the term, my muse took a day off, I don’t particularly believe there’s a woman on my shoulder dressed in ancient greek packing her bags for a day at the beach. What’s really going on is my mind is just mush or burned.

    It can be frustrating when just yesterday you keyed out 25 pages and then today you can’t even get the ump to write or edit a paragraph.

    When I get those kind of days, I take a step back from the computer on that project. Often by the end of the day of watching tv or napping all the while thinking where I went wrong, it’ll come to me. Usually, it’s because I’ve typed in a scene on page 50 that belongs on pg. 250.

  7. Great post. I like and particularly agree with the part about having written oneself into a corner.

    I’ve figured out what when I don’t seem motivated to write it’s because I don’t know where I’m going. Thus, I need to figure somethings out first. Doing the dishes seems to help… 😉

  8. Avatar Cher Gorman says:

    Thanks for the great post! I think a writer can definitely get burned out and experience a terrible time when the words just won’t come. For me, it’s generally due to fear and/or a lack of confidence usually stemming from time spent reading the latest copy of RT or having just finished a superb book. At that point I start to question ever word, every sentence, every new idea.

    When that happens I play my harp for an hour or two and then I feel refreshed and ready to get back to work. Also folding laundry seems to help, don’t ask me why.


  9. Yvonne,

    Thanks. I like your deal with yourself. I make deals with myself all the time. They ususally involve chocolate.

    And I’ve heard so many writers say they’re going back to work part-time so they can get more writing done. I think when we feel our time is limited we have a tendency to push ourselves harder.

    Which is why I’m always more productive when I have a lot on my plate.

    Thanks for stopping in.


  10. Marie,

    I’m a big believer in “recharging the batteries.” One of my recharging methods is to go the beach and listen to the waves, get a bit of sand in my toes, and find a few seashells.

    And when we get renewed, it sometimes seems things fall into place, like you getting a new agent and a new contract. Congrats on that.


  11. Superwench83,

    I love that quote! Do you know who said it?



  12. C. Taylor,

    Recently, a writer I know compared writing some books to giving birth to an elephant, tusks and all. Ouch!

    Oh, and I hate the delete button. I keep telling myself it can be my friend, but I’m not always convinced.

    Thanks for stopping by.


  13. Kitty,

    You have a good point. And I know a ton of writers who totally agree with you. However, I think the difference to me is how I perceive the two words. Burnt out is a bad thing, but I feel there are things I can do to prevent it from happening and to overcome it. Writer’s Block is seen by me and others, as something we have no control over. It’s the monster under our beds that lives in our heads and who can jump out and snatch away our passion at anytime. I just don’t like to give anything, even mentally, that kind of control over career.

    Thanks so much for posting.


  14. Loren Eaton,

    Thanks for link. Great piece. And I totally agree.


  15. Avatar JES says:

    How true this is!

    The Missus kids me because of my little routine(s): get up around 4:30-5am, turn on the hot water for tea, set out the mug and spoon and teabag… and so on, every step ingrained in muscle memory until I’m actually sitting at the keyboard and staring at the blank word-processing page.

    And it is funny. Heck, if I was observing this behavior in somebody else I’d kid them, too!

    I’m not truly superstitious. But by not having to actively think of anything until that keyboard moment, I ensure that there will be no distractions. Because “distractions” is the mundane name of the experience otherwise known as writer’s block. The muse, when she comes, comes more easily when the tracks have been well-worn through the grass. In the meantime, when she doesn’t seem to be around, there’s always new mowing and planting to be done, new pavers to lay.

    The passage about attending to real life is wise, smart advice. Thanks for this post, Christie.

  16. Kim,

    My writing partner on my non-fiction books is a big believer in naps. I’m more of a shower/bath person. If something isn’t working in a scene, I’ll just stop and go take a bath. On bad days, I take two or three baths a day and my skin is all wrinkled. I can’t tell you how many plot twists or ideas have come to me while I’m naked and unable to get to my keyboard. Thankfully, I’m mostly home alone and can grab a towel and get it down before I lose it.

    Thanks for stopping by.


  17. Clair,

    I let my husband do the dishes. (And I’m not referring to the dish washing scene in Weddings Can Be Murder. Smile.) Cooking works for me. It’s almost meditative.

    Thanks for stopping by.


  18. Avatar Eimear says:

    Like this article, though not sure the comparison with plumbing is apt. Writing is a mental exercise, which leaves you open to psychological blocks and pitfalls, and there are days when trying to write is like trying to plumb with a broken hand. I applaud your daily grit though!

  19. Cher,

    Fear is a biggy for me, too, and so is the lack of confidence.

    I used to think that once I sold anther book, or sold another hundred articles, that I would suddenly feel secure in my talent. But nope, it never happened. Everyday I wake up and think someone may discover my hidden secret. And that secret is that I really can’t write. I’m just pretending.

    However, I have learned to write past the fear, and to just keep pretending. Maybe the insecurities will keep me on my toes and make me a better writer.


  20. Avatar Robena Grant says:

    Great post. Thanks Christie, I was thinking about this yesterday.

    You know, Deepak Chopra speaks about inner dialogue and self power, which I think this is all about.

    I’m paraphrazing here but, he says something along the line of, suppose there is a hunter in the Amazon rain forest and he’s having difficulty catching game. He goes to a shaman and neither hunter nor shaman look anywhere but within the hunter for the solution. They never say “there’s no game out there” because there is. It’s always something within the hunter that is causing the block. So the shaman has the hunter participate in a ritual opening his heart and mind to new possibilities.

    I think it works for writing, too. Grin. A little mediation, a game of tennis, a walk on the beach, reading a good book. They all help.

  21. Jes,

    ((The muse, when she comes, comes more easily when the tracks have been well-worn through the grass.))

    Ohhh, I love that. Can I borrow it?


  22. Avatar Robena Grant says:

    Hey, that was supposed to be meditation, but maybe mediation would work too, if you’re in a battle with your inner demons.

  23. Avatar Lehcarjt says:

    The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.

    I do believe in writer’s block, but not as the disappearance of some mystical muse or even burn-out. (Although I have no doubt burn-out can and does happen.) Writer’s block for me is a manifestation of fear. Inner-fear, lack of confidence, loss of belief in creativity as something greater than myself.

    My block lasted four years. It didn’t stop me from writing, in fact I wrote 95% of four books. My block was the inability to finish.

    Julia Cameron’s book (which if I want to call anything mystical, it was the appearance and reappearance of this book in my life over a two week period even though I’d never heard of it before) helped me work though my block and my fear.

    My block was individual to me. I have no doubt that other people experience equally difficult, but completely different losses of creativity.

    It’s hard for me to hear you call writer’s block ‘fiction,’ when you’ve never experienced it on my level. It’s like saying… Hey I’ve had the stomach flu so everyone who has ever said they had appendicitis must be wrong.

  24. Faye,

    The POV switch is a great tip. It does help a lot!

    So . . . did you wake up from you nap?

    Faye is my “napping” writing partner. She’s serious about her naps.


  25. Eimear,

    You make a great point. And it’s valid. I guess I sort of look at the brain as just another muscle/functioning organ in my body.

    And yes, you have a good point that it can be a tricky muscle, susceptible to cramps and overload, but the more I work it, train it, the stronger it works the way I need it too.

    Thanks for posting.


  26. Robena,

    I love Deepak Chopra. I have several of his older meditative tapes. I’m a big motivational/self-help junkie.

    I’m a big Stephen Covey fan of his motivational type books and I love the book, “Who Moved my Cheese” by Spencer Johnson.


  27. Avatar green_knight says:

    I believe people who say that writer’s block doesn’t exist have not encountered it. I know people who have, and to say ‘oh, it’s all in your mind’ and ‘if you only sat down and made yourself work, it’ll go away’ is like saying ‘oh, if you only adopted a cheerful attitude, you wouldn’t be depressed’.

    Doesn’t work like that. Do I think the term ‘writer’s block’ is overused? Yes. When I am blocked, I need to go back and find the bit where I made the mistake and fix it. But I don’t dismiss people who, for whatever reason, stare at a page and _can’t_ write, or if they force themselves, write utter tripe they want to delete anyway, people who are afraid of the thought of writing… Not a nice place to be, and not nice to mock those who are there.

  28. I’ve been “blocked.” But it’s always for a reason, which means there’s a solution. At the beginning of a book, I’ll avoid writing due to fear–the book I imagine is so shining perfect, so vast in scope, so rich in complexity, that I know I’ll never be able to write it. And I’m right. I’ve learned I need to let go of shining image and accept what’s on the page–even if it seems to be crap–because hey, at least it’s real and I can work with real. I can’t work with a fantasy.

    If I hit a wall later in the writing, it’s almost invariably because I’m writing the wrong scene at the wrong time or I’m trying to make a character do something he wouldn’t really do. (Characters are such mules, they way they dig their heels in!) Back up, brainstorm, write my way around it. In that way, I think writing is very much like plumbing…identifying blockages and re-establishing the flow! 😀

  29. Avatar Gina Robinson says:

    Great article! I agree with you, Christie. I believe in burnout, too. I also believe that stress and health issues can affect writing and creativity. But they affect people in every profession. So you deal with it.

    I just picked up Weddings Can Be Murder. Can’t wait to read it!

  30. Lehcarjt,

    I love the Artist Way and Julia Cameron. I went through the entire book. Still do my artist’s dates. And just as I said in my original post, “This is a debatable subject.”

    There is no doubt in my mind that everyone approaches writing in their own way and deals with the struggles differently. Believe me, I’ve done my share of struggling, fought fear, insecurities. My first novel was published in ’94, my second in 2006. Yes, I know all about struggles. I’m totally aware that everything I’ve said is my opinion and is how I approach this thing called writing. By no means am I saying I’m right. Or that you are wrong. Your points are very valid.

    Thanks for posting.


  31. Avatar Natalie says:

    What a great post, and I agree totally. I used to believe in waiting for the Muse to strike, but then I grew up and realized I might just be capable on my own.

    When I decided as a New Year’s resolution to write a 1000 words a day, I found that I could and would often exceed that goal. Some days if would be just 1000, but most days I’d get going and do much more.

  32. Green_knight,

    No dismissing or mocking here.

    I think most writers have struggled with tapping into their creativity, or overcoming some obstacles. I think how we deal with it, and view it, or what we call it, is an individual decision/process. And I think we can all learn from everyone’s opinions and methods.

    The objective isn’t to prove right or wrong, but to hopefully receive a kernel of information, or an insight that might help everyone deal with the struggles.

    Thanks for posting.


  33. Avatar lj says:

    Interesting post and comments. I especially like the way people are differentiating between serious writer’s block and the normal and ongoing struggles every writer has with motivation and creativity and energy.

    I battle the latter every single day, and use all kinds of different methods to jump-start and get beyond my inner resistance. (A great book on this subject is The War of Art by Stephen Pressfield.) But real writer’s block is something else again. And for me, it actually went so far as to become reader’s block– I honestly couldn’t make sense of the words I had written, the manuscript I was supposed to be revising under deadline. It was a very weird and very real experience, and it took almost two months before I could begin even the simplest of line edits.

    The cause of that one was pretty obvious– too much writing, at too intense a level, for too long– and the solution was to take a long break. But I’ve been careful ever since to be a little more sane about my writing schedule, and I’m more aware of the danger signs of impending block.

  34. Christine,

    Boy howdy, I’ve hit so many walls. I sometime find the empty page very intimidating. I know several writers who say they just type gibberish on the page like, “I can do this, I can do this” until that fear goes away. Hey, whatever works to move past it is great. And I wish I had some Liquid Drano that would just unclogged some of my plot problems and clean out so of the “crap” that I’ve written that doesn’t need to be there.

    Thanks for posting.


  35. I suppose, after reading this post, that what I’ve previously called writer’s block really was burnout. You’re absolutely right. Sometimes you need to just step back and not write and not even think about writing for a day or two or longer if that’s all you’ve been doing.

    I find that usually when I’m uninspired, I can at least sit down and force something out if I put my mind to it. It may not be the best writing I’ve ever done, but it’s something and it can be revised later and might just be enough to get me to the scene I really want to write. The only times I really haven’t been able to write have been when something horrible is going on in my life, but I can’t blame my muse for that.

    So writer’s block is usually some combination of exhaustion, burn-out, or fear for me.

  36. Gina,

    I agree, I think stress is a big factor in most of our struggles/burnt outs. And how could it not be in a business that you can do what appears to be the right thing, do it right, and still get rejected. Which is why there can be a thin like between being obsessed and dedicated. Working in a business where subjectivity is the norm’ is hard.

    Thanks for posting and for picking up “Weddings,” I hope you enjoy.


  37. Avatar Elissa M says:

    I think true writer’s block is a manifestation of a deeper problem. Most people talk about being creatively “blocked” when they’re stuck on something and can’t see how to move forward. Taking a break of some sort in those cases, whether it’s housework, playing music, going for a walk, etc., usually helps unclog the creative flow.

    But I believe it’s possible to be truly psychologically blocked. It could be fear of failure, fear of success, overwhelming stress, or any number of things causing the block. In a case like that, which doesn’t resolve with a hot bath and chocolates and lasts more than a day or two, a writer should seriously consider outside help.

    I’ve been fortunate never to have come against such a block, but I’ve known others who have. It seems to me that simply waiting for it to “go away” makes as much sense as waiting for any other psychological problem to just resolve itself. I don’t see why it’s so hard for people to seek help in such circumstances, but it is.

    Many here have posted excellent advice for clearing and refreshing one’s brain cells. My advice would be, if none of these ideas work for you and you’ve felt “blocked” for a week or more, try counseling. You could have a bigger problem than a napping muse, and sometimes we all need a little help getting back on track.

  38. Natalie,

    I’m big on setting goals. I know a lot of people who are in a 500-words-a-day-challenge group and they swear by it. It’s funny that I normally don’t set page count/word counts as daily goals. I’ve had days that I wrote four pages and felt I’d accomplished a lot, and then days I wrote 20 pages and felt as if I should have accomplished more.

    Sometimes, I like to blame the reasons behind my high/low productivity on my mood, but I think a lot has to do with the characters and if I’m emotionally feeling the story. Then sometimes it just feels as if someone else is writing the book for me. And I really like that. (Smile)

    But I do set weekly and monthly goals.

    Thanks so much for sharing.


  39. lj,

    I love Stephen Pressfield’s book. Another writing buddy recommended it, to me and it now stays on my beside table to pick up and reread when I feel the urge. I actually bought a bunch of them for Christmas presents for my writer friends.

    And yes, I totally agree, there are hurdles we face as writers everyday and then there are the more serious hurdles.

    Thanks so much for sharing. I’m thrilled you’ve learned to watch out of those signs of impending doom. We all need to protect and nurture our creativity. And is that the same thing as a muse? Maybe. (Smile.)


  40. Kristin,

    That’s what makes this subject so debatable and interesting. It can be and mean one thing to one person and another to someone else. But I think most writers shudder at the thought of facing it.

    I think what it’s called, or even what it means, isn’t near as important as learning how to avoid it and overcome it.

    Thanks for posting.


  41. Elissa M.

    Great advice!

    Reaching out to others, a professional or other writers, is always a good thing.

    I’ve leaned my writing buddies several times over the years.

    Thanks for posting.


  42. Avatar Kate Douglas says:

    Great post, Christie! Obviously, each writer has a unique approach to writing, but I’ve had an unusually hectic schedule that doesn’t allow for “writers block.” It also doesn’t allow for much of a life…however, I’ve learned that on the days the words won’t come, that a quick drive to the grocery store will often be enough to help my brain work out whatever’s impeding the creative process. Something about engaging the brain in driving frees up the creative part enough to solve whatever has put a crimp in my writing. Often a shower will do the same thing. Not sure exactly why, but if it works, I’m all for it!

  43. Avatar Loren Eaton says:


    Glad you liked it. Thanks for reading.

  44. Avatar superwench83 says:

    Nice post. I agree. My favorite writing quote is “I write when I’m inspired, and I see to it that I’m inspired at 9 o’clock every morning.” If you make a conscious effort to write, you will. It may not all be gold, but I stopped believing in writer’s block a long time ago.

  45. Kate,

    You are so right…if he works for you, do it. I have to admit, I’ve never heard grocery shopping being refresher. Hey…you can come to Texas and do my shopping. (smile)

    Thanks for posting. And I’m in awe at how much you accomplish.


  46. Thanks Melanie. Hope you have a productive writing day.

    And Loren, I always enjoy reading others insights to how they approach this crazy business.


  47. Avatar Faye Hughes says:

    Great post, Christie!

    I’ve noticed that when I suffer from “writers block,” it’s usually because I’m trying to write the scene from the wrong POV or the scene is being forced. When I step back, re-evaluate what I’m doing, and consider other approaches, the “block” usually vanishes.


  48. Avatar Nancy says:

    Chrisite, great post!! I love the plumber’s muse example!

    I believe in inspiration, but I live by the perspiration. I buckle down and do it.

    Nancy Haddock
    La Vida Vampire

  49. Avatar Faye Hughes says:


    Napping is an important part of my creative process. 🙂


  50. Avatar spyscribbler says:

    I’m too scared to believe in writer’s block, too scared to even think those words.

    I have had “issues” when I try to force a round peg into a square hole, or when I haven’t found my story. There have been times when I have tried to “just write,” sat down every day like normal, and somehow I look up weeks later and realize everything I got done, I ended up deleting.

    But I suppose it’s all part of the learning process. We’re all going to end up there someday; we just have to learn how to deal with ourselves, LOL.

  51. Avatar Angie Fox says:

    I had to stop believing in writer’s block when I worked as a writer for an ad agency. “Sorry I can’t write your radio ad. I’m feeling blocked” wouldn’t have gone over very well. But there are days where I could write that ad in fifteen minutes and other days it’d take hours with a result that wasn’t half as creative. Same with my fiction writing. There are easy days and harder ones, but no day where you can’t get something on the page.

  52. Hi, Christie :-)! Great topic.

    Like you, I get a lot of great ideas in the shower. And we’re not the only ones–a friend says her muse lives in the shower grout.

  53. Avatar Anonymous says:

    “Writer’s block” is for people who don’t have to work. The take-a-year-off-the-career-job-so-I-can-write-my-novel types. If you’re writing under contract, there’s not a lotta room for “block.” You can either do it or you can’t. If you can’t, you’ll be back on the day job real quick. So block that.

  54. Nancy,

    That’s another great quote.

    Thanks for stopping by.


  55. Spyscribbler,

    It’s the crappers out of me, too.

    Thanks for posting.


  56. Thanks Jes,

    I’ll check that out.


  57. Angie,

    I know exactly what you mean. It’s tough sometimes, but to be successful in this business, you have to be able to produce. And yes, even published writers deal with the struggles, but most of us overcome them due to deadlines.

    Thanks for posting.


  58. Terry…

    ((Her muse lives in the shower grout.))

    I love it! I’m telling you, my best problem solving, plot defining place is in a bath tub. But I’ve tried just sitting in there with my clothes on and it doesn’t work. Something about being naked and water is the key.

    Thanks for posting girl.


  59. Anonymous,

    You have a point. This is a tough business.

    Thanks for posting.


  60. Avatar JES says:

    On topic, sort of (and sort of not:)… Today would have been the 85th birthday of Nobel Prize-winning poet Wislawa Szymborska. I just ran across a poem of hers called “The Joy of Writing” which I thought is pretty good. I don’t know much about poetry, though.

  61. I guess I have a different mindset than some writers. I was a staff writer for a horse racing magazine for seventeen years. Our issues went to press every Tuesday whether we felt inspired to write or not. So, even on days we felt like crap or our interviews were less than stellar, we had to put the stories out to the best of our abilities.

    One thing that helped me try harder, was a man who called me to see if he could buy an extra issue. He told me he was having some special cases built to display my stories about his filly and part of the story was on the flip side of the page. I was a little surprised about this and told him so. He seemed even more surprised.

    “I’ve been to four tracks recently and every one of them had a copy of your story on the wall in the race office. You didn’t know that?”

    No, I didn’t.

    Now, when I don’t particularly feel like writing, I remind myself it’s what I do. Even if I don’t feel inspired, just write. I can go back and clean up what’s flat later, but I have to get the words down first. Writing through the valleys eventually gets you to the mountaintops.

    God willing, one day, someone will tell me how a certain passage spoke to them or inspired them. They won’t know that one passage came from four pages of drivel I wrote just to keep going. They won’t know three and three quarter pages went down the tubes. They might even mention how lucky I am to have a writing muse; and I will smile and agree.

    Thank you for posting this, Christie. It’s a timeless bit of advice we all need to hear and very well spoken.

  62. Julie,

    I think my mindset and opinions partly came from the years of freelancing and writing columns for magazines. It’s just like you say, you have to produce, inspired or not, or they will find someone else who will.

    Thanks for posting.


  63. All I know is that I can’t have Jessica call up my editor and tell her I can’t meet my deadline because I have writer’s block.

    Right Jessica? 🙂

    Of course, that’s probably why I write so much of the book in the last 4 weeks. I have to be fully immersed in it so that it’s the only thing on my mind. Until then, I just hang out, like an airplane on the runway whose flight time hasn’t yet arrived. Once it does, it’s full throttle, go speed.

    Great post Christie.

  64. Avatar Anonymous says:

    There’s a Calvin and Hobbes cartoon I love.

    Calvin is playing in a sandpit.
    Hobbes: Do you have an idea for your story yet?
    Calvin: No, I’m waiting for inspiration. You can’t just turn on creativity like a faucet. You have to be in the right mood.
    Hobbes: What mood is that?
    Calvin: Last-minute panic.