A Response to Wired Thomas Aquinas About Writer’s Block

Peter Rabbit’s porcelain figurine in my own collection, along with some of the many neighbors he has gained over the years. Photograph by Margaret H. Laing

My esteemed colleague, Aquinas wired, posted earlier today on his excellent blog, The Quark In The Road, asking “How do I break a writer’s block?” Catch the post here.

In the comments, I reminded him of Beatrix Potter’s experience with Peter Rabbit, which astute readers may recall from a previous article. Aquin’s reader’s take was also reminiscent of my article on writer’s block or block, here.

But that didn’t stop me from thinking more about the subject. It’s late enough that a little blocking might help, but I’m here instead!

In the book I’ve looked through for many recent articles, “How to Write a Mystery” by Mystery Writers of America, there are essays that are several pages long, but there are others that are only a few lines long. . For example, and for support, here is the whole offer of Gigi Pandian:

Don’t compare your writing and publishing journey to someone else’s. In this weird and wonderful business, there is no straight line to success. “Success” does not even mean the same thing from one author to another. You can set it yourself.

Another short essay is this one by Elaine Viets, full of great advice for times like this – when I didn’t know where my idea came from until I read The Quark In The Road:

My grandfather was a security guard. He worked weekends, holidays and nights when temperatures dipped below freezing and freezing winds blew through empty parking lots. He never said, “I don’t want to guard the warehouse tonight.” I’m stuck.” My grandma was guarding. She never said, “I’m not watching these brats today. I’m stuck.” So when I was speaking at a high school, a student asked me, “What are you doing about writer’s block?”
“Writer’s block doesn’t exist,” I said. “It’s a pleasure.”

When I’m stuck writing my novel, I go from the personal relationship between Mike and Daisy to the poison chemistry which (I think!) is the weapon in the case Daisy wants to help Mike solve. When I’m stuck on chemistry, it’s back to Daisy’s dorm and the reading they like to do together. Lately, I’ve been going out and collecting impressions of the heat wave, since the book takes place at summer school. (It worked for the snowy landscape in their last adventure.)

On the other hand, when I’m stuck writing my blog, I look around at what other people are writing. Do you see how it works? (I hope!)