Is NaNoWriMo the cure for writer’s block? (Plus – links my fave self-published authors who DON’T have writer’s block)


I’ve been suffering from a case of “writer’s block” for a while now. Aside from the scripts I write for my day job as a TV talk show producer, everything else I’ve tried to write has come out jumbled, boring and not worded very well. I’ve started and re-started writing “SG2” a number of times over the past two years with the same result: DELETE DELETE DELETE (spoken in my brain in the robotic voices of those lovable Daleks from “Dr. Who.”).

It’s not my writing space. I have a nice office with a comfortable chair, nice desk, a soft glow lamp and plenty of candles and music.

It’s not my laptop. It’s still working very well, albeit a little blippy since I upgraded to Windows 8.1. Plus, who needs Windows 8.1 to write a novel? All I need is Word and I have it, linked to my task bar for easy access.

It’s not a lack of time. I’ve been able to sit in my office for at least an hour each evening, staring at my cursor blinking on a pristine Word document, ready to bring my characters and scenery to life.

It’s not a lack of imagination. I come up with awesome scenarios and dialogues all the time. Unfortunately, my brain goes blank as soon as I sit down at my laptop to expand on said scenarios and dialogues. My brain just doesn’t want to cooperate, no matter how I tempt it. I’ve created awesome playlists on my Zune. I burn candles. I pour a cup of hot coffee to kickstart the synapses. And yet… all I’m left with at the end of a writing “session” is a blank Word document, accompanied by that damn blinking cursor, although I’ve managed to write several Facebook and Twitter posts, catch up with friends’ Facebook and Twitter posts, read the latest gossip on TMZ and play five straight games of Free Cell on my phone.

And then it hit me.

For 20+ years, I’ve worked in an industry that’s driven by deadlines and breaking news. I thrive under pressure, churning out news copy without even thinking about it. When I wrote “Steel Goddesses,” I gave myself a deadline – an hour a day before going to work. I churned it out, chapter by chapter, revision by revision.  I have no such deadline with SG2, or at least, I can’t seem to stick to one. Working on SG2 seems almost trivial, to be focused on only after scripts are written for the next day’s show, dinner has been prepared and served, dishes have been cleared and washed. Late in the evening, when my brain is tired and wants to chillax, not churn out scenarios and dialogues. My day job was getting the fresh brain. My dream job was getting screwed.

Last week, as I was clearing out an overcrowded email inbox, I noticed several emails reminding me that NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) was kicking off on November 1. Maybe THIS is what I need to jump start my writing and get the creative juices flowing again. In a burst of energy, I signed up and counted down the days until November 1.

Confession time: On November 1, I wrote 0 words. 0 as zero. zip. nada. But on Saturday and Sunday, November 2 and 3, I got up early in the morning, turned on my laptop and Zune and… started writing. Scenarios and dialogues. Dialogues and scenarios. And other stuff, too.  I’m 3572 words into my 50,000 word goal. I don’t know how good those words are, but at least I’ve started writing again and at a time when my brain is fresh.

Now, to just keep it going…

You can monitor my progress at my NaNoWriMo author page. If you’re doing NaNoWriMo, send me your author page. We can be writing buddies and encourage each other.

Meanwhile, here are links to some of my favorite self-published writers who definitely have NO trouble getting stories from their brains to their computers. Enjoy.

WISHING ROCK series by Pam Stucky


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