Monday, October 25, 2010

Da Funk

I seem to be in a reading and writing funk these days.

Apparently I’m unable to sit for more than 5 minutes and read a book. I just can’t concentrate on anything! But because it’s not an option for me to just…NOT read, I decided to read a book about an 8th grader: After Ever After by Jordan Sonnenblick. It’s helping. I’m actually able to read more than one paragraph at a time. The voice is truly refreshing. I think sometimes it’s good to step outside of the comfort zone.

The writing funk is a much bigger problem. I started on a novel this summer called Here Now and I abandoned it in September to work on a short story and a writing exercise that included 3 chapters of a middle grade novel. You’re probably wondering why on earth I’m suddenly writing and reading middle grade, so I should clarify that, at this time, I’m not actually striving to write novels for this audience. But writing for kids is a big part of my day job and I like to get into it every once and a while. And, of course, my employer is the only person who pays me to write, so it occurred to me that maybe I should practice it more.

Anyway, I’m done with my random 3 chapter exercise and the short story is boring me. So, it’s time to go back to Here Now. There are a lot of things that excite me about the book. The premise. The main character. The setting. Some new friends my main character just met on the beach even. But, I dread sitting down to write it each day. The blank page is paralyzing me. And this means that when I get home I make dinner and the television goes on. And even thought I say 9pm is when I will start writing, I watch the clock slip and I do not go into my little room to write. I just…don’t.

The truth is, I can not bear to think that I’m in this one for the long haul. 80,000 words? Night after night struggling to get 1,000 words on the page? The next 2 years of my life dedicated to this beast? It sounds like absolute torture.

And I’m wondering, does this kind of thing excite a real writer? Am I not a real writer because this does not sound appealing to me? Or do some of you guys feel this way on occasion?

Sometimes, I wonder if the task of writing can get in the way of the love for it. What to do when writing feels like a chore? Please help!


  1. Totally sympathize. I was having the same problem. First, I read. A lot. Nice inspiring break. Then, I figured out that every chapter I write is about 3K, so I've been attacking it one chapter at a time. I just push myself towards that 3K, and now I only need ten more chapters (theoretically) to finish this draft. That sounds more doable than 30K. :) Also, I note carded all the scenes, something I never do, but I was so stuck, I was willing to try anything. Same theory as w/the 3K - I just push to finish that one scene. Good luck getting out of the funk!

  2. i've read similar stuff from other writers. i totally think that is just a part of it. it doesn't at all mean you're a real writer! you are!

    lots of times it's just AFTER finishing something i've written that i realize i love writing. but i avoid it at times to.

    that word count does sound overwhelming, but you've done it before, and you'll do it again.

    thanks for sharing your struggle. we all have them, and hearing that other people have similar situations somehow makes it feel better.

  3. Melissa--I think perhaps you should give yourself some slack...just read for a while...when you get in the mood then write. I don't think you can force it. If you try to force yourself, it won't flow...Maybe start something new??? I've struggled this summer, but am easing back into it...I've been critiquing for a bunch of my writing buddies and that is getting me back in the mood.

    Don't be so hard on yourself! You'll get your groove back... (Or whatever you young people are saying these days. wink)