Today I’m delighted to welcome friend and fellow writer, Carmen Taxer, to Off the Page talking about one way of handling pesky writer’s block.
Carmen is a South African writer and English enthusiast currently toiling tirelessly through the pre-publish process. She has known she was destined to be a writer for as long as she can remember. More specifically, she knew then (and still does) that she was destined to be an author of vampire literature, inspired by everything from Anne Rice’s Lestat, to Poppy Z. Brite’s Zillah.
A fine-tuned obsession drove her to this conclusion, and drives her still. So much so, that she takes every agent rejection with a pinch of salt. Sometimes.
by Carmen Taxer
My fiancé and I are in the process of approaching agents and publishing houses for the publication of our first co-written novel, Bought in Blood. Naturally, we are being kept waiting due to busy agents, submissions back-up (like drains, only not quite as icky), and simple lack-of-interest – even though agents, in their infinite politeness are seldom likely to admit to this reason. I have even gone so far as to consider self-publishing, which I hear can be quite rewarding. The dilemma I find myself mulling over here is that I desperately desire being able to see my name in print, as it were, and not simply on a computer screen. I tend to be a traditionalist that way, even if it requires me to exercise due patience, a virtue I have very little knowledge of.
In the interim, I felt the need to be kept busy, and so I took to writing a new novel as I had a couple of weeks to spare before I would have to return to work… This was followed by another new novel… And a third, and a fourth; all seemingly lost in the quagmire of writer’s block. Perhaps it’s just me and my neurosis, but I tend to become disillusioned with my own literary capacity incredibly fast, wanting to rip and tear at the words I’ve strung together because I have convinced myself that they are simply not adequate. I’m sure I’m not the only scribbler to feel this way, but as I am still lurking amidst the masses of unpublished writers out there, I tend to believe my own silly head when such thoughts occur to me. Consequently, I sought a means to overcome this ailment we hazily refer to as ‘writer’s block,’ and promptly encountered the method of beginning a new project in order to overcome the block incurred with my previous piece… This idea is fantastic in theory, but as you can see from my above confession, it failed to work for me in practise.
Wallowing through weeks of writing deficit, I eventually grew tired of my own inability to create, to compose, and, in frustration, I picked up an old Anne Rice novel. One of my favourites – Queen of the Damned. Through 491 pages, I discovered the only cure for writer’s block which seems to work for me – a quiet smack-down on my own obstinacy!
All it takes is a simple reminder of how much I have to contribute with my own words, thoughts, and stories, and how much I wish to live up to my own expectations. The expectations I bred within myself when I first cracked the spine of an Anne Rice novel at the age of thirteen. I expect great things from myself, as all writers do, and when we are faced with those expectations, we are inclined to have one of two reactions: live up them or tremble with trepidation.
But now I have overcome my laziness, my foolish procrastination and psychosomatic writing disorder… If only I could legitimately find the time amidst all my other work to cash in on it as it has taken me the full extent of my vacation to draw this conclusion!
Have you ever suffered from writer’s block? Tips or tricks to overcome it?