RTW and a Birthday

I’m doing RTW on Thursday! Booyah! That’s how I roll!

But first, yesterday (Wednesday) was the birthday of my most favoritest person: Mr. Atkins. He even had a milestone birthday–the big Three Oh! So I just want to give a showt owt to my hubs, because frankly, he’s awesome.


Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway’s contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on our own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody’s unique take on the topic.

This week’s question:
How do you beat writer’s block? 
I generally get writer’s block for two reasons: lack of motivation and lack of direction/ideas/where to go next. Let’s break this down shall we?
Lack of Motivation
Or LoM as I affectionately (or not-so-affectionately–damn you LoM!) call it is typically what I hit the most often. I’m scared to write because it’ll suck. I’m too tired. I’d rather watch Psych. Somehow cleaning sounds like a good idea right now (you know something’s wrong when I’d rather clean than write!).
How do I banish ye olde evil LoM? In two ways:
1. Read Back Chapters (or anything else I’ve written, though if it’s part of the story I’m currently working on that’s better.)
Why does this work for me? For two reasons: I remember how much I love my characters/the story/writing. And Dos: I might stumble upon something I wrote that I really, really like and I get excited.

It’s important to remember why I write and to be reminded that I can write (and that’s not a bad thing to tell yourself!).

2. Listen to my WiP playlist.

This conjures up the feelings I associate with my WiP. It gets my writing-mojo going and I’m like, “YEAH! Let’s do this!” I’ll hear a char’s personal anthem and be all, “I can’t wait to write about this char again!” Most of the time, listening to music makes me exclaim things.

Lack of Ideas

LaI, perhaps even more insidious than LoM. I want  to write, but I can’t think of what to write. Oh writing muses, how can you have forsaken me?!

I’ll usually sit down and try to pound something out on the keyboard. But it sucks, so I delete it. Then I get up and do some laundry. Come back to the laptop. Still nothing. Take the dogs for a walk. Return with a blank mind to a blank screen. If still nothing’s coming, I gotta take matters into my own hands. Literally. I get out a piece of paper and write notes down.

“Why the freaking hoohah can’t I think of anything? Audrey! You need to do something. What do teenagers do? Go to the mall? Write an emo poem? Go to the beach and learn to surf? PERFECT!”

Somehow, the switch from typing to writing also flips a switch in my brain. I prefer to type when I write because even though I type over 90 wpm, my fingers still can’t keep up with my brain. But whenever I take notes on my work, I much prefer to write. It causes me to slow down and think a little slower. (Not always an easy task for me!)

I’ve also taken to thinking about my chars at night as I try to fall asleep. It’s become something of a ritual for me–it actually helps me fall asleep faster. Weird, huh? (No one said I wasn’t weird…) Anyhow! I’ve discovered new ideas and also some solutions during this time. I don’t know why it works, but by golly, I’ll take it!

So! The next time I’ll listen to my music, read my own stories, and try to fall asleep simultaneously.


Posted by

I write speculative fiction inspired by mythos from around the world, complex family dynamics, and my own experiences living with mental illness. After earning my BA in Linguistics from Brigham Young University in 2008, I received my MFA in Creative Writing from Converse College in 2012. I live in Denver, where my husband and I spend countless hours chasing our three young sons (and sometimes catching them!). I collect tarot decks, dye my hair mermaid colors, and procrastinate by decorating my home. My debut novel, Feathers Sharp as Knives, releases on May 2, 2023.

9 thoughts on “RTW and a Birthday

  1. I feel like the whole LoM (awesome acronym!) because I’m afraid of sucking thing is a huge part of my problem too. Although I can’t bring myself to read old chapters to get out of the hole because then I end up feeling even more like curling up in a ball and never, ever looking at my document again…

    Lol. I love the nod to Princess Bride at the end =)

    1. We writers are so neurotic and fear-filled! It sometimes takes me a few days to get over fear-induced LoM. I make it sound like a quick fix on this post, but it’s not. (Is that dishonesty in advertising?? I hope not!)

      Thanks for the comment!

  2. Happy B-day Mr. Atkins! Love your suggestions for writers block. I read once that writing long hand helps because the internal editor in your head begins to concentrate on making the letters pretty instead of what you write. I’ll have to try reading back chapters. Never thought of that one.

    1. That’s really interesting about writing long hand … I don’t write very pretty when I’m just scribbling, but sometimes I do try very hard to make my letters pretty. (VERY hard)
      As far as the reading back chapters, I’m not sure when I discovered that trick. I think it’s good for me because I can see a “finished” (even if it’s not very edited, but at least it’s written) product and I’m reminded that I can do this. Plus, it often gives me direction for my next chapter, scene, etc.

  3. My favorite reading is often what I’ve written myself. I don’t know if I’m surprised that I wrote something I think is good, and want to prove it yet once more with a tight literary scrutiny, or I really, really, really do think it is good and it gives me great pleasure to read it again and again.

    Well, I’ve read this post about 46 times now, so I think I will actually post it. Good stuff, huh?

    1. It’s an awesome comment! ^_^
      I think of it like this: musicians should make music they enjoy listening to, and writers should write literature they enjoy reading.
      That makes sense, right?

  4. Haha, I’ve been thinking of my characters/stories as I fall asleep for the past… eight years or so? IMO, there is NO better way to fall asleep.

    And I totally agree with writing what you enjoy reading. Half the time I think I just write what I write because I can’t find it anywhere else. >.<

    Also: I'm listening to The Catalyst right now, and it's AWESOME. I haven't been keeping up with Linkin Park lately, and I'm starting to regret it.

    1. I’m glad you like it! I listened to them in high school (when they came out) but got sick of the screaming and rapping. Their new stuff is so awesome. Also check out “Iridescence” “Waiting for the End” and “Leave Out All the Rest.” So awesome.

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