Saturday, February 25, 2012

Writing Blocked by Life

Writing has been a chore this winter. My schedule has been blasted to pieces and I haven’t been able to regain momentum.

In an effort to overcome the blank in my creative brain, I am trying the reliable methods I’ve used in the past.

Ocean Pond, Osceola National Forest
Since we don’t have a bathtub in the camper, I can’t soak in the tub with soft music, so cross that one off.

Yesterday I spent several hours afternoon sitting near the lake. The water was ruffled by the wind. Birds chirped and tweeted. Otherwise it was so quiet I could hear the earth turning on its axis. I emptied my mind of work. This was time to refresh and relax. Did I return home to write prolifically? Hah. Maybe next time.

Today I took a walk. The forest is priming for spring. Scattered mayflowers poke white faces toward the sun. Pinecones plop to the ground. (Did you know they need to burn to force the seeds to sprout? ) Squirrels race in crazy circles as they hunt a mate. Again the birds twittered and cheeped.  I found a heap of bear scat alongside the path. (That is the fancy term for bear poop.) This is black bear country.

Osceola National Forest
Did I return enthused about my story? Un-uh.

So what is the plan?

Today I stared at my computer screen.

I have a plan. I’m going to find my original enthusiasm by reading my synopsis/outline. I’m making notes. I’m looking at my story with clear eyes and focusing on where I’m going with it.

I feel better having shared with you. I know you understand.

In Ancient Awakening, Police Officer ‘Mel’ Petersen investigates a death only she believes is murder. By disobeying direct orders from the Rhodes End Chief, she risks her career to follow clues that twist in circles to her backyard and lead the killer to her.

Her neighbor Stephen Zoriak is a prime suspect. Steve worked for a major pharmaceutical company where he discovered a weapon so dangerous he destroys the research. He is exposed to the dangerous organism. He suspects he is the killer and agrees to help her find the truth.

In the course of their investigation Mel and Steve find the real killer and a love that defies death.


Legend gave him many names, but the wide halls of his mountain retreat no longer echoed with countless worshipers. He could have ruled the world had his ambition not died with the passage of time. The endless whispers were from the cold winds and the few praying priests. He didn’t care that he couldn’t remember his real name or birthplace.

For an eon he’d regretted the loss of softer emotions. Love had been the first feeling to die, along with the woman who had insisted he would never harm her. He couldn’t recall her features just the merry tinkle of her laughter and the bright smile she had greeted him with every morning. He licked his lips. She’d tasted sweet.

Fierce need flared in his gut and he sniffed the air. Outside his chamber a single acolyte in long brown robes waited to escort him. His mouth curved with a mirthless smile. The silent servants had ignited the flickering wall torches. Shadows jumped and shivered in the drafty halls like nervous virgins.

Check my excerpts on my website:

Ancient Blood


  1. Barbara, I know how you feel. Right after I finish a book, I have more than a few days certain I'll never have an orginal thought! I stare at the cursor expecting something to just pop out of my head!

    This time I pulled out the worksheets from a previous plotting class (I'm so not a plotter) and worked through them, inventing characters as I went. It helped, because I have my new story line in my head and am ready to go.

    Good luck! You'll pull through this.

  2. Barbara, I'm going through a similar experience. I'm not stuck in the middle of a project, though, the problem is I've completed several projects I'd been working on all at once and submitted them. Now, while I wait to hear back, I thought I'd start work on something new, but just can't decide what I want to work on first. I have several ideas, but have a definite lack of enthusiasm right now to get started on any of them. I think I'll start on a short piece next week and see how that goes.

    In the past, when I'd submit something, I always had something in the works to fall back on while I waited. Just didn't work out that way this time.

  3. What a good idea! I have a bunch of worksheets from several classes I took since I'm not a plotter either. Thanks for the good wishes. Back atcha!

  4. Hi Susan,
    Boy does that sound familiar. Hope you find the perfect subject. Good luck.

  5. Barbara, your scenery is completely stunning, no wonder you're having trouble concentrating - I am too, just from the pictures :)

    Mind you I'm in dull grey London and having just as much trouble . . . maybe it's the time of year?

    Good luck!

  6. Barbara,

    Whenever I get blocked, I back up in the book I'm writing, chop out the last few scenes (save them elsewhere!) and rewrite them with at least two things different happening in them. If a person narrowly misses having a car accident, I change it to having an accident. Throwing in another layer of conflict gives a story momentum.

    Another thing I do with writer's block is to describe things I see in a new way. A mossy tree becomes a bearded magician. A chattering squirrel becomes sour-grapes Ina Jean at the beauty parlor. A light wind ruffling the dry leaves becomes the opening measure of a new symphony. See? You can do that. As soon as you start to write, the words will flow. Don't think about having to write. Think about wanting to write.

    Hope that's helpful!

  7. I always have good ideas swirling through my brain but sometimes life has a way of making you slow down for a bit. Lately, I haven't written due to other life circumstances taking precedence. Even though I don't have writer's block, I don't have the patience or brain capacity to concentrate on what I want to accomplish. I know once I take care of those things, it will be writing back to normal. I hope you get back to it too!