Thursday 22 September 2011

The trouble with writers block when writing to a deadline

The trouble with writers block when writing to a deadline is that the deadline comes ever closer, and the work stays the same length, to put it simply. The deadline I have is a self-imposed one, in a way - I'll be entering it into a competition, if I ever finish it. But if I don't finish, it's not the end of the world. There are other competitions, other stories I could enter instead.

But, I came round to the thought that if I can't meet self-imposed deadlines, how will I ever cope when I'm faced with a real live deadline from a real live publisher (as opposed to the dead publishers who are always on my case to submit stuff :-))

Part of the problem is that I've been without my study for over six weeks, so everything I used to have at hand is now scattered around the house. I started off setting myself up at the dining table, and that was quite productive; but now I sit cross-legged on the settee, with rough drafts and notebooks all over the floor, and the lure of Homes Under the Hammer. I know it seems like I've answered my problem, but I'm sure there's more to it than that.

The story I'm working on was written and complete; but then I re-read it and hated it. I'd somehow slipped into a sort of stream of consciousness, which doesn't suit me, too much waffle. Easy, I thought, a cut there, a rewrite here, and it would be sorted. It's a little less easy than that. I can't get the voice right, I can't get the plot worked out the way I want it. I know the ending, it's the getting there that's difficult.


  1. Don't be so hard on yourself you will get there... I have faith in you and will love to read the story when you have finished

  2. I wouldn't worry too much about the self-imposed versus 'real' deadline thing. I've never met a self-imposed deadline in my life, but I'm pretty good at meeting the real ones :-)

  3. Give me a deadline and exactly the same thing happens, so I really feel for you! I even got stupidly stressed out doing MYWYN. Now that you've put into writing the reason for not getting it finished (Homes Under the Hammer?!!! and no study)and expressed how it's making you feel, perhaps it will all get easier. I hope so, anyway. Sending positive vibes your way! x

  4. Sue - this poor manuscript has already been in the bin and retrieved twice; I have a feeling no one will ever see it!

    Sarah - that's good to know. Although my self-imposed one was a comp I really wanted to enter, and now it's too late - only got 4 weeks to make story ship-shape (plus, see above comment lol)

    Linda - it's true that when you verbalise problems you see the solution, so I hope you're right. Vibes happily received!


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