Celebrating Writer’s Block

MP900178366Writer’s Block.  You’ve heard of it, haven’t you? That dreadful onset of brain-freeze that prevents a writer from writing. I have days where the words flow together like a stroke of genius. And then there are writer’s block days where it feels like I’ve just had a stroke.  Seriously, the words are all trapped in my brain, but they just won’t come out.

Seems like an odd thing to celebrate, doesn’t it?  But I believe it’s a natural part of the writing cycle.  Writer’s block often applies the brakes to a story when my subconscious knows something is wrong.  It may be a wrong plot turn I’ve taken, a wrong speed I’m traveling, a wrong vehicle I’ve gotten into—but something about where I’m headed with the story needs some tweaking.  Or, in some cases, a full-scale overhaul. <sigh>

Writer’s block has interrupted the flow of two historicals I’ve been working on. Frustrating as can be!  I was beginning to doubt I’d ever finish anything again. Then I attended Romance Writers of America’s national conference last week, and was re-energized.  Suddenly, my brain was full of ideas.  Um, not for either historical, but for my contemporary romantic suspense series, The Daughters of Cosmo Fortune.  I’ve let this series languish, but my publisher, Carina Press, has re-released the first book, LYING EYES, at a bargain price of $2.99 for the ebook.  Pure escapist fun set in Las Vegas—the perfect summer read. Check out Chapter One on my website.

MP900341469I drove home from the conference alone, mulling over character arcs, back stories and hooks. Features of the story started to fall into place as easily as counting 1, 2, 3.  Yet, there’s still the fun of discovery because Cosmo is a mostly washed-up magician with a lot of secrets, so each book is an adventure to see what I learn about him through his three daughters.

The coolest thing about writing CHEATING HEARTS is that this series allows me the freedom to just “make things up.”  My historicals are pretty grounded in reality, but these capers allow my imagination to fly—they’re pure romantic fantasy. This freedom has eased my writer’s block. Let the words flow!

How about you—do you ever suffer Reader’s Block, where you need to switch out what you normally read for something fanciful and different? 

About Amy Atwell

Amy Atwell is a storyteller at heart. After fifteen years in professional theater, she turned from the stage to the page to write contemporary capers and historical tales that combine romance and adventure. Her books are available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. When not writing, she runs the online author communities WritingGIAM and Author E.M.S.
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11 Responses to Celebrating Writer’s Block

  1. Edie Ramer says:

    Amy, I have reader’s block often, and it’s often connected to my writing. When the writing is running hot (which it is now), I often can’t read fiction.

    I’m so glad that you’ll be writing again!

    • Dale Mayer says:

      Hi Amy,

      Glad to hear you’re fired up over writing again. 🙂 Writing block isn’t something I usually associate with my world. There are definitely times when I don’t know what comes next or have a plot problem that I have to sort out, but don’t really see that as a block – in my case it’s more a case of needing to step back and see the bigger picture.

      Glad the conference was so good for you!
      Dale Mayer`s last blog was …Contests & Giveaways!

    • Amy Atwell says:

      Edie, how funny–reader’s block. But it’s true. When the writing is going well for me, I’m afraid to slow down and read. Glad your writing is running hot right now!

  2. Misty Evans says:

    Amy, I’m so excited you’re working on the next Cosmos book. I loved Lying Eyes and can’t wait to read more about Cosmo and his daughters. Sweet!

    • Amy Atwell says:

      Thanks, Misty. I think I put off writing Cosmo’s next book because my dad passed away just two months after the first book released. But I’m very excited about it now, and I hope that’s a good sign!

  3. Amy,

    So glad you’re continuing Cosmo’s story. Lying Eyes was the first of your books I read and I just loved it. Your characters stuck with me and I’ve been patiently waiting.

    Readers’ block. I agree with Edie. When I’m in full-out writing mode, I don’t take much time to read. I’ve been mostly “blocked” as a reader for the past year and a half. However, I’ve been constantly adding to my TBR pile which beckons me to get back to having time for my favorite pastime–reading.
    Casey Clifford`s last blog was …Summer Meltdown

    • Amy Atwell says:

      Casey, I know all too well the building of the TBR pile. I just brought back about 2 dozen books from the RWA conference. I have lots of reading waiting for me, but now I need to write!

  4. Amy says:

    Hi Amy – I am going out to download Lying Eyes right now as I have been wanting to read it. I do have reader’s block sometimes! I like to shake things up and read lots of different genres because I think it makes each book better and the stories are all so different. I am glad you had a good time at RWA and were re-energized. That is what those conferences are for. I feel that way even at work conferences that aren’t related to the thing I love to do but am required to go. Good luck with the series!

    • Amy Atwell says:

      Thanks, Amy! I hope you’ll enjoy the story. I had a blast writing it. And I agree that it can be very good for us to shake things up. Read something different. Write something different. You just never know what you may learn about yourself!

  5. So glad you had a great time at RWA, Amy!

    I like to switch to a different genre if I’m stuck with my historicals. And fantasy and sci-fi is what I like to write because it is just so different and doesn’t interfere with my historical ‘voice’.

    And when I’m really in the writing zone, I have very definite reader’s block. When the only story I want in my life is the one I’m writing, that’s always a good thing! 🙂
    Michelle Diener`s last blog was …In Defense of the Queen Cover Reveal

  6. Liz Kreger says:

    Very cool that the conference re-energized you, Amy. I think in a lot of ways, that’s what conferences are for.

    I don’t tend to get writer’s block. I’m such a slow writer that my brain doesn’t have time to get blocked … or if it was, I didn’t notice as I hadn’t written anything during that time. 🙄

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