Writer’s Constipation

Writing is something I love to do, and allegedly, something I do well. (I say allegedly because I’ve received compliments, yet I compare it to others and can’t help but think about what a long way I have to go.) But as of late it seems as if writing has become more of a challenge for me than ever before. I don’t mean the actual mechanics or the writing, but moreso the translation of what’s in my head onto the page.

There are so many thoughts swirling around in my head, I could probably write a piece each day (if I could find the time) for the next three months. But none of it seems to want to come and make an appearance for the world to see. Perhaps it’s stress, or busyness, or hunger, or just life in general getting in the way; who knows? But I know that if you’ve ever been there, you know it’s frustrating.

Beyond anything else, my question, when this happens, is, “Why?” I know I’ve got plenty up there, plenty I’m thinking about, meditating on and trying to figure out. And I know I can write — I’ve got the MacBook up, word processing application opened to a blank screen and still… nothing. I’ve got the time, the space, the everything. But I’ve still got nothing but frustration. (I’ll let you insert your imagination of me making some grunt of frustration here.)

I don’t think of it as writer’s block as much as I do writer’s constipation. (Or maybe I just came up with a new term because it fits well and I’m having writer’s block denial.) It’s not that I need ideas — I have those. I have the thoughts, and things to say but they just won’t come out. I need some kind of writer’s enema (for lack of a better term). I need some more writing fiber in my writing diet. But I haven’t a clue what that looks like.

Since I know I’m not the only person out there with this issue, this is a time where I want to hear from you on how you deal with this. How do you maneuver around your writer’s constipation? What does “writer’s fiber” look like to you? What helps keep you consistent?

3 Comments to “Writer’s Constipation”

  • If you can call writing on a monthly or 5-week rotation "consistent", then when I have too many thoughts, I write them all down. I just sit and type until my mind is clear. It doesn't flow – it's just stream of consciousness. Then I leave it alone for a couple of days. Then I come back and try to section it out into different themes or threads – and flesh each one out from there. Sometimes you will discover that you had writer's block because you were trying to avoid writing what was really on your heart (which you think no one cares about), in favor of writing something that might have been more commercially accepted.

  • Hey Stu! First of all, I'd just like to say that you are like my unofficial "blog mentor" LOL. Yeah, I know you don't know anything about this. I've actually been blogging longer than you, but for a long time I didn't really have reason or "theme" for writing. It was pretty much just like an online personal journal for me. But now, from reading about blogging and watching the things that you do I've realized that to have a following or target audience there has to be a common theme to the posts and even the name of the blog. So, you know what's next for me, right? Sure you do! A domain name! Anyway, that had nothing to do with what you asked us to reply with, but just wanted to tell you. Not only do I occasionally blog (still trying to get more consistent with it), but I'm also writing books. I get writer's constipation ALLLLLL the time! I can't stand it! I mean, I have an outline for all the chapters I need to write including snippets of some of the conversations that should take place, the events that are supposed to happen, and everything, but I STILL can't write!! So, what I do is I just start typing…ANYTHING! Even if it sounds silly or incoherent. With my imagination, I can tie anything to almost everything, and if I keep typing, eventually I will have developed a story to go along with this random sentence that actually ended up being related to the story. And then the nice part about it is that since there are actually words on the screen now, later I can go back and read it then fix it (if it needs it because sometimes it actually turns out quite well!) and make it flow better with that particular chapter…or whatever. Hope that makes sense!

  • I agree with Joy Stephens. Sometimes the "constipation" comes from trying not to write about what's really on your heart. But to answer your question, when I find myself unable to get a complete thought out of all the things going on in my head, I just write down everything. There have been times when I looked up from writing what I thought was gibberish ended up being something that needed to be said. And sometimes, you just might need to take a mini vacation from it all for a day or two. It helps sometimes. Hopefully, this was helpful

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