Why Do I Have to Write Today?

mountain climb

It never seems to fail. Just when I think things are going well, the ideas stop. My thousand-words-a-day mantra becomes Why do I have to write today? Even the podcast I’m working on has stalled. It feels like I’m climbing a mountain.

Writer’s block again.

I’m 32,000 words into my next novel, Street Light … the final book in my trilogy … and once again I’m stumped.

Where are these characters going?

At the moment, I can’t answer that. I know where I want them to end up, but how are they going to get there?

I also have the questions for my podcast so many Gentle Readers submitted about the craft of writing, and I know how I’m going to answer them. But I can’t seem to get started.

The Creative Spark
I’ve read a lot of advice about how to spark creativity … and I’ve written about it here.

However, everyone’s creativity takes a different form, so advice that works varies from person to person. Creativity often involves play, digression, experimentation and failed attempts.

It doesn’t always look productive.

I’ve discovered that creativity can be a strange, elusive creature. Sometimes it’s a river flowing so fast I can’t keep up with it. At other times it feels like the river’s caked and parched, all dried up with life-giving water nowhere to be found.

That’s when I take time to explore, try to meet new people (or old friends I haven’t seen in a long time, like I did last week), or read a book by an author I enjoy. Sometimes I just listen to music I like (for me, that’s Bob Seger or Creedence, thank you).

If you’re anything like me, you’re often set on a specific way of doing things and that’s not always good for creativity. Creativity is all about those new, unexplored ideas … and you can’t explore new ideas if your mind is closed by impossibilities.

I find doing something just a little different can set off a creative spark and generate fresh ideas I hadn’t thought about before.

Follow My Interests
Instead of focusing on what I “ought” to be doing, I allow myself to wander. Sometimes by buying an odd book, poking around the internet, or exploring an unusual place.

I’ve always been an avid reader. Some authors claim they can’t read while they’re writing, but I don’t try to curb my reading impulses. Right now I’m discovering everything that new friend Brad Meltzer has ever written about political intrigue. I find good writing is inspiring, all by itself.

I’ve found, too, that reading their stories aloud to my grandchildren (or having them read to me) inspires me, sets a good example and just might inspire them, too … which is a very good thing.

Besides my stories, one of the main outlets I have for my creative impulses is this blog. This is where I collect many of my favorite quotations, intriguing passages from books I’ve read, stories I’ve heard from friends and questions that plague me.

I used to worry that writing on my blog would drain me of ideas. But I’ve found the more I create, the more I want to create.

Enjoy Failure
G. K. Chesterton wrote, “If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.” Besides putting a smile on my face, discovering this catchphrase made a huge difference in my approach to creativity. Telling myself I can enjoy the “fun of failure” made me much more light-hearted (although my lovely bride wouldn’t always agree).

I just let ideas flow. You can do this, too. Don´t try to censor yourself or worry about editing, no matter how silly the ideas may be. It’s important to keep an atmosphere of openness when trying to generate ideas.

It’s the same philosophy I use when I write. Get the ideas down. Fast. I can sort them later and determine which ones are best.

Relax and Play
If there’s any one thing I would always recommend to overcome writer’s block, it’s to go out and do something with friends or family. Don’t dwell on writing. Just relax and have a lot of fun.

Doing this for an evening, a day, or a week, can recharge not only your creativity but also your motivation and general sense of well-being. You will find this is actually a great use of your time. Your creative juices will flow again … plus you’ll also get to enjoy those wonderful friends and family members.

I’m off now, taking my own advice. I’ll let you know if it works.


My books have garnered some terrific reviews. You can see the stories I have available by using the Amazon link below.

buy now amazon

You’re also invited to visit my web site, BROKEN GLASS, or like my Book of Face page. You can also follow my shorter ramblings on The Twitter.


Comments posted below will be read, greatly appreciated and perhaps even answered.

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4 Responses to “Why Do I Have to Write Today?”

  1. Ron Herron Says:

    I hear you, Tim. Toss in some Stones, a little Wilson Pickett and Roy Orbison and we’ve got it all! 😉


  2. Jeff Bushman Says:

    A timely post, no doubt. I am 48,000 into my book and not sure how I should lead it towards the finish line let alone how I should cross it.

    In the beginning, I had the idea of the story but now it has gone stale. I realized it didn’t have much of a soul. There wasn’t much a reader could relate too. I knew it needed something and then I awoke at 2 am this morning with an epiphany.

    It requires an entire re-write, new chapters, new characters and changing POV on 2 of the three MCs in the story.
    Now I’m left with the decision of finishing the original attempt or beginning the re-write phase.
    What I’m trying to pull off may be beyond any tools I currently have in my writing toolbox but I feel it must be attempted.
    At least I’ll have fun “doing it badly.”

    2015 A to Z Challenge Ambassador


    • Ron Herron Says:

      That’s half the battle, Jeff…having fun with what you’re doing. I often feel overwhelmed with a story. Just keep going. It will come. I’ve already written two “first” chapters for “Street Light” and I’m not to the edit phase yet. 😉


  3. T. W. Dittmer Says:

    Chesterton’s saying put a smile on my face, too. Perspective.

    Seger and Creedence? Oh yeah. Throw in some Dire Straits.

    Keep on keepin’ on, Ron.


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