It seems that the key to killing writer’s block is to say that you have writer’s block.
When I wrote about the blockage I was experiencing back in January, I was in a really tough place. I’d sent my book out to a few readers and was waiting for their feedback, but was struggling to produce while I waited. Normally during periods of writer’s block, I read. Something about reading loosens up the mind a bit. It’s almost like physical therapy: it strengthens you without exhausting you, to heal whatever it is ailing you.
Then I started an online fiction writing class at the end of January, and it ended right before AWP at the beginning of March. Maybe it was reading my classmates’ work, or focusing more on making up stories rather than telling true ones, but I’ve been on a bit of a tear since I got back from AWP/vacation.
Since then, I’ve written four long-form essays (those that are at least 2,000 words; one topped out around 5,000), and revised two short stories, one of which I’ve started submitting to literary magazines. I’ve published two of the short pieces that I’d been toying around with forever, one on Brevity’s Nonfiction Blog and one on Blavity.
All that to say, March wound up being pretty darn productive, and April seems to be following suit, so yay! I’ve got to get all of this generating done before my brain decides to turn off the faucet.
I was accepted to the Yale Writers Workshop for this summer (yay!), and I will be doing fiction this year. I am incredibly excited about this for so many reasons, the primary being that I finally feel validated in fiction, the very thing I started writing all those years ago. It also means that I actually have to start writing the novel that’s been rattling around my brain for almost 4 years; I cheated by writing out the parts I knew best in a short story (what I’ve been submitting), but it’s time to write the first 10 pages of the book, which one of my Yale workshops will focus on.
All that being said, it has been a great month or so of plowing through new material. I wish I liked revising more, so I’d be more excited about all of the re-shaping I have to do, but I’m going to try not to think about that right now and just continue pouring out whatever comes in.