Blocked, by E.M. Storm-Smith

Blocked, by E.M. Storm-Smith

I’ve tried to write every day for the past week but I’m completely empty. Blocked. Nada. Caput. How do I move on when writer’s block strikes?

Not just this blog post, but also my second novel for which I just received the developmental edit letter from the world’s best Dev-Editor (no I will not be naming names, you can’t have her!!). I have 7 weeks to finish the rewrite if I’m going to keep on schedule, and I’m not sure if that’s going to be realistic now. Honestly, I’m hoping that this exercise of just writing my thoughts, unfiltered, without a clear goal or message will help me. So, thanks for coming on this ride. Maybe it will be cathartic for anyone who can sympathize. Or maybe it just feels self-indulgent, either way, here we are.

Why have I been blocked? I think that I’ve been overwhelmed recently. I know, 2+ years into the modern plague and NOW I’m overwhelmed? But yes, now. Depression and anxiety don’t come on anyone’s schedule, they show up when they show up.

So. what’s been going on in my life that’s so stressful? I don’t know – which is the most stressful part!!

My day job has gotten hectic since we’ve lost 2 members of our (originally) 5 member team, so picking up all the work is stressful. But my boss is great and the people I work with are great, so I’m not really under any serious pressure. Deadlines are getting moved and projects are being delayed so we can actually focus on what needs to be done now. I’ve been dealing with a real jack-ass on the other side of a particular matter (I’m an attorney and I probably don’t have to tell you that some attorneys are a$$h013s), but again, my boss is supportive and has been helping me deal with this guy.

At home, things are pretty great too. My husband’s job is good, my son is doing well in school, summer is on its way, and we have some fun camp and vacation plans right around the corner. It’s all good from the outside.

So, what the hell is wrong with me!?

(Side note – did you know that the ‘!?’, ‘?!’, or ‘?!?’ is a real, grammatically correct – though little used – punctuation? It’s called an Interrobang and there was once a movement to make the new mark, which combined the two for ‘inquisitive exclamation’ or rhetorical question, into a standard symbol. Modern typewriters never adopted the mark to a specific key, but it is included in several of the most used fonts in digital computing.)

My writing has always been an outlet for me to express silly, funny thoughts when in my everyday life I have to deal with stressful and serious things. My inner irreverent personality gets to come out when I’m writing. But I don’t feel much like making merry right now. I’m feeling like the world is too big, the problems are too extreme, and I can’t do anything to help anyone. I alternatively want to quit my job and take up the causes of injustice, protest for liberty and women’s rights (if you hadn’t already guessed my political and personal leaning from the past couple month’s of posts, I’m kind of a nutjob liberal) but also I want to eat ice cream and hide under the covers.

Writing, no matter the genre, is an artistic expression, one that needs nurture, space, and support to come to fruition. In my case, it also takes a mostly clear head. In fact, I think I started writing specifically to stop the constant internal monologue. When I write, I’m completely engrossed in the story and the characters. Whatever else is going on usually falls away and the storm quiets. All the lists of things that need doing and the unread emails slip away for a while. I get to play in my own little world and it’s lovely.

But recently the thoughts aren’t quieting. The unread emails continue to make alerts on my phone demanding attention, and the world of fiction isn’t asserting itself.

Well, for now, that’s all I’ve got, because as we’ve previously discussed, I’m blocked. I’d love to hear from other writers in the comments how you deal with (or not) writer’s block. Also, commiserating is allowed. Sometimes it’s nice just to be heard.

I will leave you with one thing, something for which I’ve very excited. While the words of the book are really leaving me in a quandary, I’ve been working with an illustrator on the cover of my second novel. I’m in love with the feel so far and I’ve got some small snippets to share.

My first novel is also available now, wherever books are sold:

I’d love to connect with you! Come find me in all the usual places:

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Bronwen Chisholm
May 16, 2022 12:38 PM

I completely relate. The third book in my series was originally supposed to be released in March. Here it is May and I am still on chapter three. I told someone yesterday that I feel as though I have been sleepwalking through the beginning of this year. I have tried writing down ideas I recorded years ago, doing little one-off scenes, and reading, but nothing seems to be working. Like you, my stress level is not any higher than any other time when I was able to write. I have debated running away to a cabin in the mountains for a day or two to maybe reset my brain. So glad to hear I am not alone.

Love the cover!

Jean Stillman
Jean Stillman
May 15, 2022 7:25 AM

I am not a writer, just an avid reader; but I know you’ll have an ah-ha moment and the creative wheels will be turning again!

May 13, 2022 12:10 PM

So sorry for what you are feeling (and dealing with those clients). Really hard to focus and deal with what’s happening!!! Moments of silence and/or prayer always help me regain a sense of calmness. A visit to the country side may also do the trick (any Oakham Mount or Peaks in the area?

Linny B
Linny B
May 12, 2022 9:58 PM

Just here to say hi and hope you move past your writer’s block. Love your cover so far and look forward to your story when you are ready. Take care!

Corrie Garrett
May 12, 2022 12:11 AM

So sorry you are blocked!! I hear you. I wish I had some clear way to get past it, but I sure don’t. The only thing I can offer is that it is CLEAR you have writing in your blood and sooner rather than later you will get the joy of writing back again!

Last edited 2 months ago by Corrie Garrett
May 11, 2022 8:05 PM

I can relate as I’ve been struggling a bit lately. Hope you feel better soon and that you overcome your writer’s block.

J. W. Garrett.
J. W. Garrett.
May 11, 2022 4:10 PM

Get some dynamite and blow the heck out of it. No? Too radical?!? [had to use it] Be nice to yourself. You are a strong capable person. Take one step at a time. Any movement is moving. Type one word and walk away. Come back and type another word. Take a spa break. Drink some soothing tea, clear your mind, and don’t think of anything. For a few minutes, close your eyes and focus on nothing except a blank wall preferably black or any color of your choice. I choose black so nothing distracts me. Relax. Or go and kick something [not someone… like your hubby or the dog],.. use heavy shoes so you don’t break a toe or worse. You’ve got this.

Kirstin Odegaard
May 11, 2022 3:08 PM

Depression and anxiety are so debilitating. I think you should believe that the ideas will flow again, and until then, use the time set you aside for writing to indulge in some serious self-pampering, doing all the things you love.

I know how I’d react to this advice, though–“But this is my writing time, so I HAVE TO BE WRITING.” But you don’t. Why do we tell ourselves that? You have complete permission to do something relaxing and utterly unproductive.

cindie snyder
cindie snyder
May 11, 2022 11:32 AM

I hope it all works out for you. I’m sure things will get better.

Linda A.
Linda A.
May 11, 2022 10:17 AM

I feel ya. How about some (un)helpful cliches?

  • Don’t beat yourself up about it.
  • This too shall pass.
  • Don’t “should” on yourself.
  • Do something else, like exercise or just read for fun.


Last edited 2 months ago by Linda A.
May 11, 2022 9:59 AM

‘Awe’ not aware! 🙂

May 11, 2022 9:57 AM

Oh dear, what a dilemma! I’m not a writer so I’m just here to commiserate. I’m in aware of anyone who can write books that are adored by so many! I’ve been reading constantly since being small and have tried most genres over the years (although I did bypass the Westerns section) I’m now totally into Darcy and Elizabeth stories and can’t believe how many variations of their love story there are! Such a treat. I myself have had health problems involving 3 operations in the last sixteen months but on the bright side, I am retired, giving me more reading time. I do hope your blockage clears soon. Take care 🙂

Linda A.
Linda A.
May 11, 2022 11:15 AM
Reply to  Glynis

Glynis — If you ever want to try something from the Westerns genre, read Louis L’Amour.

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