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The Struggle is Real

So I am writing this in my local Panera, on 38th Avenue in Denver, Colorado. Why am I here? Because I am frustratingly slow sometimes when it comes to writing. No. That’s not true. The truth is that I slow down. I get distracted.

I refuse to call what’s happening writers block. In fact, I don’t believe in writers block.

See, my understanding of writers block has to do with not knowing what to write next. But that seems to be a problem for pansters, not planners. (People who write by the seat of their pants. Me, I’m a planner.)

Since I outline every beat, every scene, I know exactly where I’m going. And even when I’m not motivated to write a scene, if I just get in front of a computer screen and do it, the words usually come. Sometimes there in the 1,000-1,200 range. Sometimes there in the 1,500-1,800 range. Sometimes I blow the roof off and write 2,500. But the words do come.

Yet here I am, five months into the first draft of a historical fiction and I’m only half way completed. My goals now are all askew and Nanowrimo is looming.

At the beginning of this year I published a goal of writing four books. Baring a miracle, that ain’t happening. I’m not really angry with myself, or disappointed. I’m just frustrated that I can’t get this together a little faster. These are first drafts.

In addition, my writer life, outside of the actual writing, has been extraordinary the last six months. (I will blog about that later.) I have been amazed and humbled by my greater tribe of writers here in Colorado.

In addition, I have reached out to some agents recently and they’ve been very receptive to what I’ve pitched. People want to read my stories. So it’s frustrating that I can’t (or won’t – self sabotage is an old friend of mine.) write faster.

I do see a pattern, however.

I have attempted three novels. I have done a complete top-to-bottom re-write of one of them, so I guess I could argue that I’ve attempted to write four. In every case I have trouble with the first half of Act 2.

I follow the late Blake Snyder’s screenplay outline called “Save the Cat.” The first half of Act 2 has three parts in it: The B Story, Fun & Games, and the Midpoint. I think I’m getting better at the Midpoint. I think that’s also true for the B Story. (Usually where a love story begins in many films and books,) It’s the Fun & Games, where we see the protagonist in their in their element, doing what they do best, that I struggle with. Each time I write I struggle with this.

I don’t really have an answer here, but I just wanted to share how hard it is to write a book. Even a crappy book requires time, patience, and dedication. Things I am willing to commit on this journey, but things that require effort. If any you have any suggestions, I would be happy to hear them.

Alright, this book ain’t gonna write itself.


  1. I feel your pain, Jason. I look at how little progress I’ve made on one of my WiPs (as you well know) and get just as frustrated. The only suggestion I can give is to look at your process and see if you can determine what it is that starts to bog you down. Is it trying to get characterization right? Are you overly-worried about POV?

    For example, since I’ve started editing last year’s NaNo novel, I have come to the conclusion that this is what I should have done on my 1st WiP. I should have written it all the way through, non-stop, in a mind-numbing 50K rush. While my NaNo novel does have it’s problems, I’m finding it much easier to edit than write/edit the other one. Yes, this should have been obvious to me but it took a moment of deep frustration and annoyance for me to step back and take a good look at my process.

    Keep plugging away, bud. You have a lot of good words to put on the page and I’m sure you’ll find a way to hit your goals.

    • June 27, 2012 Hello, you used to write magnificent articles, but the last several posts have been kinda bo0#8g&in23r; I miss your tremendous writing. Past several posts are just a bit out of track!

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