The Wall

Hi, wall. I knew you were coming at some point. Could you just fuck right off though? I’ve got shit to do.

I’ve hit the wall. It’s 10 am and the system is breaking down. I have been taking a few chapters every day and trying to make them into chapters. The “just keep writing” mantra I’ve been using for the past three years is awesome. It got me where I am today, by which I mean sitting on top of a hot stinking mess of a manuscript.

Repeat after me: a crap manuscript is better than no manuscript at all.

But now it’s time to shape and massage. Plastic surgery and open heart surgery. Cutting, pasting, cutting, pasting. I’ve sorted out my first group of chapters. They’re not perfect, but they are possibly heading in the right direction.

But now I’m in the wilderness. I can’t stop and figure out the parts that need to be expanded or cut. My editorial eye is off. What if I skip these three chapters, which have a bit of shape, and go onto the next thing?

Nope. I’m in shark-infested waters. The next few “chapters” are not even remotely chapterlike. This sucks. I hate writing.

I’m going to go back to drinking until midnight. I’m going to watch the entire seventh season of West Wing right now. I’m going to go out and buy DP a t-shirt. I’m going to throw myself in front of a sightseeing bus. I’m going to waste this beautiful time. Fuck.

What’s your sledgehammer?



14 responses to “The Wall

  1. You will NOT. Stare at a new blank page and start writing anything at all, even if it has nothing to do with your story, with your manuscript. Especially if it has nothing to do with your manuscript. Write for 30 minute without stopping. I dare you.

    • Actually I’m going through and trashing (or putting in a separate folder) everything that I hate and think is stupid and/or unnecessary to include. This is cheering me up.

      I had someone tell me that I should talk more about how I learned to write/became a writer. But only writers care about that, right? The story itself is not interesting at all. Um, I started writing because I was good at it? Because I liked to read? Because I cannot knit or hit a baseball?

      Delete, delete, delete, delete. 🙂

      • You are right. Writing is not interesting …. unless it connects to something else that’s part of the story. So there’s that.

  2. If it were easy, it wouldn’t be good. Remember that the reason this is so hard is because you know it can be better. You are so talented… have a glass of wine (or two or three), read something funny, and then get to work.

    Try this for cheering up:
    View story at

      • Hahahaha! But I can’t write so well after a glass of wine. Well, sometimes one glass of wine takes the edge off if I’m writing something difficult, but I haven’t tried that before 4 pm either. 🙂

  3. This is not the wall. This is that overwhelmed feeling of looking a shit-ton of work in the face. Pick one thing and do that. One thing. And stop worrying about wasting the residency, you’re fucking yourself with that pressure. After all, you’re still gonna have a ton of work when you get home, right? The residency doesn’t have to be an earth-shaker for it to be helpful.

    (This is my motherly tough-love mode. My son would say, Welcome to my world, Indy.)

  4. My sledgehammer is my favorite fountain pen and a pad of paper, taken as far away from my desk as I can reasonably get. And then I write about why I’m stuck. If I stick with it, I eventually segue into the story again . . .

  5. you shouldn’t have been mean to me yesterday. I would have been more understanding today. But, since you’re asking:

    If you really have hit a wall, and aren’t just whingeing, Teri’s right. Do some free (non-stop) writing. Even though you are supposed to be refining right now (snip, snip, paste, paste), when in doubt, writing will always save you. It will put you back into words–where you need to be–and it may actually end up showing you things about the chapters behind the wall.

    don’t blog for a day or so and see if that refocusses you.

    • Ya know…I just came back and reread my comment. It sounds so hard-ass and I didn’t mean it to. What you are doing is amazing; the opportunity is the stuff of writer’s dreams. From what I have culled from your posts over the last few months, if anybody can tough it out and do it, you can.
      I really didn’t mean to come across like some know-it-all. (All you guys have forgotten more than I’ll ever know.)
      You have a very supportive community on your side so I stand with my first word. Nike, my friend, just do it.

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