Friday, October 4, 2013

Dealing with Writer's Block & Other Things

In my last post, I shared the awesome news that I won a contest to get my WIP critiqued by Brenda Drake. Since then, I've received the feedback and wow! It was just what I needed. Amazing is the only word to describe the experience. To my surprise, she didn't tell me I need to quit writing. Ha! She actually told me that I'm almost there with this manuscript. With her words of wisdom and suggestions, I ended up on a roll of revising and writing. The finish line was so so close.

Then, the worst happened. Writer's Block attacked.

I don't mean your regular writer's block either. I mean the, "I doubt every single word," "I'm ready to throw this manuscript out of the window," "I don't know why I ever thought I could do this" kind of writer's block. It's frustrating and it's draining. This sucker has literally brought me to tears.

Lately, I even doubt if a person like me could even be a writer. When I see people online sharing the news that they've gotten an agent or landed a publisher, it seems like they're in this exclusive country club, and I have little chance of getting into it. I doubt they've been on welfare or had to run from bullets as a kid. I know, it's a stupid assumption to make about people I've never met, but folks from neighborhoods like mine don't become writers. Most of them avoid reading all together.

Deep down, I know it's not about where you live, but where I live is making it hard for me to see something better. I've isolated myself from the online writing community lately because I don't feel like I fit in.

This sucks.

However, I'm not giving up. I can't.

These are the same doubts I dealt with when I was in college. In most of my English and Creative Writing classes, I was the only person who looked like me or grew up in "the hood." On my first day of classes, I cried for over an hour in my car because I didn't think I belonged. I didn't have the experiences of my peers who had seen parts of the world that I'd only seen on television.

But a professor/author by the name of Howard Bahr helped me realize something. No, I didn't have the experiences of my peers, but my experiences were just as important and deserved to be heard just as much. He told me to write what I know. With that advice, I ended up winning first place for fiction in my program's annual writing contest.

No, folks in my neighborhood don't get agents or publishers or put out books. They also don't win writing awards or even get a college degree, but I did both.Therefore, this writing thing IS possible.

My hope is that one day I can inspire some kid who's been on welfare or had to run from bullets that they too can achieve their dreams as a writer. For now, I gotta get over this writer's block.

I hope this made some kind of sense.


  1. I sort of suspect few good writers feel they are part of the In-Crowd, A.C.
    It's a good place for a writer to be a perennial outsider looking in. Not fun in a way, but a great vantage point for doing what we do.

  2. Yep, it does feel like there's an "In-Crowd." Geesh, this is high school all over again.

    Yeah, you're right though. It is a good to be an outsider looking in. Usually I see that, but lately I've been down about it all. Going to try and focus on the positives though.

  3. Chin up, A.C.! You've already wrote a book-- a real-honest-to-goodness-book! How many people can say they've done that? Allow yourself to feel down, but only b/c you know you'll soon be on the up and up! You can do it! *imagine that said in a really horrible accent! ;)

  4. Thanks, Leandra! Funny thing is, after I wrote this post, my writer's block ended lol.