Writer’s Block, Ennui, and Other Barriers to Productivity

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Aaaand I’m back, thanks to a new wireless g USB network adapter. Yes, I spent the bulk of today losing my shit as my Internet connection went down every five minutes. As a result, I was able to squeeze in three Modern Materialist posts, but not much else.

But that’s not the only reason it’s been quiet around here this week, and that’s why I’m writing this post.

For the past two months, my mood has been a roller coaster, verging on manic optimism during the highs, and depression and fear during the lows. The reasons? The folding of the Sun. The realization that full-time freelancing might not be the right thing for me. The desire for a coaching certification, without the money to enter the necessary certification program. My dwindling bank account. My resulting aimlessness.

On the one hand, all this free time has given me the opportunity to concentrate on my writing, and I’ve gotten three recent clips — with a fourth one forthcoming — out of that. On the other hand, I’ve found it difficult to keep up this momentum, as distracted as I am by my other concerns.

While I realize that this is no mere case of writer’s block, I feel that some of the “cures” for writer’s block could be helpful in a situation such as this. Which is why I was excited to see Jenny Cromie’s post on the subject over at The Golden Pencil: When Your Muse Goes On Strike, Grab a Club.

Jenny suggests the typical block-busting tips, such as committing yourself to writing for a certain amount of time each day, and stepping away from the work when your brain needs a break. The tip that intrigued me the most was her last one, one “read[ing] the stars.” And no, I don’t mean my horoscope.

Jenny writes that when she’s “low on inspiration and need[s] to control [her] inner muse, simply reading the work of [her] favorite writers helps remind [her] of what’s possible and puts [her] back on track.”

I feel much the same way, when I read work by Barbara Kingsolver and Lorrie Moore. Who are the stars guiding you? And what do you use to get out of a work-strangling funk?


  1. Hi Steph!

    Thanks for the mention, and I’m glad you found the post helpful today!

    As far as your fears about freelancing and the Sun folding—don’t despair. There are still many opportunities out there for freelancers, and there always will be a market for people who know how to communicate and write well.

    Anyway, I like your blog, and I hope you’ll continue to visit The Golden Pencil!



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