How I Broke Writer’s Block Part 1: The Story Behind the Book

Breaking Writer’s Block Part 1: Behind the Scenes

I did a thing–a big thing. I broke a two-year stint of writer’s block. As a romantic comedy novelist, I had hit a brick wall with my emotional connection to letting the words flow. Sure, I’d managed to prepare to write during that gargantuan span of time, but it was all busy work.

With multiple outlines for novels done and a plan in place to wrap up one series then start two more, I was all set. All my characters were holding their breath waiting … and waiting. I even had a partial manuscript—we’re talking 20k words—suspended in limbo like fruit cocktail in a Jell-O mold. What I just needed was my life to permit me to write unencumbered. I had endless notes, lines, scenes, even oodles of research done, but the words were trapped inside me bound by chaos, also known as, severe anxiety.

Writing has always been a balm to my soul, but during this awful stretch of hell on earth, it was like having someone offer me cheesecake when I have the stomach flu. I didn’t want to write even though it would be wonderful. I couldn’t let my lighthearted romantic stories become associated with the daily stress I was wrestling with due to circumstances in my life that were (and still are) beyond my control.

I tried all the typical writerly techniques and even some atypical ones to get back into the groove of writing despite my anxiety (which I’m still battling), and they helped me just enough for me to heed my friend’s advice on getting back to the basics with what I know. So, determined to tap into my teaching skills, I pulled up my big-girl pants, parked my bootie in a hotel room (long, hot story) and over the summer, I penned a How-To book.

Yes, I smashed my writer’s block with a How-To book. It’s worth repeating twice, because, even as I write this, I can’t believe it. I freaking can’t believe I’m sitting here typing this with yet another publication on Amazon! Is it ironic that I wrote a book about how to write in order to break my writer’s block? I’ll be writing a Part 2 blog on the techniques I used to bring myself to the threshold of writing this new book soon, I promise.

I’m a teacher by trade. I’ve got worksheets galore that I’ve created, as well as a full-blown smarty pants attitude that goes well with writing instructional materials. I crafted Come Write with Me: POETRY Workbook & Journal (For Teens & Adults) Vol 1 like I was sipping coffee and hanging with my invisible student. It was the best two months of anxiety-riddled fun I’d ever had with my imagination. As a result, the workbook is full of chatty ramblings, advice, quips, some of my gushy poetry, and I even loaded it with several QR codes that link to my blog with posts of additional content and exercises. Overall, this workbook & journal is sweet!

It took two months of writing everyday to accomplish this monumental feat in my life. I’m proud of the product. I’m proud of myself. I’ll be writing another blog about the techniques I used to bring me to the point that this workbook spilled out of me freely. It’ll be worth the read if you are or have ever been ‘stuck’ like me. Are you a writer? Does poetry matter to you? Would you like to learn how to write creatively starting with something simple like a poem? Are you a seasoned writer wishing to polish up on some poetic devices that you can tuck neatly into your work? I know the perfect book for you … come write with me.

SEE: HOW I BROKE WRITER’S BLOCK PART 2: TECHNIQUES

AVAILABLE ON AMAZON

Writer’s Block Broke

The synopsis for the third Vineyard Pleasures Series novel has been done for months. So has another full outline of another novel and several other lengthy summaries I intend to write.

They’ve sat collecting metaphorical dust in my Mac—scenes swirling around in my mind like dust cloud induced nightmares, clawing at my thoughts to take form and flow from my fingertips.

But today…today I began to write again after an epic stint in the stagnant hell of writer’s block.

I cultivated a moment the old fashioned way—pen and paper.

My vision—a crackling bonfire, their laughter slipping into the crisp wind like raindrops pelting against the sea, the campsite canopied by ancient stars swirling above them in an orderly procession, an expedition just beginning, his intrigue, her willingness to share….

The scene wrapped around another story that captured my own imagination once upon a time. My words tumbled out of the void, and I was able to write them down. Finally.

{Exhale}

Along Came Summer … and Went

… So here’s what went down …

I woke up to my first day of summer vacation doubled over in pain, asking my husband to rush me to the ER. Twelve hours later, I was back home minus one very grumpy appendix.

Recovery was miserable.

Not just because my stomach was a wall of black and blue and my guts were on fire, but because the pain meds I had to take to manage my agony were all too effective.

In fact, they were blatant productivity killers … devious minions of mind scramble … wasters of time … and suckers of all energy.

Little assholes—that’s what they were.

During those few weeks of mindlessness, I spent hours nodding off and on in between blank stares at all the home improvement and cooking shows on TV. I might’ve even skimmed through all the click bait on Facebook on my cell because, apparently, when I’m forced to be lazy, I just have to know what all those Amazon products are that have a cult following. That’s about all my mind was capable of.

Sad, I know.

The next thing I knew, I was sleeping on sheets 40k reviewers insisted I needed to buy, and I began to blame those velvety cool sheets for making me wake up well into the afternoon each day. That, and the frickin’ coma causers, I mean, pain meds.

Then, when I ditched the pain meds in lieu of regaining mental clarity again despite my stomach pains, I fell down the black hole of Netflix Rom-Coms.

Yep. And another chunk of my summer vacation broke free and drifted away.

I kept telling myself that it was writerly research to be watching movie after movie, but really, who am I kidding.

Before summer began, I had a plan. A summer writing schedule to be exact. And I was becoming the ultimate shirker of my author responsibilities all because one of my organs decided to jump ship. But, alas, note the word in that last sentence … was.

I eventually dug my head out of the proverbial sand once I was fresh out of excuses, including being pain-free naturally—yay me—and I finally wrote something.

Hi there, you’re reading what I wrote.

I sat on this post for about a week, though, and got sidetracked again. Only in a good way. The culprit–new romance book releases. Writers read, and, if they don’t, they should. So that detour did count as productivity, and it ignited my desire to get on task.

Long story short, with just a few weeks to spare on my vacation, I finally pulled together my full outline for WINE NOT? over the last few days—the novel that I was supposed to start writing before appendectomy-gate.

The new plan … to keep moving forward and knock out my third Rom-Com in my Vineyard Pleasures Series one day at a time, even if my summer is slipping away. Then I’ll just reconfigure my writing time once I begin teaching again in August. I’m all out of expendable organs to slow me down, so onward I roll.

I’m thrilled with the new plot! This love story centers around Victoria L’Angevin, Julien’s younger sister. Unlike her family of vintners, Tori is an Archaeologist heading out on a crazy quest to find love among Norse ruins. I am beyond excited to begin this new adventure with her!