I Hate Writing!

Don’t worry! You did read the title of the post properly, and no, I haven’t flipped or had a personality transplant. And, yes, I do remember last week on New Year’s Eve, I wrote that in 2014 I was going to write more. MORE. So, why, only a week later, am I saying, like a spoilt child forced to do something they don’t want to do,  I hate writing? What’s gone wrong?

Perhaps I set myself up as a hostage to fortune with the bold statement in that previous post ‘There’s no reason why I can’t do 5000 words a week’. Because there is a reason, and perhaps if I knew what it was, I could fix it. It’s definitely not that I haven’t tried. On Thursday and Friday last week, and again yesterday and today, I’ve sat at the computer and tried to write. All over Christmas and New Year, I’d been gearing myself for the moment when the festive season would be over and I could start my next chapter. And I knew what I wanted to write. So, why, why, why, have I barely scaled 2000 words in four days? And every one of those words dragged from me, like a confession that will take me to the gallows.

I don’t know.

And that’s what’s painful.

I know the theories about overcoming what I refuse to dress up with a fancy name like writer’s block. I’ve spouted them often to students! But I don’t want to do morning pages; I don’t want to write endless character notes; I don’t want to go for long walks (well, I do but in addition to my writing not instead of). I want to get on with my novel.

Writing is difficult enough at the best of times, but when you put the time in and the words flow, the characters leap about, and the knots of the plot tighten, it all seems worthwhile. When you put the time in and nothing happens, it’s horrible.

The irony is I’ve got a small series planned for the next couple of months called ‘Why I Write’. I’ve asked six other writers if they will write a guest post for my blog on the subject, and I’ll be posting one a week between now and the end of February. I’m really excited about it and looking forward to what they each say. And I’m supposed to be kicking off the whole thing this Friday by writing the first ‘Why I Write’ post! It’s not going to look very good if I simply write I DON’T.



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  1. Maureen Hall says:

    Welcome to my world! I know that place only too well, and I can’t tell you why you arrive at it, or how you get out of it either. I can only say that you’ll wake up one morning and will be back in the right place again – eventually. Maybe leave the novel alone for a while, and work on a short story? Go for something completely different and just experiment? Decide to go in for a competition? The main thing is, don’t worry about it. The more you stress, the worse it gets!

  2. Lindsay says:

    Thanks, Mo. I hope that you’re right that I’ll wake up one morning and be back in the right place again – but I do need that to be tomorrow morning!

  3. Debbie Young says:

    How about telling yourself you’re not allowed to write for a week? Outlaw it, set yourself some other tasks, and give yourself a break. Then, on day 8, sit down at your PC, or take a pen and notebook in hand – whatever you’re most comfortable with, and don’t get up again for an hour, even if you only write a single word. But I bet that by the end of the hour, you’ll have written much more, and won’t want to stop.

    And during that week off, if you’ve not read it before, or even if you have, read Dodie Smith’s “I Capture The Castle”, about a teenage girl with a writer father who gets writer’s block which cannot be shifted even though it’s putting his family into penury – until the daughter locks him in his room until he starts to write something. One of my favourite books, ever, and an inspiration to any writer.

  4. Lindsay says:

    Thanks for the good advice, Debbie. I’m not sure the not being allowed for a week would work for me because effectively I wasn’t ‘allowed’ over the festive period, and it’s mainly the issue of trying to start again. Being locked in a room until I write something sounds a better option for me! I have read the book but a long time ago – sounds as if it’s time for a reread!

  5. Diane Colvin says:

    t must be very frustrating Lindsay when the words don’t come. For me I have the words but it is putting them down on paper or on the computer that I have problems with. I have even thought about buying a voice recorder to switch on when I’m doing mundane tasks. That’s when the most creative ideas and prose seem to pop into my head. I could then just type them up and hopefully they would make sense. You are such an accomplished writer Lindsay that I’m sure you have whole story in your head, or planned out already. Have you thought of considering it like a child’s colouring book? You have the picture already drawn you just need to fill in the detail. Just choose which section to start on. You don’t even have to do it in order. Just do the easy bits first and then pick the more tricky bits off when you feel like tackling them.

    Best wishes

  6. Lindsay says:

    Thanks for the encouragement, Diane – much appreciated! I think if I waited to do the tricky bits, I’d never tackle them! And it seems they’re all tricky bits at the moment. Having said that, I limped to the end of another chapter today – almost 3000 words since last Thursday, so I’m feeling a bit more positive. However, the next chapter will probably send me diving to the depths again!

  7. Polly says:

    The one thing guaranteed about this post, Lindsay, is that other writers will empathise! 😉

  8. Lindsay says:

    You’re right, Polly – ‘periods of frustration and despair included’ comes with the job description!

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