I Hate the Phrase “Writer’s Block”

I hate it because it’s real, and it’s a thing that happens, but the phrase itself writer’s block doesn’t feel like an accurate representation of what’s going on in my head.  Because I posted last month about writing 30k in 15 days, and I continued writing up until 49,975 (which is super frustrating af let me tell you) before just pulling the brakes for–I don’t know, two weeks or something.  I don’t know.

I don’t know.

These last two weeks have been awful.  I didn’t write while I was Erin.  Heck, I didn’t even really think about Saints while I was with her.  While we were shopping, we kept picking out shirts that reminded us of Harrison from Pen boys.  She started reading The Raven Boys (FINALLY!) and told me she could see how much Gansey had influenced Harrison (whoops).  I went home, and I continued not to write.

I wanted to, though, which is why I don’t like the phrase writer’s block.  It wasn’t that I didn’t know what to write or how to write it, it was just that I wasn’t writing, for whatever reason even though the urge to write was there.

I really should have posted about this so you guys could see it in real time.  I’ve been so endlessly frustrated.  And I just went back in the Saints tag to see that I was like this while writing the first one, too, that I kept opening a Henry chapter and just staring at it blankly, and like?  You’d think I’d learn from the past?  But nah.  I’ve had the next Cole chapter open every day, just clicking into it randomly and sighing because nothing’s happening.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been reading a lot, but that’s about it.  I’ve been on Tumblr a lot.  I fell down the wildest YouTube rabbit hole ever.  Prepare yourself for this.  Male gymnastics in Leeds, UK.  What?  I literally don’t even know how.  YouTube recommended it to me, and it was late at night, so I said what the heck, and then an hour later, I’d watched a handful of this gymnast’s videos, and now I’m addicted.  I can’t stop.  I watch it while I’m cooking dinner.  I started watching the vlog he has with his dad.  I’m going to link it for you because damn, I love it so much: Nile Wilson.

So, like.  That’s been my life.  Reading books, watching gymnastics.

And then I did this:

I’m going to be honest with you, I think that’s what broke the slump.  I think saying it out loud was what I needed to do.  I wasn’t telling anyone that I wasn’t writing.  I was just–teaching yoga and going about my day and talking to Jen at night and Erin all day and Patrick in between, but I wasn’t telling any of them that I wasn’t writing because I was ashamed that I wasn’t or something?  I was definitely mad.  And yeah, I guess a little ashamed.  Because I have this deadline in my head that I need to finish Saints 2 by the end of March because I wrote Saints in less than two months, and I’m just sitting here wasting my time by not writing, and what do I think I’m doing?  Nothing, clearly, so I need to open that Word doc and force myself to write because at this time in the game with Saints, I’d already written 80k, and I’m so far behind and

WOW STOP

Oh my god.

That’s my thought process, no lie, and it’s just the worst ever.

It was worse this time than it was with Saints, too, because not only was I listening to Saints music and staring at a blank Word doc and going through their Pinterest, but I was also constantly mentally beating myself up for not writing.  I don’t know if something finally snapped or whatnot, but after I texted Patrick that I was kind of falling apart and I was going out of my mind about it, I taught yoga, got home, sat down with my bagel and my grapefruit while Jen was drinking tea, and said, “I’m stuck.  I can’t write Saints, and I don’t know why, so could we just talk about it for a bit?”

We didn’t talk about the chapter that was coming up.  We didn’t talk about Saints 2 at all, actually.  We talked about this little story that I want to someday write that’s just literally Miles and Ezra being Miles and Ezra, hanging out in their bunkbeds and doing dumb boy things and just being friends.  We laughed about how silly they are together, and I noted how Ezra kind of changes with every person that he’s with and how I haven’t written him with Madison exclusively, so I should probably do that soon, and then we sighed a little bit about Landon because ugh landon, and then we went to bed.  I watched a couple of Nile’s videos, grabbed a cat, and went to sleep.

That was Tuesday.

This was Wednesday, yesterday:

Hi, I’m writing again, and I’m so happy, and I swear, I’m going to learn from my mistakes and not do this the next time around.  Yesterday, I just put on the Lord of the Rings soundtrack, and wrote a little over 5000 words.  And you know what, I was so caught up in this awful cycle that I didn’t even post that I’d reached 50k.  Because during all that not writing, I edited the first part of Saints, and added enough words (I was literally 25 words away, and I’m still mad at myself) that I just barely cracked 50k, but I didn’t post about it because I wasn’t really writing.  I know.  You don’t have to tell me that I was because I know that I was, but sometimes, we tell ourselves that we’re not.

The real moral of this blog is the same as it was the last time around.  Stop beating yourself up for not writing, and just let the world happen around you.

And so, to celebrate being back in my world after a couple weeks wandering around angrily, my PSS (Post Script Spoilers) is not a list of things I’ve been researching, but a small scene from Saints 2 (ooooooh).  Enjoy!

saints

It was an odd thing, seeing the manor.  As they fled into the night, Cole wondered what it would feel like, seeing it surrounded by these people—his friends—and knowing that, somehow, it was far less safe than it had ever been.  He’d never slept easy at the manor, not even on the nights when Isaiah was tucked into the basement and busy into the early hours of morning.  He slept with the door and windows locked, and woke every few hours, checking the corners of his room.  On the bad nights, when he couldn’t settle, he stayed up reading with only a candle burning and the curtains drawn tight.  But it was the terrible nights that made Cole dread seeing the manor again.  On the nights when Isaiah wasn’t in the basement, when he was just lurking in the shadows of the house, Cole couldn’t stop himself from tucking a gun under his sweater and taking the stairs down to Henry’s room.  He slept two floors above him, on the highest floor of the manor, in a small room with a bathroom down the hall that he shared with five other servants.  He didn’t mind because it was still a place with four walls and a ceiling, and it was warm in the winter, but he hated being so far away from Henry.

Anything could happen in the forty-three seconds it took Cole to run down the two flights of stairs, making as little noise as possible, and every time he did it, Henry was okay.  He was safe.  He’d never really thought about the fact that Henry was okay because Sam wasn’t, and when the thought came to Cole now, he tried not to linger on it.  Landon had sent him to protect Henry, and he’d done that.

Cole looked over at Henry now, trying to gauge his reaction.  Henry should be able to sense that they were near the manor.  Cole certainly could, even without looking at it.  It gave off a dark, cold kind of feeling, though he wondered if that was just the sight of it.  Even still, Henry’s face was closed off, his mouth set in a firm, thin line.  His freckles stood out stark on his face, and his curls were pushed away from his forehead.  He’d asked Cole to try to cut them, and though he’d done a decent enough job, Cole could pick out a few spots that were uneven.  They’d stopped to rest for a moment, so Henry’s walking stick was splayed across his lap where he was sitting against a tree.  Cole assumed he’d stashed it in a pocket before Isaiah dragged him into the city for the execution, and had been surprised when Henry took it out as they left the house.  It made sense, and would help him keep up with the others instead of relying only on the feel of the world around him and Cole’s guidance, but Cole still felt a little barren, almost, without Henry’s fingers wrapped around his arm.

“So, that’s it,” Miles said.

Cole looked away from Henry, and back to the manor.  They’d left Oberá behind before the sun rose, and watched dawn creep over the city from the safety of the trees.  The forest that skirted the Black Mountains was thin and didn’t really provide much cover, but it was better than standing out on the open hill.  The manor was still a few miles away, just a looming shape on the horizon, but Cole could make out its width, yawning across the top of the hill.  It rose high, too, five floors in total, not including the basement, with short, dark spires spearing the rising sun.  It was black like the Saints’ house, but there was no welcoming red door, and all the lights were out in the windows.  Cole wondered who, if anyone, was still haunting those halls.

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