Stalled, but not Blocked

This was a comment on Mastodon that deserves to stick around.

I’ve been struggling to write. I took forever to get to the end of a very long scene that I felt was dragging the whole pace of the book down, and I stalled. Positive feedback on an earlier scene from my writer’s group (who doesn’t want to hear “even I understood that” from a group who hasn’t read any SF, let alone cyberpunk) inspired me to look at the scene with fresh eyes and tweak it. Now it’s better, good enough that I can move forward and revisit it in editing.

I say stalled because although my delta word count was near zero for about ten days, I wasn’t just sitting at my desk, banging my head on the keyboard. I fleshed out some character sketches, figured out big a problem that was looming in a not too distant chapter, and did some other things that count as significant progress. Not much progress, but definitely not zero.

Nevertheless word count is the primary measure. While stalled, my publisher persona was nagging me to keep moving. “Where is the damn copy? You need to finish this thing before I’ll even take a look at it!” (My publisher is a a hard-nosed ass, as they should be.)

On a writers forum I read that writer’s block is a myth. Paraphrasing, the poster said that writing is a job. Bus drivers don’t show up for work rested and healthy and then say they can’t drive the bus because they’re blocked; they just drive the bus. Therefore writers should just write. I subscribe to this view.