Tuesday, January 20, 2015

On Blogger's Block by Joy McCullough-Carranza

(This is my brain in playwright mode.)
Since I joined Project Mayhem, I have had plenty of ideas for blog posts, usually a couple months ahead. This month was the first time it snuck up on me and I felt completely blank. Absolutely nothing to share. Blogger’s block, if you will. (I rather fervently don’t believe in writer’s block, mind you, but blogger’s block seems to be a thing, based on the philosophy that what I experience must be true, anyway.)

Part of this is because my mind is not on middle grade fiction these days. Honestly, I’m kind of peeved with middle grade fiction. (It’s not really the books themselves. I still love the books. But still.)

And part of it is because my playwright persona is in full swing, with a world premiere of the play of my heart opening in February. It turns out my playwright brain works very differently from my MG brain. In fact I thought I would have a first draft of a new novel by March 1st, but as it turns out, my brain is beginning work on a new play instead. Because it’s in playwright mode and it doesn’t shift easily.

So I’m in the awkward place of needing to blog about middle grade as a Project Mayhem team member, but not really having anything to say about it. In grappling with how to deal with that, I thought I’d just be honest. After all, it seems we’re mostly writers here. We’ve all had those days—or longer—when we’ve felt we really didn’t have much to say.

My personal belief about writer’s block is that there are certainly periods of time when what we write is utter garbage—sometimes extended periods of time—but that it is always possible to writing something. And so I have blogged something.

I hope by the time my next Project Mayhem slot rolls around, I will have found something more substantive and interesting to say. Thanks for hanging in there with me!

Do you believe in writer’s block? How about blogger’s block? What do you say when you don’t feel you have anything to say, or is it sometimes better to just be quiet for a while?


  1. Matt McNish tweeted about this post - so I thought I'd check it out.

    My take on blocks of any kind - writer's, blogger's, home renovator's (yes, I have that last one) is basically we all get them.

    How we choose to handle them is the interesting thing. Personally, if I have nothing to say - that's what I say - nothing! And, I'm a Chatty Cathy kinda gal… but if I've got nothin' then nothin's what I give!

    Now, the way I go about getting out of a block, particularly a writing block, is to do a 15 minute free write, that usually removes the block.

    I challenged myself to do this daily and find it quite interesting what trickles forth in 15 minutes. I use a photo prompt as well - it really helps in putting me into a place without thinking about it.

    Good luck with coming up with something for your next Project Mayhem slot.

    1. Thanks, Pearson! Yes, I think writing and blogging blocks are slightly different, b/c if you're in a writing "block" (or just dreadful period) you can keep slogging through - I like free writes too - but with blogging, if you keep up a schedule, you have to produce something of decent quality at a certain time. Thanks for stopping by PM!

  2. I wrote a screenplay once as part of an option deal on my first book. I know exactly what you mean about it coming from a different part of your brain. I was tempted to try writing another one when I finished the first, but ultimately, narrative fiction called me back.

    As for blogger block, I often look through my files for old posts and see what I might change or expand on or tackle with a new perspective.

    1. Thanks, Dianne! I'll try that next month if I'm still stuck! :-)

  3. I hope the play of your heart soars!!!

    1. Thank you, Caroline! I am having the best time of my artistic life!

  4. What a lovely comment from Caroline!

    Joy, I love the fact that out of "blogger's block" you've crafted a great blog post about all the times we feel the well run dry. I usually get around it by dabbling with a new project.

    And I wonder why you are peeved with middle grade fiction--but maybe that's a question answered in e-mail rather than on the blog.

    1. Ha - I'll email you , Michael! It's not the books...or the people. I'm glad you enjoyed the post, even if I didn't have much to say.

  5. I get blogger's block a lot~ I used to feel like I needed to put out content anyway and I would get a bit stressed trying to hunt down quirky topics or agent tweets or contests to blog about. Now I go with the silent approach, which can be not-so-good for keeping up with blogging relationships, but is a lot more suited to my two-young-kids-at-home lifestyle :)

    I am beyond thrilled for you and your play, Joy!

  6. As much as I don't want to come of flaky with my blogging or video creating,
    I also don't want to produce fluff that isn't entertaining or informing, so sometimes you need to take a step back and just brainstorm ideas.

    That said, this year I'm working out a schedule for blogging and my videos, but sometimes life happens and you need to honor that.

    Just make sure when or if you have to go on an unplanned hiatus, to write down ideas for the videos you want/need to do once it's over.

    Even if you can't make the time to the video right then, note it so when you come back you'll know what to research/script when you begin work on it.


Thanks for adding to the mayhem!