Thursday, August 23, 2018

Writer's Block by Sharee Stover

Writer’s block is a topic known and well-discussed among authors. It’s a normal part of the process.

But I have a confession to make…Writer’s block is something I’d never experienced.
Before you throw a tomato at the screen, let me explain.
The majority of the time, stories and characters are tumbling around in my brain faster than I can write them down. Day and night. They never stop. Then something happened…
Around the start of winter, my writing stumbled. I struggled to find words and thoughts that made any sense. That lingered all through spring…
Summer came. That time when my kids were all home for three wonderful months. When the sun rose bright and early with birds singing and didn’t set until after my bedtime. And summer is busy in our house. Lots of traveling, weddings, and events to attend, but I still made time to write. Problem was, my mind packed up all my writing ideas and characters and took a vacation—without me—I was baffled.
I’d stare at that blinking cursor while it mocked me and think, C’mon! Anything. Type anything. To anyone not really paying attention to me, the clicking of my keyboard made it sound like I was working hard, but the truth was, I spent more time hitting the backspace key than putting actual words on paper.
I prayed and prayed. Then I became desperate. Reading anything and everything about writer’s block and how to overcome it. My inner editor, perfectionist that she is, critiqued every sentence I tried to type. None of it was good enough, so I hit the delete key over and over.
“What is wrong with me?” I asked anyone willing to listen to my tale of woe.
“Take a break.”
“Step away from the story.”
“Start over.”
Those were the most common words of advice, and they frustrated me. I wanted someone to give me the magical cure that would restore my writing brain. Months passed and nothing…will I ever write again? The fear that my greatest dream had been ripped from my hands tore at my heart, and the more I tried to force myself to write, the more the cursor mocked me.
When my family and I headed off to our long-planned, saved-for anticipated family vacation, I contemplated whether to take my laptop. After all, it hadn’t been beneficial all summer, but for me, my computer is as necessary as my wallet. So, just in case…I packed it.
I didn’t intend to write. For the first time ever, I determined I would not write. I was on vacation. I planned to spend the days enjoying the sun, the beach and most of all, my family. I didn’t anticipate writing anything. I gave myself the week off and the grace to NOT write.
And the week was fabulous, perfect weather and food. Great memories that I’ll forever cherish. Then, the strangest thing happened. As I sat in the airport ready for our return flight home…WHAM! An idea came to me. I spent the next hour free writing the first chapter. No plotting. No planning. Just spewing happy words all over the screen. No longer did the cursor mock me. No longer did I feel the pressure of “I have to write something today!” Just words. Glorious, wonderful, unedited words.
For the first time, I wasn’t stressed about how much I hadn’t done and thinking, Hurry up. You’re running out of time. Much like staring at the alarm clock in the middle of the night when you can’t sleep. As if reminding yourself that you have four hours left, three hours left, etc. is somehow going to convince your body to surrender and sleep.
I relaxed and allowed my fingers to fly across the keyboard, and it was freeing.
Please don’t misunderstand me, I know there will always be deadlines and things we have no control over. Times when things have to get done regardless of our brain’s willingness to participate, and we can’t all take a vacation every time those moments come, but maybe one of the things that will help most in those times is to give ourselves grace. Grace to just deal with life on life’s terms until we can return to the wonderful place of creativity. Grace to not perform perfectly, one hundred percent all the time. Grace to rejuvenate.
I don’t know about you, but sometimes, I’m harder on myself than I would ever be on a friend, co-worker or family member. I expect myself to perform perfectly all the time. And that’s silly, but no one can do that, and I’d never expect anyone else to. I’d give them grace.
Have you experienced writer’s block? What was one way you overcame it? What advice would you give to a friend going through such a period of writer’s block? Or, what was the best advice someone has given you?
Secret Past
Her life is a lie

She’s not who she thinks she is

With gunmen at her doorstep, Katie Tribani learns her true identity. She’s been in witness protection since childhood, and now her crime-lord father has found her. As bullets fly, US marshal Daniel Knight whisks her to safety—but not for long. Captured and held prisoner, only Katie can unearth her secret past…if she can survive long enough.
Colorado native Sharee Stover lives in Nebraska with her real-life-hero husband, three too-good-to-be-true children, and two ridiculously spoiled dogs. A self-proclaimed word nerd, she loves the power of the written word to ignite, transform, and restore. Her Christian romantic suspense stories combine heart-racing, nail-biting suspense and the delight of falling in love all in one.
She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Romance Writers of America and Nebraska Writer’s Guild. Sharee is a two-time Daphne du Maurier finalist and the winner of the 2017 Wisconsin Fabulous Five Silver Quill Award.
When she isn’t writing, she enjoys reading, crocheting and long walks with her obnoxiously lovable
German Shepherd. 
Visit her at