Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Writer's Wednesday- Open Eyes

(photo from

Writer's Wednesday- For those of you who are new to the blog, or have forgotten about Writer's Wednesday due to my recent absence, I wanted to reintroduce this segment. Every Wednesday I blog about the writer's soul. I have no intention of covering matters of character development, plot arcs, grammar, formatting manuscripts for agents etc etc because there are half a billion far more worthy writers than myself who are already blogging on these topics. Writer's Wednesday offers my thoughts on the very real inner struggles and joys of being a writer. If you are not a writer you might find that what I'm really talking about are the struggles and joys of life.

Writer's Wednesday- Open Eyes.

Until recently I have to admit that I secretly scoffed at those who said they had writer's block.  I didn't actually believe that a writer couldn't write. Maybe they didn't want to write and just hadn't gotten around to admitting it to themselves because they were merely afraid to fail or perhaps to succeed.
And then my winter came.
It crept in the backdoor making me shiver. A cold thing in my heart that created a desert where once the words flowed.
I could not write.

Looking back there were many reasons for the desert. I thought I wasn't going to name the specific reason, but now I'm writing this perhaps the post will be more meaningful if I be honest and name it.
So, here it is.
A manuscript of mine was rejected by someone I really wanted to work with. The was the start of things, but it wasn't so much the rejection of the book as it was me. You see my book was a memoir. Such books are incredibly hard to get noticed in the first place, and I felt blessed that it drew the attention that it did. And then it was rejected. People say don't take that personally and I agree. You shouldn't.

The wonderful agent who rejected me was right to do so. The book will benefit from her advise. That did nothing to take away the sting rejection. Having come from a brutal childhood, rejection was a festering wound I had covered over.... until my book was rejected.

At first I didn't want to write. When I got over that bad attitude I sat down to write and found that something inside had broken. There were no more words. I doubted my ability. I wrote one or two words and deleted them. I sat and started at the screen. And after two months (yes, two months) of that I finally went and saw someone about it. Together we discovered the root of my problem. I wasn't dealing with those old wounds of rejection from long ago.

Writer's block is real people. And now I think it's beautiful. If it had not caused me to stop and open my eyes I might have missed to opportunity to deal with a much deeper issue.

So, I gently encourage writers who find themselves blocked to stop with their eyes wide open. A block is a stop sign, a warning, a chance to slow down and step back and perhaps ask yourself, "What am I not seeing?"


(A number of people have joined my blog recently and I would like to return the following, however there is no link on your profile. If you add a link to your blog I would love to visit you :)


  1. Tabitha - you have no idea how excited I got when I saw your name in my dashboard!

    And this is why I'm excited. Because your writing is beautiful and I missed it! I love your honesty and openness.

  2. OMG, I love the imaginary of the "Stop Sign." It is true when we stop writing there is generally a deeper reason.

    Just glad you are back. :)
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  3. Blocks are something that I too didn't believe in until I had first hand experience. Mine was a painter's block and it lasted five years, almost. During that time I didn't draw much more than the odd doodle. During that time, I started writing seriously, and so you're right, one door closes...

  4. What a gorgeous post. Thanks for sharing.

    Writers block is real, and usually does deal with some form of rejection, either from ourselves or the world around us.

    I'm glad you're back and feeling better.

  5. Tab, I am so glad you are back and that you have discovered the deeper meaning behind your need to stop writing. And I hate the word "rejected" when it comes to books. the publishing industry is harsh and hard. I've read your memoir and it is exquisite. And yes, all of our work can stand to be improved. That doesn't mean it isn't worthy.

  6. I am proud that you sought the help. Before I finished reading this I thought...Tab, just write about how you feel about the rejection, but you found a better way. I'm glad for you. Sometimes writing my guts out rather than writing on a set topic helps me to get rid of the stuff that is holding me back.

  7. Yay!!! Your back! I love your posts and I'm sorry about the rejection but I hope that another agent/editor falls in love with your story and takes it on. :-)

  8. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I also wrote one of those painful books of the heart and I remember how it felt to get the rejections. But you're right, you use the advice to make it better and keep searching for that agent or editor who will love it. I look forward to following your blog.

  9. Your transparency in this post is inspiring and encouraging. Yes, getting the root of the problem isn't the easiest route but the only one, really, to allow us to take that next step on our road.

  10. I sure have experienced that--the rejection, the writer's block. I simply didn't have the heart to write. Sadly, I let someone steal it from me. Once I really figured out why I write, I could set all the negative aside and move forward.

    This is a beautiful post. Thanks for sharing it...

  11. I love how you turned something painful and harsh into something beautiful. Rejection is hard, and its hard not to take it personally. I hope your joy is restored and you can write again.

  12. Your honesty is so refreshing. I think sometimes we need to take a step back, need to take a break so that we can "start" again (writing or not).

  13. I think you hit the nail on the head here. Writer's block is a stop sign. I've been suffering from it lately. I'm going to take your advice and proceed with eyes open.

  14. I haven't been around the blogosphere lately, so I didn't realize you'd taken a break. But I'm so glad I stopped by today - this particular post resonates with me, and as usual, I appreciate your poetic way of expressing my own feelings. Thanks, Tabitha!


  15. I am as you were, not buying the writer's block thing. But if Tab says it's real, then it must be. So good to see you back! Thanks for the visit and comment!

  16. I'm glad I stopped by to reconnect. What timing! ANd I don;t really struggle much with Writers Block as I always have an exercise that lubrictaes my brain and keeps the little hampster spinning in its wheel.

  17. Writers block is definitely a stop sign. I've learned that it's so important to have patience with myself when this happens. *hugs* You are an incredible person with so much beauty. Thank you for sharing. :D

  18. Wonderful post. I have so been there. Love this.

  19. I used to find it weird when people talked about Writers block, until I went through it myself. I wanted to write but just couldn't string the words together.

    Rejection is never easy to handle, but it sounds like you are coming through it as a stronger person.

  20. I didn't believe in writer's block until I got stuck a year or two ago. I kept writing, but not well. I had to work through it until the words fit together again. Sorry you had to go through it, though it sounds like it was a growing experience for each of us.

  21. Writing is a strange kind of masochism. The positive fever will return.

  22. I struggled with writer's block for my one story that I've wanted to finish. I took it so far and then nothing. Writer's block to me felt like a terrible ache that wouldn't go away. Your words are good....and helpful. Happy Writing

  23. Such wonderful advice. Maybe even that block isn't a stop sign but a flashing yellow light: go slow and look around before going further.
    And I do hope you proceed further and find an agent.

  24. This is such important advice for a writer. Thank you for sharing.

    I remember meeting you at the Clarity of the Night, and am stopping by to invite you to The Rule of Three Blogfest ---a month-long shared-world fiction extravaganza in October.

    It might be intriguing for you as a writer to write in a defined setting in which other writers are also creating their own stories. We have big hopes for the stories that would emerge, and I would love for you to be part of it. Do check it out.