Lack of A Writing Routine Messes Me Up!

Yep, it’s true.

After two weeks out of town (during which I was sick with a hideous cold for most of it), I came home exhausted, overwhelmed, and negative.  I realized that my decision to suddenly free myself from the internet was too extreme.  A few days would have sufficed in order to give me the healthy ‘net break that I needed.  Moreover, it didn’t help that soon after our return it was the anniversary of my Dad’s death.  While fortunately that didn’t trigger a depression as it has in the past, I still felt bereft and like crap.  

I wanted to sink back into a solid writing routine to ground me and give me a sense of purpose apart from being a mother and wife.  As simple as that goal may seem, it hasn’t been the case.

I’ve been tempted to sit on my derriere and watch recorded reruns of “What Not to Wear“, “The Long Island Medium” and even, gasp, “Lotto Changed My Life“.  (I haven’t actually watched any of them yet, but the craving has surfaced.)


I love you, Clinton & Stacy! 

This is not good.  

I am utterly constipated, literarily-speaking.  I keep telling myself “I’ll start writing again tomorrow” and then SHAZAM!  Something happens to prevent my writerly aspirations from becoming more than just lip service.  Last week it was one of my kids staying home sick.  This week? Well, nothing happened except for total laziness and writing blockage.  Yuck.

It occurred to me that I needed a dose of Greg Archer wisdom.  Greg Archer is one of the most prolific, gifted, real writers I know.  I met him while writing freelance articles for our local weekly, the Good Times.  Greg was Good Times’ uber-popular editor-in-chief for fourteen whopping years.  Not only did he write hundreds of excellent articles, but he was in charge of overseeing a staff of impressive writers – talk about pressure!  :0

Greg’s second book Grace Revealed: A Memoir was just published, and it’s getting fantastic reviews.  As you may have noticed, the cover alone is spellbinding.

Check out his book trailer video – it’s awesome:

On Monday I emailed Greg for advice about about my writer’s block rearing its ugly, pus-filled head.  I confessed that I’ve felt like throwing in the towel on the whole damn project, despite almost 80,000 words being written to date.  More importantly, despite feeling in my gut that I NEED to write this book.  It’s not an option!

He sent me back some words of wisdom that were from his heart and potent:

“I want to encourage you to


You can only do what you can do…truly…
Show up…give the book some time each day…and that’s THAT.

 OH___ ADVICE>>>> WRITE THREE PAGES OF WHATEVER…. every morning… and then go to the real WORK… get something out of your head.

And then… comes the sending it OFF…. and then comes to LETTING GO… and then comes the LETTING GO MORE… because we want a kind of validation … that what the hell we went through meant something/will touch people//but what I am seeing now… is that… yeah, that’s normal to focus on…but if we can direct our energy to something more creative… other work; other expressions… it’s probably much healthier…We’re so complex

And beautiful


So I'm going to do just what Greg suggests that I do, especially the
"Keep going!" part.

Do any of you have advice to share about your own writing blocks?  
I'd love to know the gory details!  As always, please comment to your 
heart's content.

And have a GOOD weekend!!!


p.s. for more information about my extraordinary friend, please visit



44 thoughts on “Lack of A Writing Routine Messes Me Up!

  1. I finished page one of my book today…I am absolutely certain that page will get a much needed major rewrite, but for today, it is out there…

    • Hi Charity, I am SO PROUD of you!
      One page might not seem that big a deal to others, but it is, ESPECIALLY (sorry, I can’t resist all caps here even though it’s bad form! 😉 when it comes to being page one of your book.

      I’m thrilled for you, and if you come across any great writer’s block secrets, don’t hesitate to let me know here or via Facebook.

      Great work! 🙂

  2. It’s really, really good to read you again. And since I want to read your book, please go and write it 🙂 . I suffer more from verbal diarrhoea than writer’s block, but if I need to get my ass into gear, I either just free-associate write, or write character sketches, or describe something (a place, the setting, whatever). Greg is definitely right – let go. And…just write. Edit laaaaaater.

    Your words about your father – both recent and older posts – have helped me a lot. I had this sneaky nagging feeling that I am being feeble … and reading your stuff, although I wish you didn’t experience the pain, was an instant phewww of relief, because I could identify with you such a lot.

    • I can’t tell you how nice it was to read your comment as I emerged from my Seroqueled stupor this morning. Seriously.

      I’m sending you a free copy of my book, dammit, when it finally comes to fruition….even if I’m 90! Come to think of it you’ll be 90 too, ha ha. Maybe I’ll plan a bucket list trip to S.A. and personally hand it to you with my wrinkled paws.

      I’m glad you agree with Greg’s advice. As you’re also an incredibly prolific writer (who writes EXCELLENT stuff, not crap!) it makes sense that you would agree with another talented scribe.

      I’m moved that what I’ve written about my Dad has helped you. I’ve only written just a little bit of what I could write – there’s so much I’ve been stuffing down and need to write about…..I bet you know what I mean.

      By the way, I’m ***definitely***planning on reading your post “Good grief, bad sadness” a.s.a.p. I

      I didn’t get a chance to read it last night, and I’m chomping at the bit to do that, for your posts about your relationship with mother & your grief over her loss help me.

      So glad to have you as my virtual friend….thank you for truly “getting it”.

      • Sluroquel …

        At 90 I’ll either need the audio book or the braille one.

        Thanks for being my virtual friend and “getting it” too. It’s almost 3am. Feckit. Can’t sleep.

      • Yeah, I figured you must be up late….
        what about drinking a potent Sluroquel Strawberry Smoothie??
        Wouldn’t that be cool to create a psych meds smoothie bar?

        The set-up would be similar to the medical marijuana dispensaries on literally almost every street here where I live. These places sell TONS of amazing-tasting cannabis edibles (containing chocolate especially…my weakness. Someday I’ll tell you about my Brownie Mistake.)

        So……with the Psych Meds Smoothie Bar, one gets her script, visits the dispensary/bar, and order up the tasty wasty edibles!

        What other psych edibles could be served?

        Lithium lasagna
        Parnate pickles
        Abilify apple struedel


      • lol, so many Sluroquel sisters, so little time! I want a smoothy too. But I think seroquel makes me “easy” you guys. hahaha. I wanted to add my 2 cents when it comes to writer’s block. I think some would call it something to do with low self-esteem, but I don’t believe that crap. Do you know that it’s difficult for me to say or think of myself as a writer/ blogger. I have this idea in my mind that I can be that person, because my writing isn’t good enough to be part of that league, those are intellectuals (e.g academics- My father in law is also a Mathematics Professor soon to be doctor. Imagine the pressure.) I know that writers and bloggers have audiences and supporters, like you Dy, and so I’m so scared of what others would write or think about what I have to say that the thought alone forces me into an ugly whole. I have so many funny things to say, but that block prevents me from typing. So some days I don’t feel that I’m good enough to be alive and other days I think ok, I’m alive, but everyone will judge what I have to say- so rather not say anything, rather not call myself a writer or blogger….. dig a hole and bury myself alive with all my jokes and crap.

        No matter how awesome we are, we may find ourselves suddenly without that ability to make the magic happen. But it does pass. Stuff, non psychological stuff, like kids and flu get in the way, but it will pass. This crap feeling of ulgh will pass and it is in no way a reflection of you writing skills and sassyness. I seriously can’t wait to read your book! I’ve enrolled for the memoir writing course btw 😉 So i’ll be hot on your tracks in a year!

        ***Hugs and cupcakes and something stronger**

  3. You have written so much already, don’t throw in the towel! Remember I am in line for a signed copy of your book!!

    • Your comment brought a smile to my face as far as my promise to you for the signed copy – I *can’t* let Just Plain Ol’ Vic down! What WAS I thinking???? 😉 Thanks for your encouragement – just knowing you took a moment to stop by has made my day brighter.

  4. When i can’t work on a novel, I blog. If that’s not working, I put the whole thing aside and do a headstand (seriously). Usually, that invigorates me enough to write something, anything. A brisk walk or moaning to my writer friends helps too.

    • Hi Bee, I absolutely LOVE your headstand idea!!! That rocks!
      Blood to the brain works for me…. :)))

      As you already know, I love moaning to my sympathetic writer friends via this blog, but so far no one has been the enabling type. Everyone is sweet enough to let me moan, and make a few responses to the moaning, and then tell me to get on with the show!

      I might have to take a silly selfie of me doing a headstand before my next writing session and share it here for the hell of it.

      p.s. let us know what novels of yours we can buy – I’m hoping there are Kindle editions!

  5. oh, I’ve had writer’s block this week, which has led to some serious messing around, which included a poll on regarding who you would smack if you had free reign to do so with no consequences, no repercussions. I also found out how Ted (from “How I Met Your Mother”) met their mother. It’s not like I get a lot of time to write, so usually I’m desperate by the time I get a chance. Maybe next week!

    • There’s hope for you!! We don’t call you SUPERMOMMYOFTWINS for nothing! 😉 Reading about that poll made me laugh, I must admit. I am thinking of adults, though….not tater tots! I hope next week you get to fit some writing time in, honey, because if anyone deserves it you are at the top of the “Most Worthy” list! Love & blessings to you & your gorgeous family, xoxo Dy

  6. We’re vessels. We keep me ask to be clear; let it out. Creativity… honor it when its present. Onward we all go …

    • I welcome creativity even more than I do a good piece of chocolate. Although to have both creativity & cocoa in one place is pretty much bliss. 😉

      Onward forever!!! XOXO

  7. hi! i have more experience with art blocks than writer’s block, but i agree with your friend said. you have to force yourself to work a little everyday, whether or not you want to. this also good because you’re setting a goal you can fulfill, so even if you can’t do much, you can feel like you’ve been successful.

    don’t get down on yourself, having a block is not your fault, it’s nobody’s fault. give yourself a break! be kind to yourself. you deserve it! ❤

    • Nothing seems crazy about you, Ruthie, when you give such lovely and helpful advice! Reading your comment made me feel happy – thank you so much for writing it.
      I’ll work on giving myself a break (that’s easier said than done, but both you and my trusted friend Kitt advised me to do it and I can’t ignore it). :0

      My husband Craig co-authored a book about his great, great uncle John Mongtomery, who was an unsung aviation pioneer who flew in San Jose & was persecuted by the Wright Brothers. (I call them the Wrong Brothers but that’s a whole other story! 😉 . It took Craig and his co-author Gary 7 years to write the book & find a publisher. The finally did it (“Quest for Flight”) and the book got great reviews and has sold 2000 copies in just couple years, which is considered to be very good. (Yeah I’m jealous, ha ha ha! Craig knows it!)

      My rambling point is…..I keep reminding myself that if it takes me longer to write the book, it’s okay. What matters is following your words of wisdom and work a little every day no matter what. I’ll let you know how it goes! I post 1x/week here (usually Friday or Monday) – stay tuned, and thanks again for reading! 🙂

  8. I am in the same boat as you. My writer’s block began during the holidays, and I still haven’t written anything with substance since then. I haven’t got a clue on how to get over it. I hope you find where your muse is hiding and can get back at it.

    • get back at writing, I mean…lol not get back at your muse. As if now it’s been hiding you need revenge. I should read things more closely before I hit reply.

    • Hey Lisa, your comment “I hope you find where your muse is hiding and can get back at it.” rocks – I’m glad you didn’t correct it before you hit reply, as it made me chuckle. A giggle is always super-welcome in my world!

      I hope that your block vanishes A.S.A.P. as well as mine! If you find out about anything that helps you, please let me know….you can blog about it & I’ll find out through reading your post!!! (At least you posted last week and I think that’s a good sign!)

      Sending you a big hug, Dyane

  9. I’m just commiserating. Being away from your home and an Internet connection = destabilizing, for it disrupts your routine. Getting sick (as I’ve also been) sucks because you feel like crap, your energy is zapped, and it disrupts your routine. Having a sick kid stay home for a week (as we both have) is destabilizing, for it disrupts your routine. Oh, and even a vacation is destabilizing, for it disrupts your routine. Notice a trend? What’s it time for? Getting back to your routine. When will that happen? When you and your kids feel better. Do not beat yourself up.

    • Kitt, you always give me a very much wanted and needed reality check, and your comment made me feel SO MUCH better!

      After publishing this post I feared that I sounded liked a whiny, spoiled ingrate and I almost didn’t share it. But I wanted to keep my blogging friends aware of what’s going on with me even if the content is not life-changing. And you’re right – there’s absolutely no need to beat myself up about any of this stuff.

      I left out that on our first day of the trip Lucy somehow scraped the tender front area of her nose and an inch-by-inch region was bright, bloody, freaky red!!!!! She didn’t seem to be in pain, but it looked painful! I immediately called her vet in Felton and it was decided we didn’t need to take her in to someone in Tahoe unless it seemed to get worse. I kept an eye on it and put on Neosporin. But the spot took a long time to heal; it took the whole trip to go finally go away. I guess she didn’t want to be the only healthy one in our gang! :0

      You totally hit the nail on the head with all that you pointed out. I appreciate you so much. And I hope that everyone in your home feels way better SOON!

      much love & once again, thanks for taking time to write a truly helpful comment.
      Dame Dy

  10. Curse you writer’s block! lol it’s certainly not fun that’s for sure. At one point I had it bad enough that I wanted to just leave my blog and I have only been writing since October but even when I write a post that seems sub par someone will comment and it makes you realize, hey I am reaching people and my writing is not in vain. That’s the kind of thing that keeps me going. No worries Dyane! Your writer’s block will lift. I mean you managed to write this great post so if that is your work on writer’s block just wait until you get your groove back! lol you’ll have more material than you know what to do with 😀

    • dear Cavelle, thank you so much for this “shot in the arm” comment – sorry it took me a few days to get back to you, but I know you understand how that can be. I am SO glad you didn’t leave your blog, but believe me, I know that feeling because I’ve been through it with not just the book, but with my blog. I actually started this blog in 2008, but only posted a few times and left it, and didn’t return until 2013. I wish-wish wish that didn’t happen, as I had no idea that I was missing out on a wonderful community within the blogosphere. Oh well. Don’t give up your blog – like you wrote, even if you considered your post to be sub-par, you still could affect and help readers! I’m glad that comments keep you going and I promise to write more of them on your blog this year!!!! Take care and I send you a HUGE hug and congratulations on your recenting booking, by the way! 😉

    • Thanks so much for “getting it”, Dr. Scoble! (If I ever get my doctorate I will have “Dr. Harwood tattooed on my forehead – I’m very impressed with your accomplishment!) I had fun perusing your blog last night & I’m glad to be following it. Thank you for the follow as well. :))

      • Yeah, we girls with superpowers got to stick together. Thanks for reading my blog. Having a duvet day today, doctors orders.
        Ha, that reminds me, someone at uni once said in response to me complaining I didn’t have any energy to “take a mental health day”, to which I replied, “oh, I couldn’t do that otherwise I’d never come back!”
        Some days we need to re-set, that’s today for me, and thanks for adding positivity to it. 🙂

  11. You’ve written an awesome post, even with writers block! I’m jealous! You’ve had a lot of disruptions to your routine..but you are very talented and I know you will be able to get back into the flow.

    p.s. I read your latest Stigmama contribution and LOVED IT. I haven’t commented yet as things have been quite busy. But it really stuck with me. Love your work. 🙂

    • OMG – do not be jealous, you magnificent writer. And thank you SO much for what you wrote about the Stigmama post. I looked at it again today, as I want to publish it here on my blog, and of course i found mistakes…but at least I found ’em, right? I hope things are going really well in your neck of the woods, as I know you have lots going on. You will do it all – you are meant for greatness, my friend. This is just the beginning, and you are (prepare for some cheesiness) my fellow butterfly out in the milkweed!!!!!! :)))) XOXOXOX p.s. sooner than you think I’ll refer to you as DR. BUTTERFLY!

  12. Hopefully, since I’m just reading and responding, your writer’s block has gone far far away… Here are my tips — 1) be kind to yourself. It happens and it just is. You’re not a failure, not meant to be a writer, whatever all those self-defeating things you say to yourself. Writing is hard. 2) Write something everyday — 3 pages or so even if it’s just the vomit of your brain as I like to call it — get out the crazy. Then let it be. Don’t critique it. 3) Read writing books. I like The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, Writing Down the Bones, by Natalie Goldberg, anything by Anne Lamott — Bird by Bird, On Writing, by Stephen King. All of these amazing writers have dealt with blocks. It’s part of the work and it’s okay. I keep most of these books on my phone on the audible app and I’ll listen as I’m working out or driving or folding clothes. Sometimes that’s more soothing than reading and I’m hyper so I don’t have to be still. I also listen to these when I have insomnia — OFTEN.

    I’m going through this right now too. I’m trying to accept that I’m coming down from the holidays. January through March is always a hard time of year for me. My father died in March, plus it’s just cold and dreary. I need the sun. Thinking of you. Hope you’re feeling better. 🙂

    • Hello G.H.!

      Thanks for another awesome comment. The writer’s block isn’t as bad as before, although it’s still around. Yuck! Evil!

      I loved your advice. I’ve read all the books you listed. I even saw Anne Lamott speak in San Francisco one time (of course she was fantastic) and through total chance, one of my *other* favorite authors sat right in front of me: SARK! (I love her writing book “Juicy Pens, Thirsty Paper” – she has written 22 books & has over 2 million books in print)

      Anyway, what a great idea to listen to the writing books when doing chores or when having insomnia.I can relate to the comedown experience from the holidays. 😦 I can’t imagine how hard it will be for you in March regarding your father. I lost my father in January, 2009 and every January is terrible, but I know your experience is very different.

      Anyway, my dear, I’m thinking of you too, and I hope you post an update soon. I love your blog, and I need a dose of it!!!!

      (((hugs))) to you!

  13. His book sounds interesting!

    What is yours if you don’t mind saying?

    You give me hope – you have 80k + and still stuck? I am on 12K (ok I did do a little more this week) – it is sooooo harrrrrd to want to keep going on it. and waaah waah it does sound like whining when I do it too lol

    • Hi there! Thanks so much for stopping by & commenting. I don’t mind sharing about my book at all – it’s a memoir about my experience with childbirth-triggered bipolar, a.ka. postpartum bipolar disorder. (PPBD)

      You will reach your goal – I know you will. If you have 12,000 words so far, you’ll do it. I know it’s hard – believe me! 😉 We can encourage one another! And you have carte blanche to whine as much as you want whenever you comment here. I give you special permission, LOL!

  14. “I wanted to sink back into a solid writing routine to ground me and give me a sense of purpose apart from being a mother and wife.”
    This, right here? This is yet another reason why you and I are friends forever. 🙂
    My anxiety over losing my writing shifted up a notch when I was notified that I have one group of students next term…so far. They still have 8 days to tell me about whether or not I’ll have a second group of students, and I have this sinking feeling that I’ll be given that group. I’ve been talking to Bo about what we’ll do, and so far, the only realistic option that shouldn’t be too much of a financial strain is two mornings of daycare a week. It’s not much, but every minute of no-kid time will help!
    I know you and Lucy are working hard on your book, so I’ll just give you two some giant hugs, a fresh cup of coffee, and a wave of fond farewell. 🙂 xxxx

    • Wow – they are really dragging it out – 8 more days of limbo? Yikes!!!! I’m sorry that you don’t know one way or the other yet.

      You absolutely need your no-kid time!!!! I’m glad you and Bo spoke about options and that you could do 2 mornings of daycare/week.

      Right now I’m racing around the house, drinking coffee *and* green tea ((not simultaneously, LOL!)) as I get ready for chaos. I must assist 2 sleepyheads to get ready for school (a feat unto itself) & drive them there alongside the aggro parents and annoyed Silicon Valley commuters in bumper-to-bumper traffic.

      I should record the craziness of that scenario on my phone and post *THAT* on my blog – it’s ridiculous!

      Anyway, all I can say is that I adore you!! Keep me posted on what happens with your schedule!!!!! XOXOOX

      • LOL! You totally should share that routine. I think it’s bad enough to get my threesome out the door to drive on farm roads; I can’t imagine having to defend myself in the urban realm! 🙂 Love, caffeine, and smiles your way! xxx

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