June 10, 2015


By Julia Robb

I’m sitting on my neighbor’s porch, racking my brains for something to write.

I’m on my fourth novel–five if you include the one I burned–stuck at 30,000 words.

Last week I wrote maybe 200 words, 500 the week before.

I’ve read everything I can find about the DREADED writing block (I see it as a black, winged monster with long claws and it’s coming to get me).

I’m on my neighbor’s porch because it’s so pleasant, one of those wraparound the house, roofed porches, with an overhead fan, rocking chairs and a swing.

If I treat myself to a luxurious location, maybe I can write.

And it works.

I’ve now written 1,500 words.

Of course, I also suspect the plot has swung way off course, like a yacht launched for England but wrecked off the coast of Senegal.

Here’s how I see these problems.

Writer’s block begins with understanding the next sentence, paragraph, chapter, and in fact, the entire novel, could not possibly approach anything in The Great Gatsby; or even The Princess Bride, by William Goldman.

And refusing to accept it.

If I believed I could write one sentence as good as Goldman’s, “Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. 

You killed my father. Prepare to die,” which will eternally live in readers’ hearts, I could pound away at the keyboard.

I don’t believe that.

Secondly, okay, this novel has veered off course, but but but, I CAN’T erase 10,000 words, it’s too much work, she whined.

And if I did erase those chapters, what would I replace them with?

This is so sad.

Writers endlessly complain it’s agony to write, all of which sounds like entitled crap, and, as it turns out, every word is true.

How in the hell can I show, not tell, that the general is in love with Asha, his Cheyenne prisoner?

And should he be?

Is this as good as Wesley falling in love with The Princess Bride?

I don’t know. Probably not.

Do you have a writing book to recommend?

Do you think I can write tomorrow?

How about the next day?
Julia Robb is a former journalist who now lives in Marshall, Texas with Zoe the dog and Lamb the cat, and writes novels. She has published “Scalp Mountain,” “Saint of the Burning Heart” and “Del Norte,” and all of them can be found at Her social media links are website, blog (on website),
facebook, author: Julia Robb, pinterest, and twitter,


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