Once upon a time… I had the world’s longest writer’s block. As a child and teenager, I wrote a lot. So many (crappy) stories in so many notebooks. Then I paused as I got busy moving to another country and starting my career. After a little while, I started again. More seriously this time, and I wrote two novels.
I started my third and… I stalled. Not just a little bit, but I couldn’t seem to find the words to write at all. I wrote fourteen different drafts of the first chapter, and none of them worked for me. Nothing else came to me either. I was a writer without words.
Around the same time, and quite possibly related, I had a massive burnout and suffered from my first depression. I had time off my job in a UN Organisation, and once I realised I wasn’t getting better any time soon, I made the difficult decision to resign and move back to my home country. I definitely didn’t feel great.
Eventually, after many tests and meetings, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. While it didn’t fix me, knowing why I felt the way I did, helped. But I still couldn’t write. I couldn’t even read more than a few pages without needing a nap. Brain fog was a thing.
A few years in, I played the game Dragon Age, and for the first time in ages, I felt inspired. I started a fanfiction story. Then another. I didn’t finish either of them but just writing–no matter how little, felt amazing. I moved countries again, and writing fell to the wayside as I started working full-time again for the first time in ten years (I had only managed part-time up until that point since I was diagnosed). With limited energy, I could only do one thing; work or enjoy life in my spare time. I worked and did little but sleep once I was home.
Then I had a child. A little tiny tyrant who never slept. (Her sleep still isn’t good, but at least it’s better than it was.) In early 2020 I heard about Wattpad, a writing platform where writers could put their stories and hopefully find readers who liked it. Finally having the odd evening here and there free (or semi-free), I decided it was time to get back to writing. I always missed it and it has always been something I’d like to be doing professionally.
So I signed up to Wattpad.
I released my first few chapters to crickets. Then I joined a writing group on the forums (that have since been removed), and I met like-minded writers. It was probably the best thing I could ever have done. Not only did some of them read my story, but we clicked really well and we’re all still in contact on Discord where we have a server.
Since those early days in 2020, I’ve written consistently. I finished the first round of revisions on the two novels from back in the day, and I’ve written one novel and four novellas. I’m currently working on my fourth novel.
If it wasn’t for Wattpad and the group of amazing writers I met through it, I don’t know that I would have broken my writer’s block. I’m so grateful to them. They’re an amazing bunch of people.
So, how long was my writer’s block? If I ignore the random bits of fanfiction (which was rare with long times between updates), the time between finishing my second novel and when I started writing on Wattpad was… 13 years.
Yes, you read that right. I had writer’s block for 13 years. Hopefully, that’s enough to fulfil my quota for a lifetime and I will never suffer from it again!
Have you ever suffered from writer’s block? How did you get past it?