A Scorching Case Of Writer's Block

by | December 28, 2013 | General | 8 comments

Elizabeth Black lives on the Massachusetts coast with her husband, son, and four cats. You may find her on Facebook and on her web site.


It’s fast approaching 2014, and I haven’t been able to write
for over a month. This blog post doesn’t count. 🙂  

I’ve never had writer’s block before. Normally, when I can’t
write it’s mainly because I hadn’t thought through a plot point or
characterization. Once I solve those problems, the desire and ability to write
quickly return. This time it’s much different. 

My sales have ground to a halt, and they’ve been stagnant
for a couple of months. Two new stories I wrote haven’t sold well at all. One’s
a stand-alone short story so that may explain why since I understand readers
would rather spend the money on a novella or a novel, but it still hurts
because I worked very hard on it. The other is in a collection that hasn’t sold
as well as I had hoped. A blog tour I set up did not result in many sales, so I
did a lot of work for little return. I also have four stories of various lengths to
finish for a publisher and my lack of confidence in my own talent and my
ability to sell the damned things is killing my desire to write. It’s hard to
write when you don’t think anyone will buy your books or when you don’t like
the lack of marketing from some of your small publishers. What little I have
written lately is so bland I want to delete it and start over again.

I may be burned out.

I must do something about this problem or it will follow me
into 2014. Driving forth and attempting to write despite my lack of desire
hasn’t worked, so since it’s Christmastime I simply stopped dead in my tracks.
Writer’s block was ruining my enjoyment of the holiday season, and I wasn’t
about to let that continue since the season is so short. I did the only thing I
could do.

I stopped writing completely. Stopped marketing. All I
wanted to do was bake cookies, watch movies, listen to Christmas music, read, and
spend time with my husband who’s on vacation right now.

It’s working. The stress is way down and I don’t feel so
frantic anymore. I still have no desire to write, though, but that’s okay. It
happens. I know once 2014 kicks in I’ll be able to get back into the swing of
things. Instead of fretting over my inability to write, I’m taking a
much-needed vacation. I’m also setting goals for 2014, some of which are as

1. Finish edits for a mystery/family saga novel and find an
agent for it.

2. Finish those four erotica stories and submit them to the
publisher as quickly as possible.

3. Submit my lesbian erotic short story to the best calls I
can find and hopefully get an acceptance.

4. Aim for a short story acceptance by a pro erotica market.

5. Marketing – no more Yahoo loop chats. They don’t work for me.
Stick with radio shows, blogging, and monthly live chats. Facebook and Twitter
seem to work fine, so I’ll stick with them.

6. Finish two erotic novellas by the end of the new year. They are more than half finished now so the effort won’t be overwhelming.

That’s more than enough for 2014. In the meantime, I will
not worry about writer’s block. I’ll enjoy the holidays. I have a feeling I’ll
be back on track in January. Here’s hoping 2014 is a good year. Happy holidays,
everyone, and see you in 2014.

Elizabeth Black

Elizabeth Black's erotic fiction has been published by Cleis Press, Xcite Books, Scarlet Magazine, Circlet Press, and others. She also writes dark fiction and horror as E. A. Black. She lives in Massachusetts next to the ocean with her husband, son, and three cats. The beach calls to her and she listens.


  1. Jeremy Edwards

    I've heard from other quarters that self-/micro-published erotica sales have generally been in a slump this year. So don't take it personally, my friend!

  2. Sessha Batto

    Nothing worse than persistent writer's block! I feel like I've spent all of 2013 spinning my wheels – unable to actually finish much of anything . . . but I'm determined this trend will NOT continue into 2014. Well, at least I hope not! Best of luck beating back your block, with such well-defined goals you should be able to come back with a vengeance 😉

  3. Elizabeth Black

    I'm glad it's not only me. I'm not quite ready yet to write. Thought about it yesterday and promptly broke out in hives, LOL. I've never had anything like this happen to me before. It does not feel pleasant. I hope it passes quickly once January rolls around. In the meantime, I'm going to enjoy the vacation and holiday season. Thanks for the kind words. 🙂

  4. Julez S Morbius

    I can relate to this post as my writing dried up a few months ago and, apart from 200 word teases or 100 word flashes, I just can't seem to get going again. Whether it's down to my operation and recovery or something more I just don't know. All I do know is that at the minute I currently feel like a complete failure.

  5. Elizabeth Black

    I hear you, Julez. I hope your writer's block goes away soon, too. It's just been a bugger of a year, 2013 has, at least for me.

  6. Lisabet Sarai

    Elizabeth, my royalties are way down too. There's just so much competition, plus the persistent economic problems are killing purchasing power.

    And I agree, it's hard to motivate yourself to work really hard when there's no return.

  7. Jean Roberta

    Oh, Elizabeth. Sales can be surprising and disappointing for various reasons that have nothing to do with the quality of your writing. Don't forget that some writers who were ahead of their time were only "discovered" after their deaths. (I don't wish this on you! I'm just saying that tastes change in unpredictable ways.) I'm glad you have faith that your Muse will return. I'm sure she's not dead!

  8. Elizabeth Black

    Thanks, Jean and Lisabet. You're both helping me keep things in perspective. I'm beginning to feel the desire to write again, mainly because of the upcoming blizzard. Falling snow makes me feel creative for some reason. I'll be holed up and hopefully writing over the next few days. Lots of hot cocoa, good music, and my Muse may even visit. 🙂 Happy New Year to both of you and everyone else reading.

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