When I’m not Writing, I’m Cowering in Fear of Chinese Warriors

Today’s writing assignment from writing 101 could not be more perfect. They question they asked was, “What do you do when you aren’t writing?” and right now, I’m not writing.  Ok, I am writing, but not on the project I should be working on.

So far, I’ve haven’t had much trouble with my NaNo project (which is the Choose Your Story Game I plan to give you all). But it’s the middle of the week that’s in the middle of the month, and I’m in the middle of my story.

That’s too many middles.

All those middles put me in a slump. I’m stuck in the valley between two mountains; One already climbed (the beginning) and one I’m ready to just climb already and get it over with (the ending).  But I can’t obtain the thrill of climbing the second mountain because I’m stuck trudging through the valley in between.  In the middle.

I’m feeling a little burnt out with keeping up with the word count every day, and I’ve come to a place in the story where the scenes in my mind are a little hazy. The beginning scenes were clear and easy to write and I know what I want to happen at the end, but I don’t know how to GET there.

I look at my story and I’m like…

(Yes I keep a sword by my desk to destroy terrible stories. Not really.  It’s for those fools that interrupt me when I’m writing.)


It’s like having my map erased after I’ve already started the journey. Or to put in more modern terms (tell I’ve been writing a fantasy?),  it’s like having my GPS lose signal in a place I’ve never been before.

I hate it when that happens.

That feeling of being lost is so uncomfortable, irritating, and even scary. Because I don’t like feeling any of these things, I don’t want to sit myself down and look at that blank word document. It’s like looking at a “lost signal” screen.  I just keep staring at it, hoping that the signal will work and I can be on my happy way again.

But stories don’t come with GPS units. They don’t even come with old fashioned maps.  I don’t know if the next turn I take will have me falling off a cliff and into a whirlpool of  red Kool Aid.  ( Hey that’s scary…do you know how hard Kool Aid stains from that much Kool Aid would be to get out?).

I don’t even know if there is a next turn.  What if all I find is a wall the size of the Great Wall of China with Chinese warriors on top to make sure I don’t get through?  What if my story isn’t finished because I couldn’t climb that wall and knock them out?

Well, I wouldn’t have run into them if I would have had a map…

But that’s the amazing thing about stories. There is no map.  Anything can happen.

An earthquake can shake that wall down and the warriors can fall into the whirlpool of Kool Aid.  Or I could suddenly gain Mulan-powers.

Then I can continue on writing awesome scenes and witty lines of dialog.

Of course, those things won’t happen if I don’t sit down, face that blank page, and keep writing anyway.  However lost I feel, I have to keep moving or I’ll never find the way.

Eventually, I’ll make it out of the foggy middle and past the valley and I’ll finally reach the second mountain and get to write that great ending.

I bet you’re all wondering what that has to do with the question at the beginning of the post: “What do you do when you aren’t writing?”

Answer: This whole post was an answer.

When I’m not writing (but should be) I complain to you all. Aren’t you lucky?  😉

Thank you all for listening! This session has been very therapeutic.  We’ll meet again next time I need to talk-out my writing woes.


7 thoughts on “When I’m not Writing, I’m Cowering in Fear of Chinese Warriors

  1. You write with such engagement. Intelligence and humor, grace in personal speculation. And this was writing about writing–complaining about writing! Well, if this session’s work was therapeutic, please keep sharing.

    The valley you’re in brings to mind the Slough of Despair (I think I have that right) from Pilgrim’s Progress. It’s a foreboding sticking place for Christian on his way to the Celestial City. I suppose the Slough is a metaphor more about spiritual living, but it works for writing too when one is stuck in a low place with moving at all (let alone upward) an impossible-seeming challenge.

    Well, it looks as if you’re on your way out of the slough and valley. Good news!

    When writing or driving (or walking), I don’t mind getting lost a little. If being lost becomes protracted, then I begin to feel fear. But a little undirected wandering generally doesn’t seem so bad. Sometimes I discover something I never would have known in any other way.

    I say this having worked as an administrator and so relying on intense organization. So my life is certainly not all free-formed.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. It feels exactly like being in the Slough of Despair. Great metaphor! I’m stuck and moving very slowly, but I guess I should learn from Christian’s story and not give up!
      Thank you for the compliments. Your kind words have definitely encouraged me to keep writing.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Haha…It’s the part where I talk about Mulan and relate writing blocks to the Great Wall of China. “What if all I find is a wall the size of the Great Wall of China with Chinese warriors on top to make sure I don’t get through? What if my story isn’t finished because I couldn’t climb that wall and knock them out?”
    You’ll have to hang out with Mulan if you want to fight real Chinese warriors. 😀


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