Writers Block versus Goals and Guilt

I’ve barely written any fiction this year, certainly compared with normal. I’ve sometimes opened my Work-In-Progress document, but found myself with nothing to write! However, I don’t put this down to writer’s block. In fact, I don’t believe in ‘the muse’ as it is often portrayed.

This is a being-a-busy-human block.

In the last 7 months, I’ve completed some wellbeing-counselling appointments, left a day-job, started a whole new day-job in a new city and a totally new field, built up my online coaching business, had blood tests around fatigue, submitted a short story and have done some DIY projects around the house. 

I am not creatively ‘blocked.’

I am just creatively exhausted. I have ideas and I have time, but the mental concentration and energy to focus on writing while I have these other commitments. Not because of a block of my muse, or an event which has ‘happened to me.’ 

I made the choice to focus on other pursuits.


I looked at my annual wordcount goal last week and began to feel a little pressure. I aim to write 100,000 new words of fiction each year, and even in the years I’ve struggled, I have a pretty good track record.

In 2014, I wrote 150,263
In 2015, 104,912.
In 2016,. 90,244
In 2017: 100,002.

We are over 7 months into 2018… and I have written 7,680.

Yup. And there are fewer than five months left of 2018.


Reflecting on Goals

So this is the time for me to pause. Do I want to shift that goal, knowing full-well that this has been a crucial year in my mental head-space… Or would I rather plan for that goal and allow myself to drop other priorities?

I am pretty confident in my ability to complete 50,000 words during NaNoWriMo in November. Every year I’ve entered, I’ve completed the 50k. And I’ve done so for 8 years. This is a possibility. However, to hit even vaguely close to 90k would require me to write 10k-ish a month outside of November.

And NaNoWriMo works because its a one-off month, and it wipes me out. I can see that this would be unrealistic, and I’d be setting myself up for failure.

So, I then dropped my aim to 75k. It feels big enough to be “worth it” but also do-able if I complete 50k in November.

But that is still 4,500 new words of fiction a month. Including December, once I am wiped out from NaNo.


It’s okay to pause.

I have two projects to work on throughout August [I’ll share one in September] which will add another 5k to the 7k. So this might be do-able. But I’m going to let myself breathe: I don’t need to make a new goal immediately. I’m working towards writing a little more in these 4 months.

And for now, that’s enough.

How are your writing goals shaping up?

2 responses to “Writers Block versus Goals and Guilt

  1. I was in a similar situation at the end of 2016 and all throughout 2017 until around December. There was just too much — health and work were particularly draining, as well as serious issues regarding family. I had to give myself the space to get away from it and learn to let go. Forcing myself to write didn’t help and just led to more frustration and bad edits. Not an easy choice to make, but not writing helped and I came out with a better sense of what I could manage while maintaining my mental well-being. ❤ good luck!

    • Thanks. I think it’s that balance -> for me, writing is a therapeutic wellbeing tool and thus, sometimes, it helps me focus in times of overwhelm. But only to some degrees 😛

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