Writing Slump: Slice of Life #sol18 17/31

There’s always that one day in the month when I go fishing for a slice, and nothing bites.

I have a list of Slice ideas for just such a day. Two pages in a document now, single-spaced. There are fourteen days of slicing left, and I have collected 29 different ideas that I haven’t used yet. It sounds like an embarrassment of writing riches, but when I look through it this morning, nothing sticks. Nothing compels me to write. Nothing feels urgent. Nothing feels even mildly interesting.

But I have to write. I’m going to write.

I try out a piece about my old dog. For Roxy, I title it. It’s a piece I’ve been wanting to write. But it’s just too hard. I can’t write about what a gentle soul she is without getting sentimental. I can’t describe the physical failings of her old age without crying. Finally I decide it’s just too early in the morning for this.  I don’t want to start my day all sniffly and swollen.

I try to add to a funny piece I’ve been working on throughout the month about procrastination. This morning’s additions feel strained, like I’m reaching. It’s not funny. It’s not fun.

But I have to write. I’m going to write.

I read a few more slices, leave a few more comments, hoping that something will click with me. A poem structure I want to try. A topic I want to explore. I read some wonderful slices, follow a few more blogs.

But nope.


Nothing needs to be written by me today.

But I have to write. I’m going to write.






44 responses to “Writing Slump: Slice of Life #sol18 17/31”

  1. persistenceandpedagogy Avatar

    Yes! These lines really struck me: “It sounds like an embarrassment of writing riches, but when I look through it this morning, nothing sticks. Nothing compels me to write. Nothing feels urgent. Nothing feels even mildly interesting.” This is my first time writing daily for a month, and I have been perplexed by the days when I have SO MUCH to say and nothing comes. It is a comfort to learn that this happens to others; it is a comfort to read what others do when they’re stuck: just write. Thank you.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I do find it very odd. In my rough draft of this piece, I nattered on for awhile trying to find a way to write about what I’m really writing about here which is the having of many ideas and thoughts for writing but just not feeling very inspired by any of it even though it’s all stuff I have felt inspired by on other days and should be inspired by. But I ended up cutting that to get to a tighter, better crafted slice. I’m still thinking about it, though! Glad to know I’m not alone!

  2. mrsday75 Avatar

    Oh, I know this feeling. the middle of the month and it feels like you’ve written everything you have to say. But you did write and this post will connect because we all have those days!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I remember from previous years that I have that mid-month slump where there are several days of blah and meh. But then I find that connection and spark again. Hoping it happens SOON!

  3. Cathy M Avatar

    You did it! You wrote. It’s funny how some days nothing just feels like it needs to be written. I keep a board of pinned posts for inspiration for these emergencies, but some days that isn’t enough. I’m intrigued by your two-page list. I wonder what nuggets are hidden within.

    We are almost there!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I keep a pinned board too–thanks for reminding me that I could always turn there for ideas as well. But as you say, some days even that isn’t enough. At least I got through today!

  4. margaretsmn Avatar

    I am a pantser writer. I have to feel it for the writing to be inspired and moving. I cannot plan for that. There are those days when you have to push through. You will write.

    1. Trina Haase Avatar
      Trina Haase

      I’m with you, Margaret and Elisabeth. I have been slicing each day before, but I need to be inspired or my writing feels so awful.

    2. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      This comment was so helpful to me, Margaret. I’m also a pantser, which I have long known about myself, but never connected that to my unwillingness to follow through on the ideas I’ve saved for later. But I bet that’s it: the idea feels a bit stale to me, already worked over, if I’ve done any thinking about it already.

  5. cvarsalona Avatar

    I am with Margaret on writing. I wait for inspiration like you Elisabeth but when it doesn’t come, I wait a little longer and start noticing more. Somedays, what I want to write does not even happen. That is why I have over 100 ideas in draft section of Blogger. But you did write and I say, “Yeah”.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I bet I have a lot of unfinished drafts too! I’d love to write a slice about that feeling when the inspiration does hit and I’m suddenly in a piece and going. I need to make some more observations about that! Glad to know I’m not the only one who waits for inspiration to strike even when I’m writing daily.

  6. carriegelson Avatar

    A list!? I never had a list. Too logical for my – “There isn’t enough time for this” style. I am always so impressed that you write such important pieces every day. It seems all the more impressive when I have allowed myself a year away. Impressive and near impossible. Keep writing. I don’t often comment lately but I still always read!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Really?? Wow. That’s even more impressive to me. I write kind of like I read–I generally have several pieces of writing going at a time, and I’ll focus on whichever one has the most energy that day. But then there’s always that day when I’ve concluded and published all the drafts in progress and haven’t gotten started on much else. Thank you for continuing to read!

  7. carwilc Avatar

    It seems like we all have days like this! I have a piece about Star getting old, and I can’t write it either. It’s too hard!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      It’s so hard! I know this will be the last March I write all my slices with Roxy snoring beside me, so I am going to try to find a way. I don’t want to make my mom cry either, though, and she gets very emotional about Roxy’s old age too!

  8. livinglife816287820 Avatar

    It is good to hear that others have a writing slump and something that previously seemed like a really good slice that you’ve jotted down, doesn’t resonate with you at all on the day! 29 ideas, I am truly in awe of your discipline and forethought, even if they aren’t compelling you right now!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      If only one of those 20 ideas sounded interesting to me today!! Or rather, tomorrow!! Because I can check off today as completed. So odd to me that ideas that should resonate simply don’t some days. I wonder what that’s all about?

  9. Maureen Ingram Avatar

    Yes, it is the mid-month slump! That’s precisely what I was musing about at the beginning of my slice today! You got through yours simply by writing – and I’m convinced that’s the antidote for all of us, just write.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I think you’re right: just sit and write. Something will happen. Even if it happens to be (in my case) a slice about not really slicing!

  10. arjeha Avatar

    Writing about nothing is still writing and sometimes produces an interesting piece as seen by your post today. I know that my drawing a blank day is coming and when it does I will find my inspiration in this post.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      There’s always that blank day for all of us, I think. It’s just part of the practice and process.

  11. glenda funk Avatar
    glenda funk

    I’m thinking “I’ve got 99 writing topics and nothing to say,” a play on a bookmark. In “Big Magic” Elizabeth Gilbert writes about seizing the moment inspiration strikes or risk losing the inspiration. That happens to me, which is why sometimes I put up a post that doesn’t feel alive at times. I do hope you’ll write the dog post and find magic in those other ideas, too.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Thanks, Glenda. I notice that I feel very inspired when I jot down the idea for the future slice, but then often when I go back to mine my ideas file, everything feels flat. I’ve never been a big believer in inspiration: I’m all about sitting in the seat and putting in the work. But there really is something to that whole inspiration thing!

  12. Karen Avatar

    I love that you wrote, even when nothing was calling your name. The strategy of trying out writing techniques of others has definitely helped me out on at least 2 days – I borrowed the photo essay for today, and yesterday I borrowed the 7 six-word stories about my day.
    I know commenting is a nice thing to leave for the writer of the post, but wow, I have learned so much as a writer by reading others’ posts.
    Best of luck to you with your slump!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I love to try out techniques I borrow from others too–that’s primarily what’s in my ideas file. Good formats and topics to borrow and steal. I also learn so much from other writers this month. Thanks for dropping by and commenting!

  13. onathought Avatar

    I have definitely been there! sometimes you just have to sit and write becausese you have to write.. and something will come out! Like this post!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Hey, it’s a slice, and there’s even some crafting going on! I feel pretty positive about that. After all, what more can you ask for on a meh kind of day? There are always a few of those in March….

  14. Suzanne Avatar

    I loved this slice about not being able to write! Kids go through it all the time and so do we adults. What I find remarkable about your slice is you wrote an entire slice, all the while not believing you had anything to write about! Next time a student feels stuck, I’m just going to tell them to write about not being able to write! Brilliant!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I always write at least once in the month about not being able to write! (Sometimes more than once in the month… as a writer, I really do have a limited number of topics to write about.) I’m always surprised by how much I enjoy reading these types of slices–the “I don’t have anything to write and I’m struggling” slices. There’s always some fascinating insight about the writing life!

  15. Elana Waugh Avatar

    I felt just like this the other day. Usually I notice something that prompts a slice or a memory. Sometimes though it doesn’t come until the last minute.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I so much prefer when I wake up and know what I want to write about for the day!

  16. bjdonaldson Avatar

    Writer’s block is only a thing if you don’t write AT ALL. Good for you for powering through and being committed.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Wise words! We just need to sit down and write.

  17. Trina Haase Avatar
    Trina Haase

    I have felt this way SO many times! You wrote about it in such a beautiful way. Bravo for writing and going, even when you felt like you didn’t have anything to write about!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Thanks, Trina. Glad to know I’m not alone! Writing every day isn’t much of a challenge compared to publishing every day–trying to craft some words into some worth holding onto and asking other people to read!

      1. Trina Haase Avatar
        Trina Haase

        You are certainly not alone. Although I always feel like I am the only writer in the world who feels this, I think that this probably the case for anyone who has ever tried to write… I think that the publishing piece – public sharing- is the most challenging for sure!

  18. Leigh Anne Eck Avatar
    Leigh Anne Eck

    Oh, I think we all feel this. I find that reading more slices from others helps me. Some times a post will spark an idea or bring back an unforgotten memory. We need to lean on each other during this time! Don’t forget my party invitation, too!

    1. Leigh Anne Eck Avatar
      Leigh Anne Eck

      Make that a “forgotten” memory.

  19. mbhmaine Avatar

    Like so many others, I can totally relate to what you’re describing so well here. Your first line is perfect –I love the idea of fishing for slices!–and the second paragraph beautifully describes what I’m feeling tonight. I, too, have a list of possible structures or ideas, but nothing is moving me right now. Sometimes if I just start writing, things will come together, but other times there’s just no spark. Kudos to you for showing up and writing! Clearly you hit a nerve with your audience!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Your comment reminds me of just how much I still don’t understand about my own writing process. The same thing happens to me: sometimes when I start writing, good things happen, but other times, it just feels flat. But we know that the good things can only happen if we keep showing up!

  20. wahooteacher Avatar

    Congratulations for hanging in there and getting words onto the page!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Thank you! I was grateful to get a slice–even if it was a slice about the difficulties of slicing!

  21. aggiekesler Avatar

    What a great piece of writing about not knowing what to write about. I’ve felt like this before, too. Despite the ideas, nothing grabs you. I think that your slice about not writing is just perfect!

  22. Caoimhe Buckley Avatar

    Yep – been there 🙂

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