Writer’s Block vs. Lack of Motivation

I never used to believe in writer’s block. I always seem to have so many story ideas it feels like I’ll never get a chance to write them all unless I clone myself (I still don’t have that technology, sorry). Writer’s block always seemed like an excuse, or like maybe the story or the project just wasn’t meant to be.

Even though I wouldn’t say I’ve had writer’s block, I have had swings of energy and motivation. When I’m in the grove, things go swimmingly and words just pour out of my fingertips. When I’m not feeling it… well, to use a cliche, it’s like pulling teeth. Nothing wants to come out, and what does manage to make it to the page just looks gross.

Recently, I’ve been in a bit of a rut, and I’m trying to find my way out. I was very excited about my current story when I started it. However, I took almost seven weeks away from writing while I was polishing another manuscript for submission. Unfortunately, that time away seems to have interrupted my grove. Now, I look back at my current work in progress and can only see four options to move forward.

  1. Attempt to pick up where I left off, even though I don’t really remember where I was (mentally).
  2. Reread what I wrote before I stopped, then move forward from there (trying to ignore any changes, alterations, or things that need to be fixed).
  3. Reread what I wrote before I stopped, and take the time now to edit this portion of the book (so I don’t dislike it as much).
  4. Start over, tossing out thirteen chapters (close to half the book).

I’ve tried the first one, and the words just aren’t flowing. The last one seems like the nuclear option. So the real question is, do I reread my WIP and attempt to see through all the stuff that needs to be fixed, or take the time to polish it and make it better?

This question has been bugging me for weeks, stopping me from making any real progress, and it leads me to wonder. Is this what writer’s block is? or is this just another lull in motivation that I’ll be able to yank myself out of given a big enough push?

I’m banking on the latter. I don’t believe in writer’s block. I believe in working hard and pushing through. I just need to kick myself in the pants and get back on track.

Here I go.