Writer's block versus writer's ennui

Writer's block versus writer's ennui
"Boredom" by Julie Edgley on Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

I haven’t been writing much lately. I don’t have writer’s block. I don’t. I have plenty of ideas for things to write: blog posts, plays, stories, and even a couple of books. When I make myself write I don’t stare at a blank screen or page; I write. Sure, some things I write are better than others, but the words come. I don’t have writer’s block. I have writer’s ennui.

There are a lot of things I could write, but I’m not compelled to write any of them. I like my ideas, but they do not delight me. In the parlance of high school crushes, I like them, but I don’t “like them” like them.

Yes! That’s what I am lacking: A crush! A mad crush on something I’m writing. A titillating, all-consuming writing crush!

When I get excited by an idea, truly excited, it is like being in love. I look forward to the next time I can be alone with my writing. I think about it all the time. I write lines in the margins of my meeting notes for work. I go between wanting to tell all my friends about what I’m working on and wanting to keep it it my secret for as long as possible. When I am passionate about an idea I feel energized and a bit high, like a young lover.

I felt that way last year when I was working on The October Diary. I’ve felt that way about a number of plays and stories. A blog post is not enough because the time it takes to write a blog post is fairly fleeting.

The problem is I haven’t felt that thrill since The October Diary. Since then I’ve had a few blogs posts I particularly liked. I had a book idea for which I wrote a few pages in a journal then stopped. I’ve thought about play ideas that I didn’t even bother to write down.


To change metaphors, writing has recently been like exercise. I struggle to get myself to do it. Once I finish I’m glad I did it but not so much that it isn’t hard to get myself to do it more.

I miss the exhilaration of working on an idea I really love rather than one I merely like. I want the rush of creating something I can’t wait to share. I want to find joy in writing again. I just don’t know how.

Writer’s block sucks, but writer’s ennui is not much better.


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Tags: Writing

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