Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Writerly Cravings

By DeAnna Knippling

I’m not sure where to begin with this idea I have. It’s one of those ideas that doesn’t really seem to have a beginning; one of those ideas that seems to have been hanging around for ages and ages, waiting for me to notice it. But let me tell you what the idea is.

I don’t get writer’s block; I have unsatisfied writerly cravings.

When I don’t feed the cravings, when I don’t pay attention to them, I’m restless and frustrated and I hate writing and it’s hard. I fight perfectly good ideas, because they don’t fill that craving. I abandon perfectly good books I’m reading, because I don’t want to read. I type six words and delete them, write them in different orders, and delete them again.

I do housework. Lots of it.

It’s never the same thing twice. Sometimes I need a book on writing. Recently, I read Dave Farland’s Million Dollar Outlines. There was something there I needed, although I’m not entirely sure what. Picked up a copy of Donald Westlake’s Bank Job and read it, then studied it. He has perfect comedic timing, and an amazing sense of POV. The other day, I suddenly hated everything I had to read (it’s like walking into your closet and having nothing to wear); then, yesterday, I found a copy of Sherman Alexie’s short story collection, Blasphemy, and got to:

For a half-assed Indian, Junior talked full-on spiritual. Yeah, he was a born-again Indian. At the age of twenty-five, he war-danced for the first time. Around the same day he started dealing drugs.
I’m traditional, Junior said. 

I bought it, stupidly, because it’s probably at the library, but it was what I craved, so I got it. I mean, I tried to put the book down. But it kept ending up under my arm, as though it were haunting me.

Sometimes I crave a walk out by Starsmore. I think that place is special to me because the day the last Harry Potter came out, I bought it first thing in the morning, drove up to the Starsmore Discovery Center parking lot, and read the entire thing with only the benefit of a protein shake and a bag of dill pickle-flavored potato chips to sustain me.

Sometimes only art museums will do.

Or taking a shower.

Or cooking.

Or loving.

And so on. The thing is, I was never trained to look at the process of feeding my inner creativity. Religion was just supposed to take care of everything “inner” for me; I didn’t think I was supposed to have to do anything about it, even after I stopped showing up to church. I thought books that encouraged you to do a bunch of woo-woo soul-building things to help your creativity were...just plain woo-woo.

But there it is: I’m happier following my woo-woo, stuck less often, and more adaptable, less intimidated by the new. I write out journal entries, I follow strange research threads, I ask people for recommendations. I walk labyrinths, I feel out places to meditate and ways to ask questions that I’m not sure I’ll ever understand the answers to, or where they come from. I’m reading anthropology books and post-apocalyptic books and listening to Lady Gaga and Korn. I don’t have to know why, I guess.

I just need to trust that I’ll find my way to what I need, as long as I keep looking.

About the Author: DeAnna Knippling started freelancing in May 2011 and wouldn’t be able to do it without her wonderful family and friends, especially her husband. In fact, she owes a lot to Pikes Peak Writers for helping her be a better writer, especially through the Write Brains, both in the lectures and in meeting lots of other writers.

Her reason for writing is to entertain by celebrating her family’s tradition of dry yet merry wit, and to help ease the suffering of lack of self-confidence, having suffered it many years herself. She also likes to poke around and ask difficult questions, because she hates it when people assume something must be so.

For more kicks in the writerly pants, see her blog at or her ebook How to Fail & Keep on Writing, available at Smashwords, B&N, Amazon, and OmniLit.


  1. Such a balance these cravings! Great post- resonates with my heart.

  2. I need to stop admitting this in comments, probably, but here it is: I, too, don't get writer's block. I get Writer's Blech. Like you, I still have ideas, I force myself to put words on paper's bad. Terrible. CRAP! I hate these phases and they go on and on - but the only way out is through. Right?
    On we go.
    Very cool article, again, Do you have a fab club? If not I'm starting one.


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