When the Words Won’t Sling

I'm delighted to welcome Lois Winston, author of the critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries, to SlingWords.

The series, Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries, is published by Midnight Ink. Today's your lucky day because you can pick up a copy of the first book in this series, Assault with a Deadly Glue Gun, free on Amazon.

Assault with a Deadly Glue Gun received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist when it was published last year. The book and its sleuth, Anastasia Pollack, are delightful.

Now, Death by Killer Mop Doll, the second book in the series, is available.

You can read an excerpt at Lois's website. Anastasia even has her own blog: Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers. Follow Lois and Anastasia on Twitter @anasleuth.

Now, here's Lois Winston.

When the Words Won’t Sling
by Lois Winston

I love the title of Joan’s blog: SlingWords. That’s because it’s what we writers do; we sling words. And if we’re lucky, they land in an interesting assemblage of plot and character development that will intrigue readers and leave them clamoring for more of our word slinging.

But what do you do when you’re suffering from the literary equivalent of a bad day on the mound? You’re all set to sling a fast ball that should nip the corner of the strike zone and send the batter swinging at air when you wind up tossing a lob that he hits out of the park. In other words, you’ve got writer’s block.

Some people insist that there’s no such thing as writer’s block. Try telling that to someone who spent the last three hours staring at a blank computer screen. There are many reasons why the words don’t always come, but for me, often it’s because I’m just too tired to write. When I’m tired, my brain shuts down. But write I must because I’m on deadline, and if I don’t write, I don’t meet those deadlines.


When this happens, I’ve learned to listen to my body. I give myself permission to take a few hours off to rejuvenate. I’ll take a walk. Or watch a movie I’ve been meaning to see. Or curl up with a book by a favorite author. Whatever I decide to do, I give myself permission not to feel guilty about doing it.

And that’s key.

Most writers can’t afford to quit their day jobs. We juggle our schedules to accommodate work, writing, and family responsibilities. So when we have our writing time, we feel compelled to write and feel guilty when we don’t. We’re wasting precious writing time. What we forget, though, is that we’re not perpetual motion machines. Writers, like everyone else, need down time. Time to relax. To play. To do nothing but daydream.

I’ve found that when I give myself permission not to write, I can then get back to my writing with fresh energy and a brain no longer blocked.

What about you? Are there things you do to counteract writer’s block?

Free Books & More Giveaway

Post a comment, and you could win one of 5 signed copies of Death by Killer Mop Doll that I’m giving away as part of my blog tour this month.

The full tour schedule can be found at my website and at the Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers blog. I’m also giving away 3 copies on Goodreads.

For anyone attending The American Library Association’s Mid-Winter conference January 20-24 in Dallas, Midnight Ink will be raffling off the hand-crafted mop doll shown here during the opening reception Friday evening. Register for the drawing at the Midnight Ink booth #1459.

Takeaway Truth

Thank you, Lois Winston, for visiting SlingWords, and good luck with your latest Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery.


  1. Hi Lois,

    Love Anastasia! When I get a case of the can't write, I switch to another manuscript that I'm working on just for me-one that I know will never see the light of day. That helps me because I don't write with any rules or publication in mind and for some reason, that frees me up to write again.

  2. I really enjoyed your Slingwords article --- good luck with your new Anastasia book (I adore the charaters in the books)! Looking forward to this series continuing!


  3. Giving myself permission not to write is something that I must do more often this year.


  4. Writers aren't the only ones who sometimes need to walk away for a bit from a task or job. It's amazing how that time away can really put things into perspective and give you a little burst of energy. It doesn't always work, but most of the time it does. Good luck with the new book!

  5. Thanks, Jane. And you're so right. Stepping away for a time out works wonders, no matter what the task.

  6. Solutions always come to me on a long drive...

  7. Thank you everyone who visited and commented. I'd love to have personally interacted yesterday, but I cut my finger (the one on my injured hand) so I again spent time in the ER. That hand is still a bit clumsy which explains the recent injury. Bottom line? I shouldn't slice vegetables yet.

    Lesson learned.

    I typed this with my left hand only. How challenging and exhausting. I'm not supposed to use my right at all for 2 days lest it start bleeding again.

    Lousy way to start new year--especially for a writer.

    Keep slinging those words! Somehow I will too--in 2 days.

  8. Jenny, is that when you're driving or as a passenger? When I start thinking about my WIP while driving, I usually wind up somewhere other than where I had intended to go!

    Joan, so sorry to hear about your finger. Hope it heals soon, along with the rest of the hand. Thanks for having me as your guest yesterday.