Here we go again, by Veronica Zundel

Ever feel like you're repeating yourself? Ever feel like you're repeating yourself? (yes that was deliberate..)

                                             Image by Regina at Pixabay 

 This morning I sat down and wrote a 'guest post' for More Than Writers, as one of the little team who are
available to fill in when someone else can't make their slot. I had what I thought was a good idea, and I thought I wrote it up quite well. However since I'm just an occasional contributor, I can never actually remember how to post a new contribution. So I looked up the last guest post I did, hoping for a clue - only to find it was virtually identical to the one I'd written today, just with a different lead-in... Back to Square


I've just left the therapist I've been seeing for the last three or four years, because I felt I'd said everything i had to say to her. She was good, and I've gained a lot, but I was beginning to go over the same ground. We have a follow up appointment in September to see how I'm doing, and I may resume seeing her but less often. But really, it reminds me of the ending of C S Lewis' wonderful and underrated Till We Have Faces, where the protagonist Orual suddenly realizes she has been reading her lengthy complaint to God over and over without realizing it.

Do you ever feel you're run out of things to write? Or that a scene or plot device in your new novel looks suspiciously similar to one in the last, or next to last, or even the first? I'm not really talking writer's block here - it's not that you can't write at all, it's that everything you write feels stale or well worn, or worse, you think someone else has already written it better than you can.

I've said before that writers don't really retire, but on reflection, maybe some of us should. Or at least temporarily. It's very rare that a writer can just go on and on, like P G Wodehouse, Agatha Christie or Alexander McCall Smith, and still be entertaining and eminently readable. Always remember that Jane Austen, one of our greatest novelists, wrote only six completed novels - but what a six! If early death had not intervened, might she have produced more mistresspieces, or would she just have gone downhill? There are, of course, writers who 'continue' another writer's work after that writer's death - even whole teams of writers who continue to churn out works under a deceased writer's name, but I wouldn't honestly recommend it. Better six works of genius than sixty of mediocrity and copycat style.

There are of course great spiritual writers, like the ever popular Richard Rohr, who essentially write the same book every time, and people still find him helpful. You could say the writer of the epistles of John 1-3 essentially wrote the same letter every time, but getting shorter. Some messages bear repeating because it takes us a long time to hear them properly. But most of us aren't in that league.

Maybe the best strategy is to take a complete break from writing: go on a retreat, take up a new hobby, even go on an unusual day trip. Or do the shopping in person instead of online, and see who you can meet or observe in the process. Maybe you have your own tips for re-priming the pump of creativity. If so, I'ce love to hear them!

Veronica Zundel is a freelance writer for the Christian market and a recent graduate of the PoetrySchool/Newcastle MA in Writing Poetry. She writes a column for Woman Alive magazine, Bible notes for BRF's 'New Daylight' series, and blogs at and (The Thinking Faith Project).

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