I've been staring at my latest manuscript for a while now. Stuck on one sentence. I type, delete, type, delete. Then the pouty part of me says, "What's the point?" The writer in me knows the point is that the story is there, waiting to be written. I've tried to walk away from it, but it keeps pulling me back.
There are days when it does seem futile but then I have to stop and remember the purpose. I didn't originally start writing just to get published. Writers write because words and stories and characters rumble around inside them and eventually, we have to listen. The only way to truly listen is to pour it onto the page and hope that it makes sense to someone else besides ourselves.
Once you've opened the door to agents, contests, publishing, and recognition, it's hard to close it. But focussing on those things is a surefire way to bring you to a standstill. When you write for something or someone other than yourself, you start building a wall, brick by brick. Every brick takes away from the writer you really are; it becomes less authentic because it's for someone else.
So what do you do when you hit the wall? I think it's different for every writer. For me, I generally try some of the following: