Writers block and taking stock ~ Outside the Margins with Susan Mac Nicol

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I’ve seen a lot of chitter chatter lately about writer’s having writer’s block or simply being unable to focus on what they’re writing. I can sympathise with this. In the past, I’ve been so gung-ho about my writing, and managed to get the words out without a problem, but in the last year- not so much. In fact, I’d go as far as to say it’s been downright scary.

I first sat down and started writing books with the intention to publish back in March 2012. I was inspired by a certain British gentleman called Benedict Cumberbatch and I desperately wanted to write a romance story featuring a character modelled on him. So I wrote my first M/F book called Cassandra by Starlight which was published in August 2012. By then, I’d feverishly written another three books and there was no end to the words that were flung off from my fingertips into the sanctity of a Word document on my laptop. During what I call my fervent writer stage, where I wrote to the exclusion of everything else, I ended up with nine full length novels and two short stories by the time July 2013 rolled around and I published my first M/M Romance. These got rolled out slowly and surely, and I patted myself on the back knowing I had a few years’ worth of material all ready to be released in stages. Most of these books had written as M/F so there was work involved in changing them to two men. Still, the book was written.

Startup Stock Photos

Then I began to write a series from scratch, with deadlines and ever evolving characters and that’s when the doubts set in. That’s when the brain freeze started and the panic began to rise as to whether I could actually do this whole writing lark. You see, I’d also grown better at the craft of writing so simply blabbering words onto a page wasn’t as easy as it had been. I wasn’t simply writing the story anymore -I was actually taking responsibility for what I wrote, to ensure that my editor’s experience grew better with every book I wrote. I was becoming an artist.

So with the plague of real life such as day jobs, family, social experiences and eating, as well as being the editor of an online LGBTQ magazine, interfering with my muse, I churned out words at a much slower rate than before. I started to panic I wouldn’t be able to meet deadlines every three months. I began to wonder what the hell was wrong with me, that I wasn’t back in the fervent writer stage, was I burning out? I wanted that dizzying, passion filled experience I’d once had to overtake me once again and when it didn’t, the neuroses grew, took shape as a black crow sitting on my shoulder, and pecked me with every insistent prod of its sharp beak.

Of course, I was burning out. You can’t write that many books in so short a time and not expect it to take a toll. I did my best, tried to meet publisher, reader and self-expectations—because a writer only earns money when they produce a book, and we come to like the feeling of generating an income from something we love—then sat back and took stock.

I’m now in a place where I have no further contractual obligations to my publisher and even better, less expectations of myself to keep up the frantic pace of the last few years. It also meant giving up my editor job at Divine which I feel saddened about, as I loved that job. This doesn’t however mean I’m stopping writing, because I’m not. I’ll still fulfil my own expectations of what I want to produce, one of them being writing the next Men of London book, the other, the story that’s needed for me and my co-collaborator, Nicholas Downs, to produce a screen play next year. I need to do what I feel I can manage, even if it means earning less income.

My husband and I moved into a beautiful English cottage in the countryside, with a river and plenty of wildlife. I love to garden so this is an escape to get my brain off writing and into the real world. That’s the cottage below. It’s a gorgeous, tranquil place and I am so grateful we have it.


Sometimes you have to sit back…..and breathe.


~Susan Mac Nicol


Title: Hard Climate -Book 8 in Men of London series
Author: Susan Mac Nicol
Publisher: Boroughs Publishing
Publication Date: 07/28/2016
Cover Artist: Chris Keeslar
Genre: Contemporary, Gay Romance


Eco-warrior Mango Manning must shake the demons of his past to win back London nightclub owner Ryan Bishop, who is suddenly facing issues of his own.


Brawny, beautiful, complicated and sexy as hell, eco-warrior Mango Manning is everything performer and London nightclub owner Ryan Bishop wants in a life-partner. But Mango has been loving and leaving Ryan for the past two years, and Ryan’s had enough. That’s why he’s moving on. Ryan’s the monogamous type—which means now he’ll be alone at the worst possible time.

Mango Manning knows he’s screwed up and has commitment issues. That’s why he’s been so on-and-off with Ryan these past two years. He’d thought he found a safe haven, a place to hide from the losses of his past, but there are other demons you just can’t escape. Like Ryan’s health. If Mango is to put things right, he must man up and discover a way back into Club Delish and the heart of its owner. Only then can they look to the future together, come what may. True happiness will slip through their fingers…unless they both grab on and hold tight.


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