Author Topic: How you handle WRITER'S BLOCK!  (Read 4334 times)

Shaggy

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Re: How you handle WRITER'S BLOCK!
« Reply #30 on: January 13, 2009, 11:08:56 PM »
Yeah. Getting out and about can help–even if all you do is sit in your backyard or something.
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Asondreal

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Re: How you handle WRITER'S BLOCK!
« Reply #31 on: January 26, 2009, 05:39:29 PM »
Writers block is a major issue in my book right now. How I handle it is write in other areas of my book. The more interesting parts get a lot of attention but I don't give nearly enough to the in betweens, how my character gets from here to there. I will sit, listen to music just as all of you and it does help. But I find laying down and just imagining the part I am trying to write in my head. It works better.

Shaggy

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Re: How you handle WRITER'S BLOCK!
« Reply #32 on: January 27, 2009, 03:18:52 AM »
Sometimes if I'm working on two stories at once, I'll go work on the other one for a bit…but if I'm not, then I just do the above-mentioned stuff.  ;D :P 8)
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Re: How you handle WRITER'S BLOCK!
« Reply #33 on: January 27, 2009, 05:42:36 PM »
Interestingly enough I find that reading other people's comment on forums and then writing responses has helped tremendously.  Especially if it's a side topic not directly associated with what I'm writing about...

ummm... I'm not sure where I was going with that.  Maybe it'll come to me on the next post.

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Shaggy

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Re: How you handle WRITER'S BLOCK!
« Reply #34 on: January 28, 2009, 12:18:55 AM »
I know what you mean. Writing of any sort can get the thoughts flowing, I guess. Especially intelligent discussions like these.  ;D
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Re: How you handle WRITER'S BLOCK!
« Reply #35 on: January 28, 2009, 05:46:20 PM »
For me, writer's block can take a few different forms.

1) I don't have a very strong grasp on where the story is going beyond what I've written - I have no direction. I may have ideas, but I don't know for sure where my characters are headed, what is going to happen to them, how the story will develop/progress...etc.

Solution:  Give yourself permission to stop writing and think about the story. Step away (not out of the house or far from your computer...you'll want to be within walking distance when inspiration hits). I usually take a hot drink, step to a window where it is cool outside and I can be alone, and just stare outside and think about my story. When an idea for how the story should go, I explore it a bit in my head, and then run back and start jotting down notes about outlining the story. Be sure and let this note-taking run its course before you start writing...otherwise you'll miss out on a lot of ground-breaking information/ideas. Usually, after taking my notes, I wait until the next day or at least that night before I actually start writing...like letting the ideas digest a bit.

2) I'm sick of working on a certain part of a story. Maybe I've spent the last month working on getting the characters through a particularly hard part of a story (maybe chapters 5-7 are heavy and hard to write...maybe it's something else...), and I just can't trudge through it anymore. This can be particularly worse if I know about another chapter/part of the story later in the book that I'm excited about writing and I'm frustrated 'cause i'm not there yet.

Solution Give yourself permission to jump ahead. You're the writer. You don't have to go through the same chronological, beginning to end process the reader does in order to understand the characters or the story. Go ahead and write that exciting chapter! You already know how chapters 5-7 are going to end...and how the characters will be different at the end. Go ahead and write chapter 8 and enjoy it. Go back later and finish the other chapters. Important note...one or both of the following conditions must be true in order to do this:  A) You must know how your characters and story will be different after the chapters you will skip are written. B) You must be willing to re-write your chapters/story that you've already written if the future chapter you want to write will change the facts.

A note about chapter layout:   I keep a spreadsheet to help with this stuff...it lists the chapters and quick notes as I think of them. Helps with quick layouts and knowing where I'm going and how/where to change things if needed...

3) My own writing is making me think horrible, desperate things about myself! For some reason, everytime I sit down and write something, it looks like the worst piece of writing I've ever read. I must be the worst writer in the world...who am I fooling...etc., etc., blah, blah...

Solution Give yourself permission to write badly. It's okay. It took me a LONG time to finally accept the fact that what my professors and fellow writers were telling me ACTUALLY applied to me...revision and re-writes are not only key to the writing process, but probably the bulk of it. Be willing to do re-writes and revisions. Until then...in those moments of utter disgust at your own words, just get through it. Write horribly (maybe even try to be comical about it...writing the worst prose you can think of just to laugh at it and get through the facts/events), and enjoy it safe in the knowledge that you can and will go back and re-write it. Besides, sometimes what seems like horrible writing at the time will look like you were channelling Robert Jordan when you re-read it. Like fine wine and smelly cheese, sometimes the best writing gets better with age. NOTE: The goal here is just to focus on getting a first draft, skeletal framework of your story down...not to produce publication-quality work. Give yourself permission to be okay with that.

4) I feel like there is no way I'll ever be able to do what these other writers have done. How could I ever hope to do what they've done??? I might as well not write it and give up now.

Solution  Give yourself permission to take time off to read. Stop writing. Pick up some random fantasy novel, and just read. For me, at some point in my reading, I start thinking, "I can do this...yeah...I can do this! I just need to get going and be patient." Sometimes, you even get ideas for what to do - in a general sense - from what others do. Things like, "Yeah... I need to add a section of philosophical pondering for character depth and pacing..."

VERY IMPORTANT NOTE:  Do NOT...I repeat, do NOT read Robert Jordan for this problem. Robert Jordan really IS better than us. The guy was a brilliant fantasy writer and possessed more story-related patience and world/character-building ability in one little finger than most of us have in our entire body. Everytime I read Robert Jordan, his stories only reinforce my fears of writing inadequacy. It will make your problems worse. But...don't worry...while you may very well be the next Robert Jordan (although, like Michael Jordan, I don't think that will happen...the guy re-defined the genre...like Tolkien did, and yet he and Jordan are infinitely different in style), you won't know it until years after the fact.

5) Nothing really helps. I've tried all of that stuff, and nothing helps.

Solution  Find the music. This is one of the few pieces of advice I got from one of the dozens of "how to write" books that has actually stuck with me. As you write a story, find a certain piece/style of music to listen to while you write that just fits for you...for whatever reason. It may be tied to the story you're writing...it may just put you in the mood to write. For me, I listen to Enya whenever I write my novel. It just works. Also, it helps here to look at other ways to "put you in the mood." The mind/body is a creature of habit and conditioned responses. If I always listen to Enya, sit by a window, and drink hot coffee while I write, then whenever those three things are present - like Pavlov's dog - my mind settles in and the writing juices flow. Quick note:  Headphones are great here for isolating you from outside distractions.

Ultimately, I don't think there are any sure-fire cures for Writer's Block...but my theory is that Writer's Block, more often than not, is caused by our own inner conflict. We are stuck between what we feel we should do and what a part of us really wants to do. You're writing for fun...find a way to listen to the "really wants to do" part of you. If you're writing for yourself and for fun, there really is no "have to" part of your writing. Do what you want, and everything else will work itself out...for the most part.

FINAL NOTE:  I have to say this...if you haven't read Stephen King's book "On Writing"...go read it! I know, I know...I actually don't like King's writing...but his book ABOUT writing is actually wonderfully amazing. I had a well-published, literary-type Creative Writing professor that was wonderful at teaching young writers. She hates Stephen King's novels...and she has literally read over a hundred books on how to write (she has 3 degrees in writing)...and she flat-out stated that Stephen King's "On Writing" book is hands down the BEST book about how to write and the writing life that she has ever read. She recommends it to ALL of her students on day one of class.

Okay...that's enough of my long-windedness...Good Luck! Hope at least some of that helps!
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Re: How you handle WRITER'S BLOCK!
« Reply #36 on: June 05, 2009, 02:17:15 AM »
Scotch.  If I have enough of it, eventually I don't care about the block.

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Re: How you handle WRITER'S BLOCK!
« Reply #37 on: January 01, 2010, 12:30:47 PM »
I would highly suggest checking out John Brown's blog. He's got an excellent section for writers. Short of it: Writer's Block is a gift. It's like a spideysense that you're doing something wrong, so it can help you be a better writer. Check out the article on trance breakers. Maybe it will help you to push through. http://johndbrown.com/writers/the-writers-trance-the-four-trance-breakers/
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