Writer's Block

DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache.
edited June 2017 in General Discussion Posts: 12,214
don_t-be-a-slave-to-writer_s-block.jpg

Writer's Block - have you ever had it?

Do you believe it exists or is it just a feeble excuse for inability to write?

How do you try to overcome it?

I write non-fiction articles, mainly on James Bond and I have had writer's block for a while now. I have plenty of ideas but being bothered enough to get them down on paper is much more difficult than thinking them up initially.

It's usually applied to writers of fiction, but in reality any kind of writer can get it.

Let's discuss it in this worryingly blank space. :)
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Comments

  • PropertyOfALadyPropertyOfALady Colders Federation Co-Founder
    Posts: 2,812
    Oh, it's real. I've had it. I try to overcome it by writing. I know it sounds strange, but it's the only way!
  • DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache.
    Posts: 12,214
    Oh, it's real. I've had it. I try to overcome it by writing. I know it sounds strange, but it's the only way!

    Yes, a kind of literary version of "hair of the dog that bit me"! I think you're quite right. Writing your way out of your predicament, if you will.
  • Posts: 443
    I've had it. Sometimes you just have to be in the right frame of mind to write, especially when you do it for a living. Sometimes it's just hard to get motivated. The good thing is it never seems to be long-term.

    I find sometimes it's a matter of getting the right inspiration to hit to get things rolling again.
  • Posts: 6,432
    I wrote several books over the years I get creative spurts, though when I am creative I become erratic so I welcome writers block so to speak. Writing is not a necessity for me as university is a decade behind me and writing does not interest me currently.
  • barryt007barryt007 Hunting Kara Milovy with a massive elephant gun.
    Posts: 15,999
    I have tried to write several times in my younger days but I got distracted and yes,i hit that wall.

    The harder then you try,the worse it gets !!
  • edited June 2017 Posts: 6,432
    When I was writing freely I often described the process as a stream of consciousness, ideas would just appear from the slightest of things. Personally I think writing often comes from how you are perceiving the world at that time, if perceiving freely without limitation or restriction inspiration is everywhere.

    Now I am grumpy and the world irritates me, which I am fine with :))
  • DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache.
    Posts: 12,214
    I wrote several books over the years I get creative spurts, though when I am creative I become erratic so I welcome writers block so to speak. Writing is not a necessity for me as university is a decade behind me and writing does not interest me currently.

    Just out of interest which books did you write?
  • RC7RC7
    Posts: 9,566
    If I get block I go for a walk across the Common. I rarely get creative blocks, usually it's a structural thing where I need the air to do a bit of problem solving. I guess the one truism I've found is that we're all (writers) procrastinators. King's mantra of writing at least 500 words a day is a good one. Some days I might do 5000, but I always find if you do very few, or none at all, it's even harder the next day. If you can spew 500 there's usually something to think about and/or act as a catalyst for the next day.
  • Posts: 6,432
    Collection of songs and poems I had some sent to a publisher by a friend who thought they were good, though writing at that time was just expression to me nothing more I did not pursue it further. I keep meaning to type up what I regard the best of what I wrote just never got round to it.
  • MrcogginsMrcoggins Following in the footsteps of Quentin Quigley.
    Posts: 3,129
    A friend of mine sadly no longer with us used to suffer, with literary constipation as he called it.
    So to get him passed the blockage he used to paint things , I have on my desk a large lump of rock from Southern Ireland which is a very loud orange it's called the Tango Stone and today serves me very well as a paper weight.
  • stagstag In the thick of it!
    Posts: 937
    I'm 'suffering' from it now. The initial draft of my third book has stumbled to a halt. I've stopped sweating over it, the blockage will clear itself in its own time. One thing I do find helpful is to carry a small notepad and pen, that way I can jot down ideas as and when I have them.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache.
    edited June 2017 Posts: 12,214
    Collection of songs and poems I had some sent to a publisher by a friend who thought they were good, though writing at that time was just expression to me nothing more I did not pursue it further. I keep meaning to type up what I regard the best of what I wrote just never got round to it.

    Maybe this thread will serve as the spur to get you back to typing up your work. I certainly hope so.
  • Posts: 6,432
    Dragonpol wrote: »
    Collection of songs and poems I had some sent to a publisher by a friend who thought they were good, though writing at that time was just expression to me nothing more I did not pursue it further. I keep meaning to type up what I regard the best of what I wrote just never got round to it.

    Maybe this thread will serve as the spur to get you back to typing up your work. I certainly hope so.

    It may do though time is often the issue I have quite a busy life, when I do have time to myself I tend to just want to unplug. Though the seed of an idea is often a catalyst
  • 0BradyM0Bondfanatic70BradyM0Bondfanatic7 It was this or the priesthood.
    Posts: 28,232
    A degreed and published writer here, with a warring history with the dreaded writer's block. I have a very procrastinating personality, in many things. At university if I didn't feel properly motivated to work on a project that hadn't come to me yet, I would hold off. Many times I'd find myself working to the last minute on things, in cases where the idea only came when it absolutely needed to, and I pulled together what I could. Somehow it always worked out, and I graduated with a writing award for my major under my belt.

    When I write I like to work from outlines, as that way I know where I'm going and that layout and sense of direction is important to me, lest I write a hundred random pages of nonsense. Other times I'll just sit down to write anything, not to make something worth publishing, but to practice descriptive passages, characterization, dialogues, etc. I try to write something every day, and keep to that. Even when I have nothing in me to do creative fiction or I'm dry of ideas, I can turn to nonfiction writing like I have with my Bond film analyses in the past year to exercise other writing styles, or I just come on the forum and write mini-essays while talking to you wonderful people. At any stage, I am at the very least flexing some writing muscle every day, whether it's through fiction, nonfiction or something in between.

    When I am tired of writing period, I also have an artistic side and I go back to drawing and design to refresh myself. I am thankful I can do both, so that I can rest my brain after a lot of writing by exercising my art side, and vice versa when art exhausts my energies. I don't know what I'd do if I just wrote or drew, and had no other side of myself to slip into to get a break from another.
  • Agent007391Agent007391 Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, Start
    Posts: 7,314
    I was involved in a long, drawn-out, quite frankly embarrassing discussion over the existence of writer's block that ended when the instigator ignored everyone else's opinion and outright denied writer's block as a thing.

    My own position, as someone who has suffered from it frequently, is that it exists. I don't have any sure-fire way of getting through it (I've seen "just write anyway" work for others, but I'm not one that it helps), there are just moments when the block lifts and I'm capable of writing again. Sometimes I'll read something and see if that helps.
  • 0BradyM0Bondfanatic70BradyM0Bondfanatic7 It was this or the priesthood.
    Posts: 28,232
    @Agent007391, did the instigator write himself? If he was speaking from a world he didn't understand, I can understand why he thought it wasn't a thing.

    One thing that has worked for me is what you describe: reading other's work. I've found that when I spend some time reading other people's work, especially works in the genre I'm working in at the time, I feel juiced afterward to do my own story. You read a writer's book and think, "They did it, maybe I can!" and you're somehow sent back on the path, revitalized. At times, that works fine for me.

    The same thing works when I'm exhausted from art, and I look at work other people have made. After spending the time seeing the other things artists have made, I again feel drawn back to do my own thing and add to the rest.
  • PropertyOfALadyPropertyOfALady Colders Federation Co-Founder
    Posts: 2,812
    RC7 wrote: »
    If I get block I go for a walk across the Common. I rarely get creative blocks, usually it's a structural thing where I need the air to do a bit of problem solving. I guess the one truism I've found is that we're all (writers) procrastinators. King's mantra of writing at least 500 words a day is a good one. Some days I might do 5000, but I always find if you do very few, or none at all, it's even harder the next day. If you can spew 500 there's usually something to think about and/or act as a catalyst for the next day.

    Oh, which Common?
  • edited June 2017 Posts: 6,432
    Building on the shoulders of giants leads to expansion and progression of ideas, taking on board everything that proceeded us leads to that moment of creative genius. I have a framed painting in my gym that reads No matter try again, fail again and fail better

    In other words never give up
  • Agent007391Agent007391 Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, Start
    Posts: 7,314
    @Agent007391, did the instigator write himself? If he was speaking from a world he didn't understand, I can understand why he thought it wasn't a thing.

    One thing that has worked for me is what you describe: reading other's work. I've found that when I spend some time reading other people's work, especially works in the genre I'm working in at the time, I feel juiced afterward to do my own story. You read a writer's book and think, "They did it, maybe I can!" and you're somehow sent back on the path, revitalized. At times, that works fine for me.

    The same thing works when I'm exhausted from art, and I look at work other people have made. After spending the time seeing the other things artists have made, I again feel drawn back to do my own thing and add to the rest.

    Yes, the instigator is a writer, claiming that instead of "writer's block", they instead get "creative block". They also used an absurd amount of quotes from others to "prove their point" that writer's block doesn't exist.
  • 0BradyM0Bondfanatic70BradyM0Bondfanatic7 It was this or the priesthood.
    Posts: 28,232
    @Agent007391, did the instigator write himself? If he was speaking from a world he didn't understand, I can understand why he thought it wasn't a thing.

    One thing that has worked for me is what you describe: reading other's work. I've found that when I spend some time reading other people's work, especially works in the genre I'm working in at the time, I feel juiced afterward to do my own story. You read a writer's book and think, "They did it, maybe I can!" and you're somehow sent back on the path, revitalized. At times, that works fine for me.

    The same thing works when I'm exhausted from art, and I look at work other people have made. After spending the time seeing the other things artists have made, I again feel drawn back to do my own thing and add to the rest.

    Yes, the instigator is a writer, claiming that instead of "writer's block", they instead get "creative block". They also used an absurd amount of quotes from others to "prove their point" that writer's block doesn't exist.

    I love that he thinks there's a difference between writer's block or creative block. Is he degreed in bullshitting?
  • edited June 2017 Posts: 6,432
    I have a degree in English Literature despite being dyslexic though made more determined, one thing I hated amongst some people's attitudes I studied with was an elitist attitude. If people write they write and should not be judged.

    There is a difference between creative and analytical writing, I have done both and veer away from creative writing for reasons forementioned.
  • RC7 wrote: »
    King's mantra of writing at least 500 words a day is a good one.

    King, I believe, writes in the neighborhood of 2000 words per day. The man is just insanely prolific. At my best, with little else going on in life, I've managed 1000-1500 words per day regularly.

    I've found writer's block to take on three different forms for myself:

    a) Complete lack of inspiration in what to write (before beginning)
    b) Hitting a block midway and not knowing how to continue a work
    c) Being completely unsatisfied with the quality of what I'm writing no matter how many ways I try to rewrite it

    I don't think that third one technically counts as writer's block, but it should since it effectively destroys one's spirit and impedes upon further progress of the work.

    Which is the most dastardly? Hell, they all suck.
  • Agent_99Agent_99 Enjoys a spirited ride as much as the next girl
    Posts: 1,514
    I think that true writer's block is something on the level of a phobia, when just the idea of sitting down at the keyboard panics you. Thankfully, I've never had that, but I have plenty of times when I can't muster much enthusiasm or inspiration.

    My current fix is to set a timer for 20 minutes, in which I'm allowed to do nothing but write. Or stare at the screen. But that gets so boring I'm forced to think of something.

    If just one section of a work feels too difficult to tackle, I'll write the fun, enjoyable bits around it. Then I'm forced to sit down and do the hard graft section, because otherwise I'll waste all the work I've put in on the rest.
  • 0BradyM0Bondfanatic70BradyM0Bondfanatic7 It was this or the priesthood.
    Posts: 28,232
    @Agent_99, I think fear plays a definite part for some. The fear of what you create not being up to snuff, by your standards or others, the anxiety of possibly not being able to meet a deadline, a nervousness that you won't be able to follow your outlines, etc. I have for sure felt that, and often. I have moments where I feel like I'm the shittiest writer on the planet, and I have to find a way to work through that negativity to actually produce something.
  • Agent_99Agent_99 Enjoys a spirited ride as much as the next girl
    Posts: 1,514
    Pressure is a terrible thing. I owe a couple of book reviews, one of which is months late at this point. They're really hanging over me, but can I just sit down and get them done? Apparently not.

    My personal phobia is dealing with edits. If I've sent something of mine out to someone for comments, I'll put off opening the commented version for days or weeks, even if I've been specifically told "this is good, there aren't many comments".
  • RC7RC7
    Posts: 9,566
    RC7 wrote: »
    If I get block I go for a walk across the Common. I rarely get creative blocks, usually it's a structural thing where I need the air to do a bit of problem solving. I guess the one truism I've found is that we're all (writers) procrastinators. King's mantra of writing at least 500 words a day is a good one. Some days I might do 5000, but I always find if you do very few, or none at all, it's even harder the next day. If you can spew 500 there's usually something to think about and/or act as a catalyst for the next day.

    Oh, which Common?

    Generally Wimbledon and Tooting, sometimes Wandsworth. Good for the dog too.
  • Posts: 11,290
    Yes I have it sometimes.
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Christmas Jonestown
    Posts: 29,043
    I have meant to post something here for a long time, but I give up.
  • ClarkDevlinClarkDevlin Martinis, Girls and Guns
    Posts: 13,608
    I have meant to post something here for a long time, but I give up.
    :))
  • DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache.
    Posts: 12,214
    I have meant to post something here for a long time, but I give up.

    Glad you finally made it, chum. It was worth the wait! ;)
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