Writer's Block

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  • 0BradyM0Bondfanatic70BradyM0Bondfanatic7 It was this or the priesthood.
    Posts: 28,232
    I have meant to post something here for a long time, but I give up.

    That's one hell of a paradox.
  • Posts: 128
    When I think of writers block, and how to cope with it, I tend to think of writing as comprising two different styles or types. The first type might be derived from the style of Herodotus, who put into writing what previously had been the oral tradition. His writing is noted for what might be called a rich and enchanting style as found in his The Persian Wars. Thucydides by contrast, and yet his contemporary, was more a record of personal experience. More scientific in technique, with carefully chosen episodes oriented towards a cause and effect of human experience. Hemingway would start each day staring at a blank piece of paper and perhaps spend hours searching for the right words or phrasing to express his idea. Fleming on the other hand seems to have allowed his stories to flow as if from a stream of personal experience and perhaps an oral narrative of other's experience.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache.
    Posts: 12,257
    Thank you, @Legionnaire. Very interesting insights to how great authors deal with this problem.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache.
    Posts: 12,257
  • DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache.
    edited January 2 Posts: 12,257
    This video of Roald Dahl's working methods rings very true to me as well. I'm very good at these "delaying tactics" too when I feel in the mood for writing. I can't compare myself to Roald Dahl, of course, but it's nice and reassuring to know that the literary greats faced the same problems as us mere mortals, all the same!

  • DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache.
    edited August 12 Posts: 12,257
    Stewart Lee - "On Not Writing":



    I thought that I'd include this video here as it's somewhat related to the topic at hand. It's very interesting to listen to, on making writing sound "not written"! Lee is my favourite stand-up comedian, by the way.
  • edited August 12 Posts: 940
    I once attended a Q&A with John Cleese where someone asked "I have a really, really, really bad case of writer's block, are there any tips you can give me?" Cleese replied, tongue-in-cheek, "I think you're a fraud!" and said a professional writer can't afford to have writer's block.

    There are certainly cases of prolific writers who have never experienced writer's block. Perhaps their passion or mania for writing keeps them at the computer. Speaking personally, I am a chronic procrastinator in everything, especially writing. I envision the masterpiece in my head but know it will inevitably come out much diminished on paper, so I dread the debilitating act of writing.

    I have found several ways of dealing with this. First, it helps to work to a deadline imposed by someone you don't want to let down. This gives extra motivation to get the damn thing done. And if you know you can't finish on time, ask for a short extension ahead of the deadline.

    Second: if you're a perfectionist, give yourself time to rewrite. Don't be afraid to write a sh*tty first draft, just hack it out! But make sure you've given yourself time to put the draft away for a while and then return to it. Rewriting is more fun than writing, and by returning fresh to your work you'll quickly see how it can be improved. So instead of being intimidated by the blank page, fill it up any you can. Better to have written badly than have never written at all, especially if you have time to revise. This was the method of Fleming himself, who advised against waiting for inspiration. Vomit onto the page and clean it up later!
  • Agent_99Agent_99 Enjoys a spirited ride as much as the next girl
    edited August 12 Posts: 1,563
    Revelator wrote: »
    I have found several ways of dealing with this. First, it helps to work to a deadline imposed by someone you don't want to let down.

    Oh yes! Sometimes I have to invent my own deadlines. I'm also very into rewarding myself with drinks/snacks/TV when I hit a target.

    I'm not so keen on messy first drafts; I'd rather do it slowly first time and have less editing to do later, because I loathe editing. It's like listening to a recording of your own voice.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache.
    Posts: 12,257
    Another very useful video from You Tube: Writer's Block Instant Cure

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rcKtcXbjwD4

    I think this is the only way around it and I've started writing a bit again as a result. Getting something down on the page is much better than a blank screen; you can always edit it later to better say what you want it to say.
  • mattjoesmattjoes Fidel Castrado
    Posts: 2,373
    Agent_99 wrote: »
    I'm not so keen on messy first drafts; I'd rather do it slowly first time and have less editing to do later, because I loathe editing. It's like listening to a recording of your own voice.
    I have found this to be true for writing, and in fact for creative endeavors in general. Seems the only way to fight it is to just keeping going and regularly come up with new material, to the point you stop caring about it.
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