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Codey

Writers Block

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I know that's a nasty couple of words to any writer but with a lot going on lately I'm having trouble writing.

How do you guys handle writers block? I'm not sure what I have even is writers block. I'm having ideas but a lot of trouble carrying thru and writing. I always thought writers block was not having ideas.

Codey

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I think writers block is anytime you have trouble getting things onto paper (or computer screen, for the new fangled people out there).

I've had it several times. Often, it has been with how to end a scene and move on. I just couldn't think of a way to do it "gracefully". In those cases, I just moved onto the other scene, and left the bit in-between to be filled in later. In other words, do the bits of the story I was ready for, and work out how to link them together later. This has worked remarkably well for me, so far. I've often found that working back from the start of the next scene, a graceful transition appeared....

I don't know if this helps you or not. Everyone does things differently and what works for one doesn't work for another.

Graeme

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I know that's a nasty couple of words to any writer but with a lot going on lately I'm having trouble writing.   How do you guys handle writers block?  I'm not sure what I have even is writers block.  I'm having ideas but a lot of trouble carrying thru and writing.  I always thought writers block was not having ideas.

Writer's Block sucks. REALLY sucks.

Most commonly, it's the inability to get past a sticking point in a story and just stopping. Also relatively common (and the kind from which I suffer) is just a general malaise about the whole writing process which leads to indifference and no desire to write at all.

If you can't write, it's writer's block. It sounds like you just have no desire to actually write. It happens. Once you start obsessing about it, it becomes a viscious circle. Relax. Do something else for a week. Do anything BUT write for a little while and then try again.

Good luck

-- wbms

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I know that's a nasty couple of words to any writer but with a lot going on lately I'm having trouble writing.

Dude- you just had major surgery. That's enough to throw even a throughbred off his feed.

How do you guys handle writers block?

I write something else. If I'm having trouble with my primary project, I'll write a poem or a short story. That how the Cool Green Sea and Jeff came about plus the vast majority of my mediocre poetry. I should be embarrassed that it sits besides RusticMonks and your work but it's fun and sometimes I even turn a phrase.

I'm not sure what I have even is writers block.  I'm having ideas but a lot of trouble carrying thru and writing.  

If you THINK you've got writer's block, then you DO. It's purely psycological.

I always thought writers block was not having ideas.

It's NEVER about being out of ideas. Every writer has more ideas than he's got time for.

It is all about execution and "getting off the ball" to borrow an expression from football.

One problem that many writers have is that once they've written something very good, that becomes the yardstick by which they judge all of their work and their newer stuff doesn't seem to measure up. Everything get tossed in the trash, aborted before it has a chance.

You've got to be patient with both the process and the product.

==================

Rent a DVD. Go out with Champ. Have some fun. Don't even think about it. The muses will return in their own good time. The worse thing you can do is give yourself a self-feeding complex over it: I am blocked, therefore I am blocked.

The trick is getting outside that little box and thinking about something, anything else than the rut you are stuck in.

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The dreaded "Writer's Block" IS a serious thing, and certainly nothing to joke about - especially when you're a creative person and writing is one of the ways you expresses yourself in satisfying and fulfilling way.

It is not only not having any ideas to write about, but the ability to put those ideas into words (or poems).

It's no different then loosing one of your senses. It's a concept thats difficult for non-writers to understand, so I tell them to imagine themselves blind for a few days - often they get the idea.

Of course life altering events - like major surgery, can throw you off your game so it's not out of the norm.

Things like taking a break, starting a new project, an evening or two out with friends never hurts, but it really doesn't address the main problem.

My solution has always been to force myself to write - and sometimes that's not as easy as it sounds. Especially when staring at a blank computer screen seems about as much fun as having a finger amputated!

But I do force myself. Initially once for about 2.5 painfully long hours all I produced was total rubbish that wasn't even worth the dignity of flushing down the toilet. But after a while (at least for me) something usually clicks and I've managed to overcome the log jam.

The worst thing is sitting and thinking about it. The more you dwell on it the more intransient the problem can become.

It's a bit like climbing back on the horse that just threw you. Initially it's about as much fun as a root canal gone horribly wrong, but give it a try. And don't dispare at what you initially produce... don't immeditatly quit because it's total crap to you - you may just toggle the right switch and get things moving again.

U have LOTS of talent, don't forget that.

Jamie

Good luck

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Guest rusticmonk86

[before this is added on a thread. Before someone else hops on my words. Before someone else speaks for me, I'd like to share the unfuckingbelievably obvious: These are my words and suggestions, they come from my point of view. Everyone's different, so these may not work for you.]

Okay. This is a great subject. Everyone's said awesome things. If you think you can't write, then you probably won't. Forcing yourself might be pushing it. (I took a break from posting, by the way.)

Sometimes it's good to do other things than write--> Talk to someone else about it. Fuck someone. Hang out with friends. Do drugs. Take a walk. Do a different kind of art.

Sometimes it's good to write--> Do a writing excersize. Write for ten minutes free-flow, describe the room you're sitting in. A change of location may do alleviate it all. (Sometimes I go to Starbuck's.)

There is no "how" without, "why". So find out why you can't write first.

"I don't want to write this chapter of Angel. I've tried three times all ready and it looks like shit. I don't know where to take this story. What the hell am I goign to write about? Why the fuck did I have to write it like this. This can't live up to the last ones. How am I going to get this all to connect? Should I re-write chapter 14? Fuck . . . "

So:

a. I might be feeling lazy.

b. I'm frustrated, for sure.

c. It might be good to plan where I'm going before I start writing. (At least, for this chapter.)

d. I'm critical.

e. I'm trying to keep the same level of "liveness"

f. I'm thinking too far away.

g. One of the last chapters seems rough, or funny, or I want to add more.

So, what did I do?

A/B I hijacked the laptop, got coffee, sat in starbucks, daydreamed for a little bit. You know, relaxed.

C. thought about what happens next.

D/E/F Once I got what happens next, everything else sort of disappeared 'cause I got so excited.

G It wasn't a vital re-write. So I wrote a note.

So I got out the next chapter, started another, introduced a new charecter and got back on track. 'Course I wondered what the hell was wrong for almost a week until I figured out what to do. It doesn't work for me to just force it.

My best advice is just to take a break, relax, and then come back to figure out WHY, then how to fix it.[/i]

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When I get blocked, it's usually because I know exactly what it is that I want to write...next chapter. Or even worse, I know exactly how I want to write a scene in another story all together. I end up in some kind of mental loop - I keep coming back to the same ideas, scenes, lines, but I can never figure out where or how to work with them. I'll start thinking something like "I know I can't use THIS scene, because THIS hasn't happened yet, but I don't know how to make THAT happen because THIS wouldn't mesh with it." I end up with a lot of fully fleshed-out scenes and characters that never make it into the final product, simply because thinking about them sets up blocks.

If I'm stuck in the middle of a story, I'll try writing a poem. In fact, that's pretty much the only time I write poems. Gets me thinking in a different direction, experimenting with different phrases and images. If I'm really desperate, I'll do a few math problems or logic puzzles. Anything to get the synapses snappin'.

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Monday- bang, banging, banged my head against monitor. Ideas? Plenty. How do I execute them? Not that way. Makes my characters look like truck-stop sluts. That will not do. Alpha version to the digital crapper.

Tuesday- do something else. Uploaded new pix to my photography blog. Wrote an album review.

http://jamessavik.zoto.com/

Worked in the garden. Thought about Brian Edwards and what made him tick.

Wednesday- try again. More crap. Doesn't look right. No sir. I don't like it. Beta goes swirling down the crap trap.

Thursday- Oh my God! Sequoyah is awesome! I haven't fallen off in a hole this deep since I found Drake's board or Driver's. I was supposed to be doing something. Is Luke going to live? Is Matt going to tell him how he feels. Never mind, I'm busy.

4:00pm Ack! Chapter 19! Store run, time to call out the big guns- carton of camel filters in the hard pack, 2 X 2 liter mountian dews and LARGE bag of peanut M&Ms.

hunker down for the seige. By midnight the corner has been turned.

Friday, am- DOH! Try, try, try! Argh! I know what I want to do but jeez getting it out right ain't working.

Wretched, bloody muses! Why do you keep such strange hours! Why can't you show up during normal business hours and leave me alone in the middle of the night? %$^@*%*!

Friday, 2:30am- draft emailed to editor. Brain rotting. So high on mountian dew, nicotien and choclate that I'll be up this time tomorrow.

Woo-hoo-hoo-hoo bouncing off walls per Daffy.

I'm resolved to start earlier on Chapter 20. Yeah, right! Only if I lose the bookmark to Sequoyah's page. A Special Place my eye. That's literary crack!

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Heh, yes, Sequoyah knows how to write.

And yes, the muses don't care what time of day or night it is, or whether you should be doing something else. They whisper those ideas, and can be very quiet at times if you forget something.

A point I've seen in other threads about this: Writer's block often means there is something bothering you about a scene, some point about plot or character that has gone off-track, too far or not enough. So sometimes when a character won't shut up or won't talk, it means you need to look at how the story is going and solve that.

-----

Let's face it, sometimes you aren't in the mood. You're down or there are things in Real Life that are bugging you. (For any Brits / International folks, that just means "irritating you" in American English.)

What's the matter? Are you depressed about something, just have the blahs or maybe something specific has you down? (Rhetorical question. I'm not asking anyone to vent here. If you do want to vent, post another thread in The Closet section.)

I have noticed times when reading or writing about something only points out to me that I'm not succeeding at something bothering me, perhaps what I'm reading or writing about. That truly sucks, and not in a good way.

What do you do when things like that are piling on top of you, weighing you down, making you sad or angry? -- Let them go. Tell yourself you can't solve everything right now, this instant. Remind yourself that you're working on it, even if it's just a little bit, and that writing or reading is one way of thinking through what's giving you trouble.

Things really will get better.

Heck, try writing something just for fun, something silly or comedic or bizarre. Try doing that in person, too, every now and then. Find the humor and oddness in life and have fun with it, a good laugh. That also helps get the doom-and-gloom out of your system.

-----

Curing writer's block:

Point the first:

Write something, anything, to get yourself going. I read a comment from Ray Bradbury that there was nothing mysterious or extra talented in why he wrote so much. He said he sat at the typewriter every day and wrote whatever came to mind. Sometimes, it would be crap and get crumpled and tossed. Sometimes, it would be a poem or idea or part of a scene, random bits to save in the idea file or for current projects he was working on. Sometimes, it would be an article or letter. Then there were times it would be work on the current novel or novels, or a major new idea that would become another book.

His point was to do something to exercise your writing muscles. A writing exercise to describe something or do some dialogue can be enough. Just write something.

It's like a warm-up to give you a break and get you going on the part that's giving you trouble, like in a workout focusing on different muscles, then going back to the main task.

Point the second:

Writing is a creative process. You can't write non-stop all the time. You have to recharge your creative batteries. In extreme cases, that can mean going off and doing other things (you know, "real" work) or just doing nothing for a while.

More typically, it means doing something that will rest and recharge your creativity. Read a book to relax, without analyzing how the author wrote it. You're trying to relax, save the analyzing for later.

Listen to some new or favorite music and jam to it. Watch a movie or go see a play. Heh, if you see a play, you may help out a struggling gay actor, or a struggling straight actor.

Go outside and watch nature. If you watch the guys some, too, well, that's a bonus. Gardening, yard work, tinkering with the car or other shop-class stuff; heck, for some people, it's techie stuff like science or computers or math; cooking, painting -- do whatever hobbies will relax you and get some creative things going.

That should help give your mind a break from the rut it's in and get your creativity flowing again and ready to tackle that blank screen or paper. Now fire up your keyboards and sharpen your pencils.

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