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  1. #1
    Alex Hipkins
    Guest

    How to break the writer's block?

    Just wondering what some people do to ease the pain of writer's block. Lately, I had been doing well with working on my ms, but the past few days have been dreadful. I am not even fully in the revision stage of the process, but I have cut out about 10k words and found out by rereading what I have written, well, the ending would better suit as a middle.

    Back to the point, I have had a bad case of writer's block the past few days, and it seems that it only eases sporadically enough that I can get out a paragraph or two when I was able to write 2-5k words without a hassle. For me I think a lot of it has to do with some of the stuff going on in my life taking its toll on me. As well, it could just be the environment change.

    Any way that it may be, if anyone has tips on curing writers block, they would be much appreciated.



  2. #2
    Alex Hipkins
    Guest

    Re: How to break the writer's block?

    Sorry for the double post. My net has been going haywire lately.

  3. #3
    Andrew Smith
    Guest

    Re: How to break the writer's block?

    Print this out and put it on your wall. It's a quote from author Terry Pratchett:

    There's no such thing as writer's block. That was invented by people in California who couldn't write.

    Seriously, Alex, if you're in the revision process and you are getting stuck like this, my advice to you would be to put the thing away for a while, rest your brain, and come back to it in a week or more.

    In the mean time, start writing something different to get your mind off of something it sounds as though you don't want to wrap up (especially if you are now seeing the ending as the middle).

    And I'm with Terry on this. I don't think it exists.

    Relax.

  4. #4
    Marty DeLand
    Guest

    Re: How to break the writer's block?

    I feel your pain. I'm in re-write mode too. Steven Pressfield's THE WAR OF ART sits by my laptop. Whenever the fear kicks-in I crack it open.

  5. #5
    Jeanne Gassman
    Guest

    Re: How to break the writer's block?

    Alex,

    I think writer's block exists, but I think it's more common with inexperienced writers who don't recognize that not everything about the process is fun. Sometimes it's just hard, labor-intensive work.

    That said, there are a lot of things you can do to get the creative juices moving again. Some options to consider:

    --write something else
    --exercise
    --read works that inspire you
    --free writing (sometimes referred to as "morning words" in which you write for five minutes about anything that comes to mind)
    --do something else creative, including playing an instrument, gardening, cooking, painting, etc.
    --give yourself permission to write a lousy draft
    --keep or start a journal to jot down ideas but don't work on your current project for a few days/weeks
    --writer through the dead stuff and keep going forward
    --change your venue (work in a new place such as a bookstore, library, the park, or a cafe)
    --set daily word count goals, scene goals, or chapter goals and keep working until you get there, even if everything you write is crap
    --set aside a certain time every day to write

    Remember, good writing is as much perspiration as it is inspiration. I've discovered that the best approach for me is to set a daily word count and keep working to that goal, even if I hate everything I type on the page. Eventually, the junk clears from my mind and I get back in the flow. Sometimes, I discover that yesterday's crap is today's gold.

    Hope that helps and good luck. Some book you might find helpful:

    The Artist's Way, Julia Cameron
    Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott
    Breaking Down the Bones, Natalie Goldberg

    All of these books deal with creativity and writer's block.

    Jeanne

  6. #6
    Gary Kessler
    Guest

    Re: How to break the writer's block?

    I don't get writer's block--just some barricades between me and the computer from time to time.

  7. #7
    Rogue Mutt
    Guest

    Re: How to break the writer's block?

    I don't usually get writer's block so much as writer's malaise. The difference is that with writer's block you can't write while with writer's malaise I just don't feel like writing. Usually though if I am stuck on a point the best idea is to break it down into as simple of terms as possible and go back to thinking about what I was trying to accomplish in the first place.

  8. #8
    Todd Ritter
    Guest

    Re: How to break the writer's block?

    Writer's malaise. I like that. I've had that a lot.

    And I like Jeanne's suggestions. Reading to get inspired and a change of scenery has helped me in the past. Also, mindless videogames work, too. Just play something that requires no thought whatsoever and rest your weary brain.

  9. #9
    Rustin Dozeman
    Guest

    Re: How to break the writer's block?

    I think of writer's block as the inability to make a decision. How deep to go into a scene, which details are needed, etc - there's only about a thousand different options for any given situation. The comments and suggestions above are great. I didn't read all of the books on Jeanne's list, but Bird by Bird was very practical, honest, and realistic, in my opinion. Exercise or manual labor always seem to shake things loose for me too.

  10. #10
    mar quesa
    Guest

    Re: How to break the writer's block?

    Alexis,

    Writers are as individual as snowflakes. People who say that writer's block doesn't exist or that it's something that only happens to inexperienced writers say that because they have never had it- and good for them! But just because someone hasn’t suffered from something, doesn't mean it doesn't exist. I mean, some people even claim fibromyalgia and depression, are just make-believe illnesses!

    Writer's block comes in different forms. Sometimes the problem is to do with creativity and/or insecurity; and sometimes it's not writer's block at all but a “lapse in concentration”.
    Writing isn't a walk in the park. Writing is work and regardless of how experienced or talented the writer is, he can still find the process agonizing. E.B.White, for instance, would break into a sweat every time he had to face his writing. For him, writing was a painful necessity "The thought of writing hangs over our mind like an ugly cloud, making us apprehensive and depressed, as before a summer storm, so that we begin the day by subsiding after breakfast, or by going away, often to seedy and inconclusive destinations: the nearest zoo, or a branch post office to buy a few stamped envelopes. Our professional life has been a long shameless exercise in avoidance. Our home is designed for the maximum of interruption, our office is the place where never are... Yet the record is there. Not even lying down and closing the blinds stops us from writing; not even our family, and our preoccupation with same, stop us.
    He also said, </>A writer's courage can easily fail him. I feel this daily. [/I]

    Writer's block is real and it's individual. If you're indeed suffering from it, you'd have to find your own way of dealing with it. The first thing would be to assess the root of the problem. I mean, I can suggest you go jogging around the block; but while that's nice and healthy and might help you tone up and build stamina, it might not be what's going to help you regain confidence as a writer- but by all means, try it. You’ll never know...

    I have had a bad case of writer's block the past few days, and it seems that it only eases sporadically enough that I can get out a paragraph or two when I was able to write 2-5k words without a hassle. For me I think a lot of it has to do with some of the stuff going on in my life taking its toll on me. As well, it could just be the environment change
    Give yourself a break. Life happens. You’re still writing one or two paragraphs. Congratulate yourself for that. Perhaps, all you need is to resolve those personal issues; or maybe you just need someone to talk to... or you just need to find a way of separating your personal issues from your writing. However, make sure you’re not using these changes as an excuse. Sometimes when we realize that our writing isn’t as perfect as we’d like it to be, we look for a way out and try to find an excuse to stop. I’m not saying that’s your case. All I’m saying is try to work out what the real problem is, otherwise, you’ll never find a solution.
    Nobody’s perfect. Write to the best of your ability and be true to yourself.

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