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The dreaded writer's block
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nallard



Joined: 18 Apr 2006
Posts: 258
The dreaded writer's block  Reply with quote  

Scarier than the former Communist Bloc in the 1950's. What do you guys do when the words just won't come? Any tricks, superstitions, prayers, faustian dealmaking?

Personally I just get really frustrated and end up binging on snickers bars (but the mini ones so that when I eat an entire bag I can tell myself it's different than the regular sized ones). It always makes me feel terrible and pretty sick so it takes my mind off things allowing me to relax. Of course up until now I've been a journalist and had deadlines to spur me on so I'm not sure that trick will work.

Post Mon May 01, 2006 4:14 pm   View user's profile Send private message
knikkki



Joined: 13 Jun 2005
Posts: 3145
Location: Davis, CA
 Reply with quote  

I just had a White Chocolate Kit Kat. It tasted VERY good, but a. didn't help the writers block, and b. didn't help the diet.

Sometimes it's good just to write something, even if it's shitty. At least it gets you past the stuck point. At least, that's what I keep telling myself.
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Post Mon May 01, 2006 4:18 pm   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
FattyFattyPorkFace



Joined: 10 Aug 2004
Posts: 6381
Location: Michigan
 Reply with quote  

I got past it by working out what was stopping me. I know taht sounds really dumb, but I was so certain how the next part of teh book should go that I couldn't write it. So, eventually, I decided that it will go however it goes and I just started writing what felt natural, regardless of plot. It turned out exactly how I was trying to get it in the first place but without me trying to get it there.

So, like Knikkki said, just write and it will come.
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Post Mon May 01, 2006 4:57 pm   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Naked and Famous



Joined: 23 Jul 2005
Posts: 1044
Location: Redmond, WA
 Reply with quote  

That is kind of how I do it too, or I just ignore the work and don't do anything for two weeks. You probably don't want to do that though. Just write something and if it doesn't turn out how you want it, that is what delete is for. Actually, sometimes when I don't know what to write is when I come up with the best stuff.

Post Mon May 01, 2006 5:27 pm   View user's profile Send private message
Regina



Joined: 02 Mar 2005
Posts: 952
Location: Northeast U.S
 Reply with quote  

I put down the project that I'm stuck on and work on another one, whether its writing or something else. Sometimes a quick five minute aerobic activity will help, it clears the brain ....

Post Tue May 02, 2006 9:52 pm   View user's profile Send private message
Kate R



Joined: 29 Sep 2005
Posts: 463
 Reply with quote  

By giving it a name, you give it power. Writer's block does not exist, unless it's somewhere in Grenwitch Village.

Eh, whatever. Just be okay with knowing that what you'll write is crap. If you already think it will be, you might suprise yourself. I generally think of all my writing that way, and I just went back and read something that I wrote in November and was pleasantly suprised. Sure, a lot of it WAS crap, but then there ware a few sentences there that really sang.

Post Thu May 04, 2006 1:10 pm   View user's profile Send private message AIM Address
earthshoes



Joined: 17 Jun 2004
Posts: 213
Location: SW Missouri
 Reply with quote  

Three words:

Write through it.

Okay a few more:

Write through it and expect it to be crap. In fact, embrace the idea. Accept that you might have to rewrite it (probably, in fact). Let this be the time in which you stop trying to steer the plot and just let it run. (This can be hugely useful for a number of reasons). The trick is not to let the phrase "writer's block" be some kind of disease--it's simply a pause, or a lack of confidence, or boredom (staleness)--or something gone wrong with the story (see below for that last one).

If it's "boredom"--Change up where you write at or try changing tools. I have an old lap top with zip for battery power--I generally take it back to my bedroom and work when I need a change of venue. Or I go some place where I can plug it in, but everyone will leave me alone (I highly recommend Montana). Some people use pen and paper---I'm too much of a perfectionist as I'm in love with the backspace feature of the keyboard. But do whatever it takes. Change it up, but don't stop.

Another thought--if you're in the middle of a major project like a book and hit a wall, back up the last section you felt good about writing and ask yourself if you took a wrong turn after that. Sometimes (but not always) a block is your subconscious' way of telling you there's a problem. Very often--when I'm hung up, this is exactly the problem.

Best of luck
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Post Thu May 04, 2006 6:39 pm   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail AIM Address Yahoo Messenger
Kate R



Joined: 29 Sep 2005
Posts: 463
 Reply with quote  

To risk being a nosy Nancy - didn't you say you wrote a book too? I'm just so impressed with people who have that kind of vision and follow-through, and also I really enjoy your writing in the posts so wonder what you'd write a book about, or how long, etc.

Post Thu May 04, 2006 11:56 pm   View user's profile Send private message AIM Address
gailellen



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 36
Location: Portland OR
writers block  Reply with quote  

I asked a creative successful writer that very question at Wordstock this year. His response: "Ditch diggers don't get ditch diggers block." C. Moore April 2006.

In a nut shell, if you want this to be your work, you have to work at it. Just keep writing and (hopefully) the flow will flow again.

Easier said then done, but I am truly working on it.
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Post Sat Jun 17, 2006 2:45 pm   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
LostInWalmart



Joined: 26 Jun 2006
Posts: 1900
 Reply with quote  

I have a foolproof plan for getting over writer's block. What I do is I get a pen and paper and ... hey Ukraine is about to play Switzerland in the World Cup. I wonder who plays for those teams. Hmm, Ukraine isn't THE Ukraine, like I thought it was, just Ukraine. I wonder what happens if you Google "The Ukraine"? Doesn't Ukraine sound like a disparaging name? "Damn you, you...you Kraine!" wait, a minute, what was the question?

Post Mon Jun 26, 2006 12:00 pm   View user's profile Send private message
mllefifi



Joined: 28 Jan 2006
Posts: 8964
Location: Deleoware
 Reply with quote  

LostInWalmart wrote:
[...] I wonder what happens if you Google "The Ukraine"? Doesn't Ukraine sound like a disparaging name? "Damn you, you...you Kraine!" wait, a minute, what was the question?

There is more than one theory for the etymology of the word "Ukraine" (Ukraina).

The "-kraine" part is not related to our word "crane," of course, but is from Slavic "kraj," meaning "side," "edge,", or "land." The prefix "u-" means "at" or "by."

I understand that using the phrase "Little Russia" to refer to Ukraine (it was used in Russian, as in the subtitle of Tchaikovsky's 2nd Symphony) is not appreciated by Ukrainians.
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Post Mon Jun 26, 2006 12:20 pm   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website AIM Address
LostInWalmart



Joined: 26 Jun 2006
Posts: 1900
 Reply with quote  

Switzerland and Little Russia are tied 0-0 at the half.

Post Mon Jun 26, 2006 12:52 pm   View user's profile Send private message
lisa



Joined: 10 Apr 2004
Posts: 6789
 Reply with quote  

Kitkat is overrated.
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Post Mon Jun 26, 2006 7:32 pm   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
palmer



Joined: 30 Mar 2004
Posts: 1324
 Reply with quote  

One gets stuck because something is not working right.

Fix it, and it goes away.

Different problems call for different fixes.

When I get stuck, it's usually a character/story problem, most frequently because I have gone somewhere that does not work, either for the plot or the character(s).

When that happens, I blast ahead (which does not solve the problem, but can sometimes function as a cruelly inefficient and frustrating form of brainstorming), or I get out the pen and notebook and solve the problem.

Particularly useful is just writing down my thoughts, brainstorming, what-iffing. It can take many forms. I don't worry about anything but getting the ideas out there and looking at them.

One specialized form I do is having conversations with the character(s) on paper. It sounds stupid, and I hope no-one ever looks at them, but they work for me.

Self: What do you want to do now?
Character: Nothing.
S: Why not?
C: Don't feel like it.
S: What would make you feel like it?
C: A reward.
S: Like what?
C: Anything but that stupid little red head that you're making me chase.
S: But she's pretty!
C: No, she's not.
S: What would make her pretty to you?
C: Bigger bazooms.
S: Done.
C: But that's not all.
S: Name it.
C: She has to want to help me.
S: Help you?! But you're a loner.
C: Only because the other characters suck. Give me one character I can relate to.
S: With big bazooms.
C: God you're shallow.
S: But you said, you said --
C: Big bazooms and the wish to help me, specifically to...

So the guy wants the girl to suit him better and want/be able to help him achieve his story goal. So now I go to work on her...

I illustrated that really badly, but time being what it is...

Hope that helps.


Last edited by palmer on Fri Jun 30, 2006 12:35 pm; edited 1 time in total

Post Tue Jun 27, 2006 8:48 am   View user's profile Send private message
gailellen



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 36
Location: Portland OR
 Reply with quote  

That is pure brilliance! You are a rock star for sharing. I have a date with a ninja... we need to talk. Laughing
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Post Fri Jun 30, 2006 11:18 am   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
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