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:~: Tuesday, March 20, 2007 :~:

Writers' Block

I've been sitting at the computer for an hour, staring at the blank cursor, trying to think of something to blog about today. It was a long weekend (big snowstorm on Friday, unhappy shovel accident on Saturday morning :grin:) and I find when I'm stressed, the ideas seem to be harder to come by, whether it's in blogging or in writing. Some people work well under pressure. Usually, I'm not one of them. The harder I try to force something, the harder it is to get it done.

I read on an agent's blog a while back that writers' block doesn't exist. I find that interesting. Even if it is all in our heads :lol:, to me, that's still real. It's not always that I don't want to write, it's that I don't know what to write about. I have the motivation, but not the ideas for the story...or the idea of where a story is going next so I can take it where it needs to go.

What do you guys think? Does writers' block exist? Have you experienced it? If so, how do you get past it? I usually read in a genre that isn't what I'm writing at the moment, or I deep-clean the house from top to bottom and hope the exercise shakes something loose.

5Comments:

Blogger Joan Swan said...

Hi Elisa,

I just read a great article on this subject.

Occasionally I'll be completely tapped out -- like you described, utterly blank. Like you, that happens when I'm stressed, as if turmoil and worry swell my thought pathways and keep the ideas from coming through.

But most of the time when I get stuck (like I am right now in my WIP) it's because I've written myself into a place I didn't expect and I'm not sure either where to take it next or whether this unexpected place isn't where I should have gone in the first place--sorta like a dead end in a maze.

Here's the article url. Worth a quick read.

Regain Your Creativity in One Week

11:10 AM  
Blogger Theresa said...

I'm a definate believer in writers block.

What I don't believe is that the block happens because there are no ideas left. I think they happen for a variety of reasons.

Sometimes you can just be creatively spent-- so the ideas are there, but beneath this layer of exhaustion and actually writing something feels like way to much mental work.

Other times I think fear can block us. I ran into an ugly monster of writers block that I'm positive was fear induced.

And then there is what Joan is talking about, where you write yourself into a corner and have to give your subconscious mind some time to work things out again.

1:03 PM  
Blogger Maggie said...

I think it depends on what you call writers block. Some writers would say that it doesn't exist because you can always work on something (and they class the "something" as revisions, rewriting, working on another piece entirely). But if you're talking as in you sit down at the keyboard and there's just...nothing--heck yeah, it exists (it's like I once heard my father in law say that willpower is a figment of our imaginations in reference to dieting...this from a man who has never had to use it). Writer's block could, perhaps, be thought of as a very specific form of conversion disorder (and I use the term loosely)--there's something underlying the fact that there are no words. Be it that you wrote yourself into a corner, a new character has popped up and said "hey look at me!" and you're scratching your head about "where did you come from and what do I do with you?", you're exhausted, stressed, or any other of numerous reasons.

When I'm stuck I tend to either work on something else entirely, edit and rehash, flat out reread what came before to see where I derailed my plot, clean obsessively, or just say screw it and go do something else and come back tomorrow.

8:56 PM  
Blogger Elisabeth Naughton said...

I don't think I've ever experienced "true" writer's block where there's absolutely nothing happening in my brain (knock on wood), though I don't doubt it exists. Those times I'm not able to write, it's usually one of three things. 1)I've written myself into a corner, like J mentioned, 2) I'm trying to force something that just isn't working or 3) I'm exhausted or bored with what I'm doing.

I tend to be the opposite of you though, Elisa. Reading IN my genre usually stimulates my creative juices and gets me back to writing, as does reading authors who have similar voices to my own.

8:37 AM  
Blogger Liz Kreger said...

I'm not a real believer in writer's block. I think stress is the culprit. I've tried writing when I wasn't feeling well or just didn't feel like it, and its a waste of time.

Do I consider that a writer's block ... nope. If, for any reason, the words aren't coming, I work on something else. Revisions, a different story, plot out a vague idea that I have.

1:52 PM  

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