1. hughesj
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    hughesj Member

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    Complete Writers Block

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by hughesj, Sep 10, 2013.

    I know many of you will say that writers block isn't a thing and it's just me being tired or something but for the past few weeks I haven't been able to write ANYTHING and it's really annoying me.
    Ill sit down to write and write out a sentence, then backspace it because it just doesn't seem right, or I wont be able to write anything.

    I am working on a novel and have been for nearly a year now. I am completely stuck with it, I have no idea how to get to the next point in the story without deviating from the plot too much and losing the reader. I have tried writing short stories, tried writing scenes with the characters from the novel, tried writing blog posts, tried starting another novel but nothing is working, I can't finish anything. I'll write something, then go back and think 'This really isn't good enough, I could do better'.

    I am really stuck at the moment, can anyone help?
     
  2. LeighAnn
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    LeighAnn Member

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    Been there. Not fun. Everyone has a different method for getting past this, but I just write. I don't go back over it (not until much later). Don't hit backspace. Don't read it over and over and consider how it could be better. Just write. Not everything needs to be gold when it first hits the page. There will be a time when you can come back and polish it. Don't even worry about keeping the plot intact. Plot can be fixed later, just like the writing.
     
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  3. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Sounds like you are blocking your own path. Get out of the way and write. Seriously, you write a sentence and then delete it because it "doesn't seem right"? Get over it. Just leave the sentence there and write the next one. Then the next. Eventually you'll realize that either your standards were out of calibration - the sentences were fine; you just couldn't tell - or you'll have a chunk of text you can later revise.

    And you're worried about "deviating from the plot too much and losing the reader"? Deviate from the damn plot. Deviate NOW and don't stop deviating until you're past your writer's block and are writing fluently again. Your readers are smarter than you think they are; they'll follow along just fine. Just realize there is nothing sacred about your plot. If your plot is preventing you from writing, it's the wrong plot. Deviate, and cheer yourself on for deviating. Celebrate your deviating.

    It sounds to me like every time you sit down to write, you come up with reasons not to. It "doesn't seem right." You don't want to "deviate from the plot." You tell yourself your work "isn't good enough." These are all just excuses for not writing. Put them all aside. Get out of your own way. Write a few pages and don't read them over until next week - you'll probably find they're not as bad as you think, and even if they are, you'll spot what's wrong with them and will be able to revise them.

    But you won't be able to do any of that if you don't get some words down on paper.
     
  4. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Amen to that, @minstrel !!!

    To the OP, listen to those wise words my friend! Trust me, you'll probably deviate and heck, SCRAP your entire plot at least a dozen times before you even get a full manuscript that you can truly say you're only "editing" and fine-tuning the words. You wait for the right way of saying something, right way of getting things forward, the right plot, you'll simply never write. Just write it. And stop deleting everything you write. You're sabotaging yourself and you're asking why. Well, there's only one solution to this - STOP IT. Stop deleting and just write the damn thing. I know you're probably wishing for some sympathy because you're struggling - I hear you - but sympathy never got me writing. People encouraging me to please get writing did.

    Now, for a practical tip other than "just write" - find someone who believes in you. I dunno about you, but I got a writer's block too for about 4 months. It wasn't because I was deleting things - I was writing, but it was like there's a dam on my ideas and I was managing to squeeze out 1-2 sentences max over hour-long periods, or else staring at a blank page (by the by, even one sentence a day is still writing - if that's all you can manage, do that!) Anyway, I've never been one who believes in the muse or blocks etc, so I was making myself write those darn sentences one day at a time, but for the life of me I didn't know why I was so stuck, I didn't get where all my passion went.

    Then I met someone on this forum - she'll know who she is if she reads it. She offered to help me out, so I sent her my chapter one. I also told her all the negative critique I've been getting - not really negative "critique", but people actually insulting my story and characters, being told they were "stupid" and someone else was a "bitch. Run! Run for your life!" (this was written INTO my manuscript by said critic) And I'd endured regular insults like this and still managed to write something like 80k words for over a year. Then my friend on the forum read it and told me she loves it. Of course there's work to be done - she didn't sugar coat things and make me believe everything was perfect, far from it. But she loved what she saw and the potential that she saw, and she wanted more. She wanted the whole manuscript, if only I had it! She's read about 7 chapters or so since, and the only reason why she hasn't read anymore is because I'm still writing and haven't sent anything because I wanted to edit it a little first.

    But guess what? It got me through. Suddenly, my passion came rushing back. I'd stopped believing in my story and I just desperately needed SOMEBODY to believe in it when I couldn't.

    And then my ideas petered out again a couple of months later. I reached a certain scene and I was writing pages and pages but without being sure it was really meant to be there, until a different friend, also a writer, came to me and said, "Well, just skip the scene then." We talked about my book and she threw out a couple of ideas at me for what I could do, and it's helped tremendously.

    Guess what? The passion's right back where it should be and I'm still writing and, what's more, I'm EXCITED. I haven't been excited for what, 9 months?

    Anyway, moral of the story - even when you're blocked, you can still frigging write SOMETHING. No excuse not to, even if all you're writing is crap. Write the damn thing. And sometimes you just need to try a different route, or have a friend who'll help point you to an alternative that you just didn't see. But above all, find someone who loves your writing and believes in your ideas. You could not guess what a world of difference that makes on your motivation and therefore your inspiration. These people will help refine your style rather than change it and load you with self-doubt. They're absolute gems and quite indispensable.
     
  5. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    “I’ve often said that there’s no such thing as writer’s block; the problem is idea block. When I find myself frozen—whether I’m working on a brief passage or brainstorming about an entire book—it’s usually because I’m trying to shoehorn an idea into a passage or story where it has no place.” -Jeffery Deaver
     
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  6. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    We've all been there. From personal experience, the best thing is to take a break and do some soul searching. Buy some books you feel like reading, and spend time thinking about what is it that's not quite authentic, or good enough, about the story you are writing. What is the story you really want to tell? Did you end up too far away from it? What were the compromises you made that lead you too far away from it? Or are you simply bored with this story, you brought it to a point where you learned a lot in the process but don't really feel this is the one for you anymore. There's always something, and maybe a radical change of plot,perspective, character, or even the whole story is needed. Good luck!
     
  7. HarleyQ.
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    HarleyQ. Just a Little Pit Bull (female)

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    I listen to a lot of music when I'm uninspired to write/verse/sketch. I find one song that I love more than sleep or coffee, and I never stop listening to it. Inspiration/passion is needed to write, and it has to come from somewhere. Find something that inspires you and don't let it go.
     
  8. Annûniel
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    Annûniel Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've been there too. I just recently got over this myself actually. My inner critic was getting in the way of my writing and, thanks to some friends, I finally was able to gain some confidence back, but what really got me over it was putting the computer to the side and writing the first draft with a pen and paper. This may not work for you, but if you constantly delete sentences, maybe you should pick up the pen and paper so you CAN'T delete that sentence. Picking up the pen let me stop worrying about making the 'perfect' sentence when I was only working on the first draft.

    I found it worked for me, maybe it will work for you too. But if you don't want to put the computer aside, you still need to stop deleting those sentences. Minstrel said it all so I won't repeat him. :)
     
  9. EllBeEss
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    EllBeEss Contributing Member

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    The last few paragraphs of my current WIP are terrible but at least they're allowing me to move forwards. Maybe the next dozen pages or so will also be terrible but like others are saying it's better to have something filling the gaps even if you think its terrible because you can always go back and fix it.
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    thanks, jack!... deaver said it for me and you posted his sage advice for me...
     
  11. plothog
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    plothog Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    If you're desperate to get to the next plot point, have you considered that the deviation might be fine if that feels the logical way to get there, but that you might not have done enough set up earlier in the novel.
    With some set up the deviation itself might be a little shorter.
    More importantly it might feel more like a subplot that you have woven into the story, at which point you can get away with it without losing the reader.

    It's hard for me to say for sure, because I don't know the story, but that might be one way to approach the problem, if you're desperate to get to that particular point. (If that doesn't work then, as others have said, you are probably trying to get to a plot point, which your novel doesn't want.)
     
  12. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Whenever I have writers block it's probably because I'm getting too writerly. I feel the need for it to make sense, be perfect, justify my desire to write by looking, sounding, flowing good. But sometimes that's just not writing - that's the result of editing.

    Writing is sloppy.

    Sounds like you need to fuel up your passion - grab your favorite book read passages from
    it. Go on a walk in a place you've never been take a note book. Don't feel the need to write but if it arises, jot stuff down - very
    stream of conscious. Get away from your typical writer spot and try elsewhere. If you've got a camera go out and take some
    photographs and browse through them - writing isn't just about words it's about images. Sometimes seeing something in a different
    way can trigger off a flood of words.
     
  13. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    There is already a stickied thread about Writer's Block in this forum.
     
  14. hughesj
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    hughesj Member

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    Thanks guys, in the last couple days I have been able to write about 1000 words that I am sort of happy with. I'm not back in the zone yet but I'm getting there. I have decided not to write my novel because I think I will worry too much about where it is going. Thanks for all the replies :)
     

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