1. CapnNogrow
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    CapnNogrow Member

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    Curing Writer's Block

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by CapnNogrow, Jan 18, 2014.

    This is my first thread on this forum. Just had to get that out there.

    I'm just kind of curious. How do you other writers cure writer's block?
    I mean, a lot of times we just sit around and write several pages, words flowing out of us like a high pressure fuel hose out of control. But the next time we open up the document and plans on writing, not a single word comes to mind. No matter how much we try, nothing happens. Some might have ideas in their head, but a large cork blocking the doorway from your brain to your fingers.
    Me, I usually just open up a fresh document and write the first thing that comes to mind. Anything really. Sometimes I've started a whole new book on that document, and when I do I usually find myself writing that original book again. No more blockage.
    That's just me though. I find the best cure for writer's block is more writing. So just sit down in front of the computer, typewriter or paper, without distractions, and just write what your brain thinks. Bring a tumbler of single malt scotch or a cup of warm soothing tea or coffee. Shut out the world and just write.

    So what's yours? What's your cure?
     
  2. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    There's a huge thread about writers block in the top of the general writing-page.
    But I would probably take some time off, do something else, read, and generally gather new influences. Plus I know that in times when I'm a little low, like now in the winter when it's always dark and cold, it affects my writing too. Usually though, a little time and new influences cure my writers block. In the end, when you've given yourself enough time, it's all about getting yourself to write again, whether you like it or not. In my case, a week is perfectly enough.
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    since I don't believe in it, I don't get it, don't have to cure it...

    try mind over matter!
     
  4. A.M.P.
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    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Supporter Contributor

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    I think most of the time writer's block is more "I don't know how to move my story along".
    Basically, you just need to go back to planning and review everything you know about your world/characters/plot and see how it would lead from A to Z.

    The only time I feel "blocked" is when I am opening a document that I worked frantically on but now I feel I lost that connection to it.
    So, I just reread it and get back into the voice and groove of the story.

    Either that or you just need some discipline to sit down and write.
    Either or.
     
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  5. Patra Felino
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    Patra Felino Active Member

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    I'm so new to writing that I hardly feel qualified to answer this (I'm on my second novelette), but there seem to be various components to the writing process. So far, I reckon I spend about:

    20% of my time planning how things will pan out in the story (1)
    30% of my time writing the first draft (2)
    30% of my time editing what I've written (3)
    20% of my time researching, e.g. yesterday I spent a while online looking at luxury flats in an expensive area of London to get a feel for my character's home and looked up some key facts about natural mineral water (4)

    Of these, I only really have to be in the mood for 1 and 2. Not doing 3 and 4 (especially 4) is really laziness rather than anything else. So there should almost always be something to do, and the less inspired you feel, the more mechanical the task you should opt for.

    Right, off for a bit of 3.
     
  6. thewordsmith
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    thewordsmith Contributing Member Contributor

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    Ah, mamma, I usually have such respect for your thoughts and ideas. In this case, however... Once upon a time, people didn't believe in schizophrenia, of ADHD, or reaching way back they didn't believe the Earth was NOT the center of the universe. (Now, of course, scientists have discovered that not only is Earth not at the center of the universe, it's not even at the center of our galaxy!

    An envious situation, never having suffered writer's block, certainly. Yes, suffer is the proper verb choice there. Sometimes mind over matter just doesn't work. If it did, people wouldn't commit suicide, would they?

    I once went through nearly three years of not being able to put together anything like a coherent sentence. Try as I might, nothing, absolutely nothing was going to kick start my asterisk into being able to write. Oh! I could write lovely letters and notes to friends and family and such but, when it came to my novels? It wasn't happening. I'd try sitting at the computer and I'd start re-reading to move into the mood of the scene or overall story. Then I'd just get hung up reading and forget all about the writing part of the equation.

    And it wasn't that I didn't know what to write. It was all there from the start, just waiting for me to put it down on the page. Three years of horrific emotional and psychological torture. Then I forgave myself for the not writing part. I started exercising. Get out of the house, away from the keyboard. With backpack filled with notebooks, pens, pencils, and a water bottle full of ice water, I began trudging out to a park by the river, behind an antique of a brick house from the 1700's. I would sit at a picnic table, open a notebook and... if I didn't write, I'd just drink some ice water to cool down and enjoy the breeze, or watching people, or squirrels, or the blossoms drifting out of the trees, or... whatever. Eventually, the tension released me and I began writing again. It felt almost manic-depressive/bi-polar the elation that came with the escape from that particular hell.

    I've always enjoyed short bouts of getting away from the keyboard, using pad and pen, changing the pace of my writing. But, this particular event, it turned out to be a long delayed mind saver.

    Now, I will say that I believe that most writers who claim to suffer writer's block are really more than likely merely just stuck in their progress. They are not sure just how to move from point C to point D on their way from point A to point Z. That is more of a creative constipation rather than true writers block, which is something most writers, if they are lucky, will never have to confront.

    PTB willing, I will never go there again. Besides, I've got too many manuscripts waiting for my attention as it is. I don't think I can afford another mental hiatus!
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2014
  7. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I know. That IS a big issue, and in my case, there's another one too. Self doubt! Nothing blocks me like doubt! Either in myself or the story. But knowing where the story is going has always helped me so far, at least there's one reason less. So I would absolutely recommend some planning for those who suffer from writers block. :)
     
  8. thewordsmith
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    thewordsmith Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think you are right on that. Not really writer's block just writer's hang up, lack of planning, or what not coming back to bite you in the asterisk.

    And, sometimes, no amount of discipline will do the trick. THAT's the real writer's block - and a totally different beast.
     
  9. A.M.P.
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    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Supporter Contributor

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    No, I mean people who use writer's block as some sort of disease.
    "I couldn't write today. I got the nastiest case of writer's block."
    which actually is just them having an idea or something they want but instead of actually sitting down and doing it, they procrastinate or tell themselves it's not good enough or they go blank the moment they see a blank page despite knowing exactly what they want to write.

    It's easier not to write and then to blame it on something other than a lack of will to get through it.
     
  10. thewordsmith
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    thewordsmith Contributing Member Contributor

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    Agh! The bane of a writer's existence, eh? Self doubt. That, if you let it, will dig your grave for you and then throw you in!
    Whenever I have a beta who raves about a particular bit of my writing, I can always find a reason to discount their opinions! Even if it is not a "first generation" connection to the person - they don't even know me! Sometimes, when all else fails, I can rationalize that it is merely their lack of intelligence that leads them to think my work is good. Talk about self doubt. But, for me, that has never been an obstacle to writing. I write because I am compelled to do so - sort of like breathing. (And that not breathing thing for three years... NOT pretty!) And, in my case, as I mentioned before, it was not a matter of lack of planning or not knowing where to go next. That was all waiting in my notes and in my head just waiting for me to take control.

    The 'demi' writer's block, however, is, as you suggested, just a matter of knowing where you want to go and then going there!" And, if your self doubt demons start getting in your way, just come on over here, we'll kick them to the curb for you!
     
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  11. thewordsmith
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    thewordsmith Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hah! Score one for A.M.P.! A 'case of writer's block'? Yeh. I think that's just a nasty case of procrastination or just not knowing where to go next. You are A+ right on that!

    Twenty-four hour block?
     
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