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How long do you stay away from writing if you have writers block?

Poll closed Mar 15, 2011.
  1. Half a day

    2 vote(s)
    8.3%
  2. 1 day

    3 vote(s)
    12.5%
  3. 3 days

    5 vote(s)
    20.8%
  4. 5 days

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  5. A week

    4 vote(s)
    16.7%
  6. Other - please specify below

    10 vote(s)
    41.7%
  1. billwoodywriter
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    billwoodywriter New Member

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    How long do you stay away from writing if you have writers block?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by billwoodywriter, Mar 8, 2011.

    As above: how long do you stay away from writing if you have writers block?
     
  2. Porcupine
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    Porcupine Contributing Member

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    I'm not sure the term "writer's block" has ever applied to my situation.

    There are moments when I don't want to write fiction, but then I am usually writing a lot of non-fiction. There are times when I want to write fiction, but am not sure about how to continue the story, or I have discovered holes in my plot. In that case, I take a break from the project and either continue writing something else, or try to relax to generate new ideas. Finally, there are episodes of my life when I simply don't have time to write anything.

    Any of those phases outlined above can take from 30 minutes to three months.
     
  3. billwoodywriter
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    billwoodywriter New Member

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    Thanks for the reply - this is the biggest problem I have! Currently writing a crime novel at the moment, 60 pages in and I've hit a wall!
     
  4. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I might go for a walk but otherwise I write filler or use my story fairy (she zaps my characters to the next scene I do know), eventually it comes.
     
  5. Porcupine
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    Porcupine Contributing Member

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    Ok, well, where I generate the most ideas is, in this order:

    1. On the beach.
    2. In the shower.
    3. In bed.

    This may not help you, since everybody I know seems to generate their good ideas somewhere else. I think there are two different ways to proceed that I would recommend and have tried.

    The first is daydreaming. Lie down in the sun or wherever you are supremely comfortable, close your eyes and imagine what your hero or villain or whatever could do next. Write it down if you like it.

    The second option is more brutal. Basically, brainstorm. Just write down a plot outline starting like: "he takes the left door, it leads him to a dungeon, where he finds a chained blonde girl about to be eaten alive by alligators". Below that, start with a completely different plot outline like: "he takes the right door, and finds his boss bent over the corpse of a murdered man. He recognizes the primary suspect, to his horror. His boss looks up, and fixes him with an evil stare and says "what did you have to do with this?" "

    And you have two ideas already. Keep on writing short outlines of what might happen next, try to go in different directions with each one, and eventually, you will start to like one or two, combine elements from several, and then have an idea where to go next and what to do.

    My suggestion. :)
     
  6. Smoke
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    Smoke Contributing Member

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    I stay away until the blockage has passed.
     
  7. Silver_Dragon
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    Silver_Dragon Senior Member

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    I find it more productive to do something to get myself inspired than to simply avoid my writing. For example, I go out and read a book. Or I force myself to get back into my writing. If I just waited for inspiration to come back to me, I doubt I'd ever get anything done.
     
  8. Terry D
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    Terry D Active Member

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    I try to consider my writing as a serious pursuit, like my job, so I don't believe in writer's block anymore than I believe in get-your-butt-out-of-bed-and-go-to-work block. Some writing days are better than others, but on the days when I just don't feel like it, or when the ideas pass with all the ease of a kidney stone, I still write. I find that the routine does far more to lubricate my imagination and creativity than sitting around waiting to get in the mood.
     
  9. aimlessgun
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    aimlessgun Member

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    Voted half a day, but usually what happens is I'll distract myself more than usual with the internet while still halfheartedly attempting to work.
     
  10. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    I just switch stories - there are times when I *can't* write because I'm busy - I've been up since 7 working on 2 different projects today - but I'm not blocked or anything. :p *touch wood* But if I'm having trouble with something but I want to write, I always have a second or third project lying around and I pick that up instead. Usually abandoned since I last had writer's block. :p I never really think, "Arghh I'm so blocked I can't write at all!"
     
  11. AJSmith
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    AJSmith Senior Member

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    I'm new to this forum, but as I've perused the different threads, I've come across this way of thinking by several people. It has been a most helpful way to see things.

    I've been stuck for a couple of weeks in a rut. Not so much "writer's block", but an entire loss of faith in myself and what I'm doing. After reading posts on here, delving back into my research, and making some well thought out purchases at the book store, I started writing again last night.

    It was painful to start, but I just made myself write whatever version of the plot fell into my head. Hours later, I had to stop myself from writing so that I would not be a zombie at work today. Even then though, it took me over an hour to stop the ideas from entering my head... each time, me having to turn my light back on to write in my notebook or even use my notepad app.

    I'm tired today, but I've seen the light. Things don't come together by osmosis. You have to sit down and make it happen.
     
  12. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    I stopped writing from about 1984 to 1998 (although I did some stuff for lessons, like plays for children and things, I suppose). I also stopped drawing for about 15 years, even though I went to art college originally and art had been a big part of my life.

    It seemed like life in general intervened too much for creative activity--I was busy bringing up three kids and becoming fluent in Turkish. It was kind of a writer's block because I couldn't get it together to write even though no one was really stopping me--I could have made time if I'd put my mind to it, I guess.

    I don't recommend throwing over all hobbies etc since it ended up making me miserable--but I'm back to my old pursuits now, and the kids are tri-lingual thanks to lots of mummy time, so I don't really regret it.
     
  13. Halcyon
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    Halcyon Contributing Member Contributor

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    That's what I love about you Madhoca - when you decide to do something, you really do it! ;)
     
  14. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    That's right--nothing by halves! :p
     
  15. guamyankee
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    guamyankee Contributing Member

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    You gotta fight through that crap and keep writing.
     
  16. Sidewinder
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    Sidewinder Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you're talking about writer's block as in a creative block, the answer is no time at all. The moment when you've got no ideas and nothing to write about is the moment when you need to push yourself to keep writing something -- anything, just to add to your momentum. The only cure is to start writing garbage and hope that something good comes out of it. Failing that, at least go and talk to someone about your writing. Taking a break from it to get "re-inspired" is absolutely never going to work, in my experience. In the end you're just going to have to suck it up and write again anyway.
     
  17. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Brainstorming can work wonders sometimes. :)

    As for me, I wouldn't advise anyone to follow my example. I stayed away from writing for years once...
     
  18. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    thats the same for me. Daydreaming is my biggest source of inspiration. And especially when im in bed trying to sleep for some reason. The other times i might be on the subway listening to music that awakens my ideas for some reason.

    I believe in that too. Taking it seriously and not letting "poor inspiration" come in your way. You can always revise later. Keep on writing sort of keeps you from writers blocks, (sorry, that sounds like bad english)

    That sounds like me too. I wrote so much during my teens and then in the early 20's i quit for some reason, i cant even remember why anymore. Life got in the way and i didnt had any ideas anymore i guess. And then this spring i started anew, after something like 15 years without writing more than a diary, on my old story realizing i liked it and when i read a really good book this summer i thought "wow, i wanna try to write a novel myself too, seriously this time" and just got started and havent stopped since. I was so productive this last 6 months of last year, i wrote a first draft to three different novels, one of 42000 words, one of around 60000 and another of 85000 which im now rewriting to make it presentable. I just re-read the shortest one a few days ago after 2 months and realized it wasnt at all as bad as i thought. I just need to develop the story more thoroughly. but i will.

    Sometimes i feel too distracted by life to feel able to write of when i feel ill in some way that i have been recently, but those periods fortunately doesnt last long, usually less han a week and then im back in the saddle again. :)
     
  19. coolie96
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    coolie96 Member

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    It sometimes can take me a month or two to finally get another spark of inspiration. Often when I experience writer's block, I have a loss in ideas, and I read whatever I can until I read one word or sequence that gives me an idea. No matter how hard I try to always write something, those periods often end with a half-decent filler and a way to continue the story. It's the worst feeling to stare at a blank page with a blank mind...
     
  20. tristan.n
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    tristan.n Active Member

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    My writer's block is self-inflicted... I plan all of the scenes out and then as I'm writing, I start daydreaming about how the story would be if I changed this one little thing... Pretty soon I find myself changing so many things that I start over from scratch! lol
     

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