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Thread: Writer's Block

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    Senior Member Involuntarily Committed mlouisdixon's Avatar
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    Writer's Block

    How many people here have suffered from writer's block? How many people even believe it's real?

    I've been dealing with this for some time now and I'm not sure what it really is. Something happened a few years ago and I've become overly critical of my own work. I can still write, and sometimes I think it's amazing stuff, but when I go back to revise I choke. It seems like it's all garbage. I start editing and about a half an hour later I'm stalled out completly.

    Anyone experience something like this? If so, how do you deal with it?

    My wife says to me to go ahead and just finish it. If I can't do a rewrite then to submit it as is. Hah! Easy for her to say.

    MLD

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    Senior Member Receiving Daily Medication C.W. LaSart's Avatar
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    I get writer's block whenever I try to quit smoking. I lose my focus and become muddy-so much so that I can't concentrate on anything. When my anthology is finished, I will be switching to nicotine lozenges. I refuse to kill myself with smoking just for my writing, but I refuse to give up my writing! It's a crazy process.

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    Senior Member Involuntarily Committed Nik Houser's Avatar
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    Sometimes I'll be in the thick of writing a novel it begins to look too daunting to finish. I've finished novels before, but I've also had them collapse, so when a novel is tough-going, I practically get PTSD and think "OH NO! Don't let it happen again!" I also go through general periods of my imagination feeling kind of flaccid, but continue to sit down everyday and work, none-the-less, and it passes eventually. I haven't experienced what you're referring too, though. That sounds rough. Sorry to hear it.

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    Senior Member Involuntarily Committed Nik Houser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by C.W. LaSart View Post
    I get writer's block whenever I try to quit smoking. I lose my focus and become muddy-so much so that I can't concentrate on anything. When my anthology is finished, I will be switching to nicotine lozenges. I refuse to kill myself with smoking just for my writing, but I refuse to give up my writing! It's a crazy process.
    Have you tried substituting coffee for that same chemical focus? I'm guessing yes, but thought I'd ask.

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    Senior Member Receiving Daily Medication C.W. LaSart's Avatar
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    HaHa! That would be a CONSTANT while writing. Pots and Pots of coffee. I am a stimulant addict, I guess. I may wind up on nicotine tabs for the rest of my life, but that's better than smoking!

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    Senior Member Involuntarily Committed Craig Wallwork's Avatar
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    I think it exists, but it's not a block, more a haze. Daytime television, life, babies, hackneyed water-cooler moments, radio stations with short playlists, shopping, more television, work, they all tend to throw a veil over my eyes and enshroud my brain with clogging agents. Writers' Haze is merely temporary blindness of the senses that have been dulled by banality. The quickest and easiest cure is to find something that inspired you years ago to begin writing. Perhaps it was a song, or a film, but most probably it was a book. Read a passage. Sit in the sun, the dark, whatever. I find reading a passage from one of my favourite authors ignites the flames that have been reduced to glowing embers. Or watching a film with a strong a narrative. Once I hear that voice in my head, i jump back onto the laptop.

    If that doesn't work - don't do anything. Wait, and it'll happen in its own time.

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    Senior Member 1st Electroshock Session TerryE's Avatar
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    I was working on a screenplay and hit a wall about halfway through, even though I had the darn thing outlined all the way through. One scene blocked me for 3 months. But once I finally jumped that hurdle, it moved smoothly the rest of the way.

    I hate doing rewrites, and that's probably the biggest reason I've never submitted anything before; not a very good self-editor. I also tend to think about ideas for ages before I put anything down. I know that I tend to run long in just about anything I write, but it's so hard to get rid of my words. My wonderful Words! Why do you think I put them there in the first place?

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    Yes my brothers and sisters, writer's block is a bitch, but what about those illustrious, sensational times when you sit down and it flows out of you so fast and pure and unimpeded that you never want to get up from the roller coaster till the ride's over. Man, I love that feeling! That's when I know in my soul's bones that I'm supposed to be a wordsmith. That rush, that creative almost electrical current running from my brain to my fingers to the page. Ahhhh, now I need a cigarette. (And I quit smoking years ago!)

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    Senior Member Receiving Daily Medication C.W. LaSart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Randy D. Rubin View Post
    Yes my brothers and sisters, writer's block is a bitch, but what about those illustrious, sensational times when you sit down and it flows out of you so fast and pure and unimpeded that you never want to get up from the roller coaster till the ride's over. Man, I love that feeling! That's when I know in my soul's bones that I'm supposed to be a wordsmith. That rush, that creative almost electrical current running from my brain to my fingers to the page. Ahhhh, now I need a cigarette. (And I quit smoking years ago!)
    I'll smoke one for you

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    Senior Member Inmate
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    Pre shate it, Cee Dub!

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    Senior Member Involuntarily Committed Draven Ames's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mlouisdixon View Post
    How many people here have suffered from writer's block? How many people even believe it's real?

    I've been dealing with this for some time now and I'm not sure what it really is. Something happened a few years ago and I've become overly critical of my own work. I can still write, and sometimes I think it's amazing stuff, but when I go back to revise I choke. It seems like it's all garbage. I start editing and about a half an hour later I'm stalled out completly.

    Anyone experience something like this? If so, how do you deal with it?

    My wife says to me to go ahead and just finish it. If I can't do a rewrite then to submit it as is. Hah! Easy for her to say.

    MLD
    I'd keep pushing through. Sometimes you have a lot of fat to cut at first. Join a group like Write Club. Critiques from other people can be helpful, but only after we've done a few edits ourselves. But there have been a number of successful authors who have thrown out their first couple books, moving on to the next one after learning their mistakes.

    As far as writer's block, usually a shower helps with that. By the time I am done with a shower I am completely refreshed and ready to roll.

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    Senior Member Involuntarily Committed Craig Wallwork's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Draven Ames View Post
    Join a group like Write Club.
    Are you thinking about next year, Draven? Richard will bend your ear about it at the writer's retreat, I have no doubt. It's a cool place, lots of wonderfully creative people. I got a lot out of it.

  13. #13
    Member Displaying Erratic Behaviour
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    For me, sometimes it's body and brain chemistry - I'm tired, distracted, and usually a walk, some other form of exercise, a break, reading, something to eat, will fix it. Other times it's because, for whatever reason, the story isn't working - I'm pushing a character into a place he doesn't want to go, or having him say things that don't fit his MO; I'm writing myself into a corner, into a place that doesn't make sense, and so I have to back track.

    I spend a lot of time fixing all of the above while I'm out walking. I strongly suspect I talk to myself while I'm doing it. And I also strongly suspect my neighbors think I'm crazy

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    Senior Member Involuntarily Committed Craig Wallwork's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JJ Holden View Post
    I'm writing myself into a corner
    that was actually a recommended method of writng by author Stephen Graham Jones. Always write yourself into a corner.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Craig Wallwork View Post
    that was actually a recommended method of writng by author Stephen Graham Jones. Always write yourself into a corner.
    Well, it does make you think. Nothing cranks up the 'What If' engine faster than when you're staring at a wall thinking "Now, what?"

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    Senior Member Involuntarily Committed Draven Ames's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Craig Wallwork View Post
    Are you thinking about next year, Draven? Richard will bend your ear about it at the writer's retreat, I have no doubt. It's a cool place, lots of wonderfully creative people. I got a lot out of it.
    I thought about it. Ultimately, I don't think I could commit to doing that many critiques.

  17. #17
    Junior Member Visitor onipar's Avatar
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    I don't get writer's block as much as I get "writer's laze." Simply, I get lazy. If I'd just sit down and do the work, it'd come.

    A trick I use to get writing is the creation of writing habits, or more precisely, writing rituals. My personal rituals involve getting a drink (coffee, iced coffee, beer, lemonade), checking my e-mail and social networking sites (so I'm not tempted to check while writing), and putting on some music. I used to also put on my "writing hat" (a fedora), and promise myself a cigarette when I was done with the day's work. I don't smoke anymore and the hat lost its magic.

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    Senior Member Hearing Voices ozmosis7's Avatar
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    Best remedy for writer's block is a pick axe to the head. Now if only I could discover a cure for all of those holes! Just kidding. I take tons of notes about ideas, so anytime I get stale, I switch to a fresh topic. When that doesn't work I find a place that makes good dirty martinis. Hic!

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    Quote Originally Posted by ozmosis7 View Post
    Best remedy for writer's block is a pick axe to the head. Now if only I could discover a cure for all of those holes! Just kidding. I take tons of notes about ideas, so anytime I get stale, I switch to a fresh topic. When that doesn't work I find a place that makes good dirty martinis. Hic!
    Pretty much the same here. I have a backlog of ideas on sticky notes, in voice memos on my iphone, and notes in Word. More ideas than time, right now.

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    Member Part-timer KT Wagner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mlouisdixon View Post
    How many people here have suffered from writer's block? How many people even believe it's real?
    There have been stretches of time when I was under incredible stress and I couldn't even think about writing, let alone sitting down in a chair and getting to it. I'm not sure I'd call it writers block because I didn't even try - maybe writers annihilation.

    However, I have experience with wanting to write but being unable to generate anything on the page/screen. Doubt, nerves, inability to focus, the creeping horrible feeling it is all a waste of time...all of those get in the way.

    Building support networks help a lot. I take writing classes to learn craft but also to interact with other writers. I helped organize two local writing critique groups and I regularly attend two others. Sharing the experience keeps me motivated. The inherent isolation of writing can be counter productive.

    Switching up what I am reading also helps. Gardening seems to free my mind to think. So does going to the gym or taking the dog for a long walk.

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