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6,356 Views 11 Replies Last post: Jan 4, 2010 5:16 PM by FlyingTreeStudios RSS
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Dec 29, 2009
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Dec 29, 2009 6:59 PM

what do you do when you get writer's block???

i have writers block and would love to finish my book. im only on chapter 3. what do i do?
Level 1 104 posts since
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1. Dec 29, 2009 8:10 PM in response to: toshilou
Re: what do you do when you get writer's block???

I usually go online and look at my bank balance...then compare it to the stack of bills in the "to be paid" box. Nine times out of ten, I will rediscover my muse, lol.

 

Seriously, I don't believe in "writer's block" as such, but I do believe that I can be temporarily uninspired and/or lazy. I've found that forcing myself to write anyway, even it's it five pages of pure crap, will eventually prime the pump on my inspiration and get me back on track.

 

When I'm not willing to write the five pages of crap...then I have to admit that I'm just being lazy.

 

-Perry

 

Perry P. Perkins

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2. Dec 30, 2009 1:51 AM in response to: toshilou
Re: what do you do when you get writer's block???
work on a different part of the book. I write in scenes then only when all is complete do I put it into chapters. So why not write the very end of the book then how about the middle?
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3. Dec 30, 2009 3:09 AM in response to: toshilou
Re: what do you do when you get writer's block???
Of course there are many ways to beat this block. You can go for a walk, read a book or see a film in the same genre, re-read what you have written or get someone else to read your work and ask them what they think happens next. What we are all trying to create is what Stanislavski called the 'given circumstances' and others have called the 'magic if'. What if this happened, what would X do? One trick is to suddenly throw an event into the story and write about it's effect (this may or may not work). However I always have several parts that I can work on i.e. character X's scene later in the book or Y's scene. If you adopt this episodic approach you may be less likely to be blocked. HOWEVER these are only my suggestions, you may find that a bottle of Tequila works for you.
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4. Dec 30, 2009 6:36 AM in response to: toshilou
Re: what do you do when you get writer's block???

I've read a dozen or so psychology books on creativity--some general, some unique to particular art forms, etc. Yes, it feels real, but I don't believe in writer's block.  Why don't we hear about musician's block, dancer's block, actor's block?

 

I studied briefly with Jean-Pierre Rampal.  His advice was to practice every day, but the bad days--the days you just don't feel like or just can't--were the most important days to practice.

 

Jerry Ulesman, the photographer, was interviewed many years ago.  He was asked what his daily schedule was.  It went something like this:

Ulseman: I get up and have coffee by 6:30. I make breakfast do . . . . , and I'm in the darkroom by 8:15.  I do this . . . . then I take a break fro lunch at 11:45.  I back in printing by noon, and work until 3:00, hen I clean up, so I am done by 3:30, when my favorite soaps are on.

Interviewer: That's surprising.  I would have thought that the master of the surreal world have had a looser schedule.

Ulseman: It has taken me 20 years to learn all my excuses.

 

If your writing ends, try:

  • writing exercises (look at John Gardner's The Art of Fiction),
  • some of the advice above (I like the looking at bills)
  • just sit until you do write
  • write every day at the same time, until it becomes a habit
  • use the bad days for research
  • use the bad days for editing  

What you will do is different from all of us giving you advice . . . except, don't give in to your excuses.  And sometimes, what you're writing just needs to be shelved and you need to move to something else.

 

Hope that helps,

 

 

Walton

 

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5. Dec 30, 2009 8:35 AM in response to: toshilou
Re: what do you do when you get writer's block???

I've found reading to be my best cure. Anytime I get stuck I read someone else work and the inspiration or ideas start to flow. I read books totally outside my genre. I write humor, so I read serious stuff.  It usually helps a lot.  I'm just getting over a case myself.

 

By the way, I do believe in writer's block. For me, being under a lot of stress usually stymies my creativity because the bulk of my energy gets spent working out problems rather than being able to focus on my writing. Until you deal with the issues that cause the stress, your brain won't make room for the fun stuff. At least that is the case with me.

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6. Dec 30, 2009 9:51 AM in response to: PerksBooks
Re: what do you do when you get writer's block???

Perry said exactly what I was thinking... but I didn't have the guts to say myself.

 

There is no such thing as "writer's block". As my co-author Nick Russell would say, "Writer's Block is for writers who have colossal egos, or are already rich."

 

I never have writer's block... because I have bills to pay and kids to feed. I can always write something.

 

Christy Pinheiro

The Publishing Maven

Step By Step Self-Publishing

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7. Dec 30, 2009 10:39 AM in response to: toshilou
Re: what do you do when you get writer's block???

I sure the heck ain't lazy or egotistical...and I'm dang sure not rich. But when I have to force myself to write it is ALWAYS complete crap and I usually end up scrapping it and writing it all over again, chucking about 95%.  So, I think we can all write anytime. But writing any old piece of crap won't get your books bought. lol I've got a kid to feed but there are times when the writing flows and it's just shy of brilliant. And other times when I force it and it's total crap.

 

As a writer, you can always read when you're blocked. Reading becomes a part of your job and helps you stay sharp and get better. You can plot out your storylines, do outlines. You can also just write in a journal about what's eating at you so that you can release the blockage.  Do some marketing on the books you do have out there...or even on the one you're working on. I think the idea is not to be sitting around with the boob tube scratching your butt. That won't help.

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8. Dec 30, 2009 11:18 AM in response to: toshilou
Re: what do you do when you get writer's block???

Another piece of advice from Jean Pierre:never play a non-musical note. It wasn't about quantity, but quality.  Admittedly, it isn't always possible, but picking up the thread of this, I'd say--see Richard's blog post--read "writer's block" as "my excuses" and write something, and try to make it good.

 

Walton

 

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9. Dec 30, 2009 11:31 AM in response to: toshilou
Re: what do you do when you get writer's block???

I believe in writer's block though these days when it hits I prefer to call it my muse taking the day off or being very pig-headed and not wanting to write what I want to on the book so we go to seperate corners so to speak.

 

As for how to get past it, there are plenty of things that different people will do. Many of them have been mentioned above. I can read(though that's an issue because I read in phases and if I start reading I may not stop for about a month or so) or I'll switch to a different novel that I may have started since I always seem to have at least three of them going at any given moment. If neither of those things work and I can't pick up the place where my story just fizzled then I will go to writing something totally for myself. While all my novels are basically for myself and also for the reader, when I write for myself it's something that will never be published and it will only be seen if I choose to upload to fanfiction.net but even then that writing isn't crap so it has the same substance that my regular novels do...it's just writing that I don't have to worry about deadlines or things like that.

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10. Dec 30, 2009 1:04 PM in response to: Karla_B
Re: what do you do when you get writer's block???

Karla,

 

I agree, what I usually write in these situations is crap as well (as I mentioned.) Stephen King refers to this in "On Writing" as "shoveling sh*t from a seated position."

 

The point isn't the quality of what you are writing at that moment, that's what rewrites or the delete button are for. The point is to send a message to the ol' subcon that you are by-god-gonna write no matter what, so it might as well get out of your way and let you.

 

You see, I hate wasting my time writing crap as well. I have rent to pay and a daughter to feed myself, and I don't want to waste my time typing a bunch of junk I'm just going to delete later.

 

That's the point.

 

It's about creating synapic pathways in our brains that cause automatic responses. (This is how craving and addictions work as well, btw.) If I create a respose to "writers block" that allows me to go do something I would rather be doing than writing, then I'll be fighting this response all the time. If there is a such thing as "Writer's Block" I beleive that it is a learned response that we have taught ourselves.

 

If you really don't want to force the keyboarding issue by writing anything, even crap, instead of not writing, then find something you loathe even more. If 2-4pm is my writing time, but I'm "blocked" and can't write, then my alternatives are to clean the spiders out of the attic, or go jogging. Ugh.

 

So, anyway, that's my thoughts on the subject...or maybe everything I just wrote was total crap, in which case I can go back to working on my book now! Woo-Hoo!

 

LOL,

 

-Perry

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11. Jan 4, 2010 5:16 PM in response to: toshilou
Re: what do you do when you get writer's block???

I'm no writing master and am just getting waist deep into my first major writing project attempt, but I have found that for me when I am not feeling particularly inspired it helps to write about something I have never written about. Then to start tossing in random events, situations, and objects. Don't worry about if it makes total sense or not. It gets the creative juices flowing and before long your back to the main piece. If that doesn't work at least you have a piece of work you can laugh at which can also provide some needed writing relief.

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