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Yakamo
05-03-2009, 04:30 AM
What's writer's block and does it exist? How do you know if you have it? How do you fix it?

Does it exist? Why/Why not?

Mr. Anonymous
05-03-2009, 04:49 AM
I think writers block is just an umbrella term writers use to describe a myriad of things, from getting stuck and not being sure how to continue, to losing faith in their writing, to losing the will to write.

Arkie
05-03-2009, 04:58 AM
What's writer's block and does it exist? How do you know if you have it? How do you fix it?

Does it exist? Why/Why not?

I don't believe there is such a thing as writer's block, not in my case anyway. If I get to the point that I'm tired of writing or I have trouble expanding an idea, I'm being lazy, and I just need to sit down and type.
If I'm feeling exceptionally lazy about writing, I go to the library and check out some good books in the genre I favor. Good books generally motivate me to want to write.

Calliopenjo
05-03-2009, 05:14 AM
For me writer's block is the inability to write. Anything. It's looking at a blank screen or piece of paper and it continues to be blank no matter how long I look at it. Not a single piece of creativity comes to mind. Passing by posters, watching movies, TV, commercial jingles, nothing inspires a story.

As for how do you get ride of it? I let it pass. That's the only way I know to get rid of it. That's when I spend time critting other's stories, surfing around the internet HOPING to get inspired.

Apsu
05-03-2009, 05:20 AM
I'm with Mr. Anonymous above. I think it's just a way of describing being stuck on how to solve a problem in your story, or losing heart in some way. I don't think I'd ever really lose the ability to describe a setting, for instance (even if I don't necessarily do it well), which would seem to me to be a true block. Having difficulty solving a problem with how my MC reacts in a situation may pop up often, though. I struggle with dialog a lot; I just generally write very slowly and over think things, but I can't imagine a true block stopping me from writing.

Perhaps I've just jinxed myself.

Clair Dickson
05-03-2009, 06:03 AM
I don't believe in writer's block. Similar to Mr. Anonymous, I believe that it is an umbrella term for solvable writing problems.

When you "can't" write, it's not because of some mental malady. It is because there is a problem that you are having difficulty solving. Perhaps you don't know where to go next. Perhaps you are plagued by fear of failure. Perhaps you are trying to force characters into a situation that you/ they know is wrong, not in character, or lacking motivation. These are all problems. Once you identify the problem, only then can you fix it.

I have never had writer's block. I have gotten stuck, frustrated, angry, irritated, and depressed about my writing. I have written crap, deleted half a story, started over, and brooded over plot points. I have had to force myself to work on my story, some how, even if I didn't "feel like it" because I hate to waste my precious free time not writing. I have forced myself to write because I just want to be done with the damn story. I do not allow myself excuses for not writing. Even if I do not always enjoy the writing, I do always enjoy the finished story. But I have never had writer's block.

I cannot FIX writer's block-- but I can fix a plot hole or character motivation problem. I do not deal in mysterious unsolvable maladies. I want to write-- so I will solve the problem and get back to writing. If I didn't want to write though, I'm sure I would love writer's block. Then I could be an anguished writer without the trouble of output. ;-)

Quossum
05-03-2009, 06:16 AM
I'm with Clair and Mr. Anon. It's convenient to use the term "writer's block" to describe a feeling of just not wanting to write, but you gotta dig beneath that "do not want" feeling and try to figure out why it's there.

Maybe other things are happening in your life and you can't focus on your story. Maybe you have a plot point coming up that you don't want to deal with either because you love it too much or you hate it too much. Maybe you have some deep-rooted fears that aren't being addressed...why am i even doing this, no one will ever read this, this is a waste of time, i'll never get it published anyway, i've got nothing to write after this, this might be the only story in me...

I say allow yourself to take a break guilt-free if you really, really need it, but when it gets right down to it, buckle down and write through the block.

A writer writes.

--Q

SarahMacManus
05-03-2009, 06:20 AM
I think that it exists, although it means something different each time, to different people.

RunawayScribe
05-03-2009, 09:19 AM
Eh. I feel like a lot of people use the word 'writer's block' when they want to avoid the sweat. Feeling magically inspired to write is nice, but it doesn't always happen, and it's unlikely you'll feel that way through an 80-90k novel. So if you want to finish, pick the block up and move it. Usually when I feel I'm stuck or blocked, I'm just being lazy.

bettielee
05-03-2009, 10:07 AM
I voted "yes" - I'm winning! :D

For me, writer's block is about fear. I am afraid I am going to "F" it up. I don't trust myself, my choices, my characters... I start to fantasize about flames and dynamite... that curvy little wastebasket down in the lower right corner on my dock starts to look sexy. Eventually I turn my thinking mind off and let the magic fiction machine work. I stop thinking the story and start trying to "see" it - it's like if I go "into" my setting I see farther than sitting in my physical body tapping my lower lip with a pencil going....duuuuhhhh... and probably drooling a little....

sorry. too much.

donroc
05-03-2009, 04:03 PM
It does not exist for me. I always have an outline before i write a new ms. If I have a problem with a chapter, I go on to the next. I expect to deviate from the outline anyway, and continuing usually solves the earlier problem.

Tocotin
05-03-2009, 04:21 PM
I don't know. I haven't experienced it myself, but it doesn't mean that the problem does not exist.

Clair Dickson
05-03-2009, 04:26 PM
I voted "yes" - I'm winning! :D

For me, writer's block is about fear. I am afraid I am going to "F" it up. I don't trust myself, my choices, my characters.

But why don't you call it what it is? Instead of saying "I have writer's block" say "I'm afraid of screwing it up!" Then you can work on solving the problem instead of tiptoeing around the elephant. :Shrug:

ChaosTitan
05-03-2009, 06:06 PM
I have never had writer's block. I have gotten stuck, frustrated, angry, irritated, and depressed about my writing. I have written crap, deleted half a story, started over, and brooded over plot points. I have had to force myself to work on my story, some how, even if I didn't "feel like it" because I hate to waste my precious free time not writing. I have forced myself to write because I just want to be done with the damn story. I do not allow myself excuses for not writing. Even if I do not always enjoy the writing, I do always enjoy the finished story. But I have never had writer's block.

I cannot FIX writer's block-- but I can fix a plot hole or character motivation problem.

Exactly.

It's far easier for someone to say "I'm blocked," than to sit down and diagnose what's really wrong with the story you're working on. Hell, sometimes it's not the story at all, but real life crap weighing you down. It happens, and it's okay.

Fix the story problem. Deal with real life. Get back to writing.

Lady Cat
05-03-2009, 08:39 PM
I think writers block is just an umbrella term writers use to describe a myriad of things, from getting stuck and not being sure how to continue, to losing faith in their writing, to losing the will to write.


I totally agree.

BlueLucario
05-03-2009, 09:53 PM
I've got Writer's Block all the time. So I vote yes it exists.

It doesn't apply to just my manuscripts, but for my class essays too.

My type of Writer's block is this "What's going to happen next?" or "No wait, what am I supposed to write?"

It's especially frustrating when you have deadlines.

Bubastes
05-03-2009, 11:43 PM
If you have deadlines, you can't afford the luxury of writer's block.

I agree with the folks who say it's a catch-all term that doesn't describe the true underlying problem.

kathyc
05-04-2009, 01:58 PM
I've always believed writer's block existed or at least, that's the label I gave it when I couldn't write.

Growing up, my parents used to tell me to never put anything down on paper (with the exception of school work), never write anything, because it'll always get you in trouble. But, as far back as I can remember I've held a passion for books and writing. So you can probably guess, that I was always getting "in trouble".

It was extremely hard having a diary back then because it would always end up in the hands of my parents and of course, they would read it.

But, I kept on writing. Until one day, I presented my mother with an anthology I had been published in. She looked at me and said "how cute", never opening the book.
After that? I don't know what happened, but I couldn't write anymore. I didn't feel anything at the time, nothing spectacular happened, it's just that the next day and for 6 years after, I couldn't do it. I have no idea what happened to cause it. I mean, how can two words do that, right?

I gave it alot of thought a few weeks ago, sat down and forced myself to write something, anything and that seemed to do the trick. I told myself it didn't matter if the whole thing was a piece of junk, I'll fix it later. And, well, here I am. :)

BlueLucario
05-14-2009, 09:11 PM
What do you call a problem where you don't know what to write next?

CaroGirl
05-14-2009, 09:20 PM
Not for me. I have problems with motivation at times, when I've feeling down because of rejections. You know, the whole I'm no good, no one will ever publish me or read me, wah-wah. I also have problems finding the time to write and being motivated enough when I get those few minutes of time. But I wouldn't call those issues writer's block.


What do you call a problem where you don't know what to write next?
I don't know. I'm not sure what that means.

archerjoe
05-14-2009, 09:39 PM
What do you call a problem where you don't know what to write next?

In a totally unrelated book on business success, the author recommends going for a run in situations similar to this. I find my daily bicycle commute clears my mind and makes a good transition between work and home. A lot of scenes were started halfway into my ride to work.

Clair Dickson
05-14-2009, 10:18 PM
What do you call a problem where you don't know what to write next?

Well, it's either a plotting problem or a motivation problem. The motivation may be mine or it may be the characters (as in don't know it or trying to force them to do something that's contrary to their character.)

If it's a plot problem-- as in, finished a great scene, have a vague idea of what's next but not sure what the very next scene is-- I start brainstorming ideas. Character X goes Y. Character X goes Z and encounters A. Character X goes Y and meets B. Etc. Until something clicks in my brain, giving me the next scene to write.

If it's a character motivation problem, I step back and look at who the character is-- why are the living at X, how did they meet character A, what's there involvement with character C, how are the tangled up in the plot conflict, why did they do M and not L, etc. Until, again, the right synapse in my brain fires and I know where to go next.

To me, it's kind of like cancer. Unless we know what causes it, we're not likely to ever stop it. Similarly, if it's just this nebulous undefined idea of 'writer's block' how will you fix it?

Either way, keep brainstorming ides for the conflict and or characters and you may just find that writer's block dissolves. At least, that's worked for me... but I never expect my problems to solve themselves. I'll beat my problems into submission before taking a passive role regarding them. Both with writing and otherwise. =)

Write on! (Unless the bogeyman known as "Writer's Block" has scared you away.)

caromora
05-15-2009, 10:28 AM
I think writers block is just an umbrella term writers use to describe a myriad of things, from getting stuck and not being sure how to continue, to losing faith in their writing, to losing the will to write.

This is pretty much exactly what I was going to post. :)

KimJo
05-15-2009, 02:41 PM
When I say I have "writer's block", I either mean my current WIP isn't working for me anymore (which is easily cured by either brainstorming about it or switching to a different WIP for a little while) or that external factors in my life have me so stressed I can't concentrate long enough to write more than a paragraph at a time, with the result that my stories feel too disjointed for me to be able to keep track of what's supposed to be happening. There usually isn't a lot I can do about the stress unless it's totally self-induced, but again, sometimes just switching to a different WIP overcomes it and I'm able to get words on a page, even if not the words I want on the page I want.

Other than those issues, the time I'm most likely to say I have "writer's block" is when I've just finished a WIP and it's time to start a new one. Then I get blank page syndrome. I try to overlap WIPs a little bit, starting a new one before I finish the previous, to avoid that.

LuckyH
05-15-2009, 08:50 PM
I got writers block for three months last year, after experimenting (unsuccessfully) with a voice recognition programme, which I foolishly used to write an entire novel during my three months of experimentation. It went away once I got over the shock of trying to edit the 'voice recognition' novel, and found that it was un-editable.

Claudia Gray
05-15-2009, 10:21 PM
I don't think there's any one thing that we can say, yes, THIS is "writer's block." I think it's a myriad of difficulties, some of which are not super-difficult to work through, some of which are.

Thus far, luckily, I've been largely free of writer's block. I go through periods of time where I hate everything I'm writing, but I keep writing, and sooner or later it shakes out.

EFCollins
05-15-2009, 10:33 PM
I've only had once problem with writer's block, and it was entirely my fault. I took two and a half years away from writing to work and didn't write even a grocery list during that time. By the time I got back to writing, I couldn't think. I had so many ideas running through my head, I just couldn't manage it. One character would appear in a place they weren't supposed to be... I'd sit down and try to write something that ended up being four or five stories all at once and ended up deleting everything. I was a mess, and so were my MSS. I didn't save anything during that time. It all went in the trash or got a big delete. I thought I was done writing altogether. It took me a long time to sort out everything in my head, but I did eventually fix myself.

Nitemare
05-17-2009, 06:36 AM
What's writer's block and does it exist? How do you know if you have it? How do you fix it?

Does it exist? Why/Why not?

Yes, it exists and when it happens to me, I revel in it. When I write, I get buried in the process, to the point of obsession, as it consumes my every waking hour, and more. When I hit a block, I am grateful because it gives me the chance to breathe.