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View Full Version : Writers Block-An Actual Problem, Or an Excuse



AllyWoof
01-19-2007, 06:37 PM
Hi guys, Long time no see. I was just pondering something and I thought I would bounce it off you. Some say writers block isn't real. I disagree. Is it true?

Cath
01-19-2007, 06:44 PM
I think the term writers block is a way of describing the situation a writer finds themselves in when for some reason or other they are unable to write. So, I agree with you - it does exist.

farfromfearless
01-19-2007, 06:58 PM
I don't believe in writer's block but I do believe in fatigue or burnout - the symptoms for me are pretty much the same and so the general advice for recovering from fatigue or burnout works as well.

AllyWoof
01-19-2007, 06:59 PM
I think the term writers block is a way of describing the situation a writer finds themselves in when for some reason or other they are unable to write. So, I agree with you - it does exist. That how I feel, as well. I am only asking because many writers, as well as my own family, feel differently.

aadams73
01-19-2007, 07:01 PM
In my experience the "block" happens when I'm trying to push my work in the wrong direction. So I think writer's block is something we create unintentionally.

I also agree that sometimes we have to recharge, but if that "recharging" stretches on too long it might be just an excuse not to write.

MMcC
01-19-2007, 08:15 PM
They gave it a name. If it hadn't been given a name it would just be a creative slump, which is experienced by everyone in every profession. We all hit a wall now and then for whatever reason.

I actually think deliberate distraction is more of an issue for writers.

AllyWoof
01-19-2007, 08:16 PM
I agree 100%.

stormie
01-19-2007, 08:19 PM
Writer's block is real; it's what you do with it that matters. Sometimes moving on to another WIP or starting a new ms. for the time being, is best. Other times, taking the day off (if possible) from writing is rejuvenating.

kristie911
01-19-2007, 08:27 PM
I have written very, very little since I went on an anti-anxiety medication. I call it writer's block but it's really something different. I'll be off the meds in a month or two, so I'm just taking a time-out from writing...I hoping the creativity comes back. If not, I'll have to find some other way to handle it. Or I'll give up writing.

Jamesaritchie
01-19-2007, 09:05 PM
Hi guys, Long time no see. I was just pondering something and I thought I would bounce it off you. Some say writers block isn't real. I disagree. Is it true?

It's as real as you want it to be, and that's it. Anyone can not write. This doesnt make writer's block real, it just makes someone decide not to write.

There is such a thing as clinical writer's block, but this is a special case where the person is literally incapable of writing anything for any reason. It's a mental illness, and there's no doubt when you have it.

But what we call writer's block is only as real as the writer wants it to be. Read the history of what we laughingly call "writer's block." There was a time when it didn't even exist, and no writer on earth claimed to have it.

It's purely a name it and claim it condition. It's an excuse. If you can make yourself sit down and write a sentence, any sentence, you do not have writer's block, you have, "I don't want to write, so I'm going to find an excuse not to write" block.

ChaosTitan
01-19-2007, 09:19 PM
It's purely a name it and claim it condition. It's an excuse. If you can make yourself sit down and write a sentence, any sentence, you do not have writer's block, you have, "I don't want to write, so I'm going to find an excuse not to write" block.

So by your definition, the simple act of posting on a message board about having writers block proves they don't actually have it. :ROFL: Ironic, no?

Meerkat
01-19-2007, 09:26 PM
If we go one step further here.... NOT having writer's block is a bigger excuse. Just look at this scenario:

First group: "You never respond to our AW postings in a timely fashion!"

Second group: "Not only that, you never pay attention to me or the kids!"

You: "Not now, everybody--I don't have writers block! Leave me alone, I'm on a roll! Shake me when Star Trek comes on..."

Cat Scratch
01-20-2007, 01:22 AM
Writer's block exists, in that there are times it'll flow smoothly and other times where it seems as if you can't string a sentence together. However, I do think Writer's Block is often seen as an excuse for not writing.

Usually it just means that the writing has become difficult or is not as easy as we like. I think novices throw down their pencil/keyboard/dictophone and say "Guess I'd better stop writing--I'm blocked." I find that pushing through, even if what you're writing isn't great, is the best way. I often find myself getting into the flow of it eventually, or maybe I waste a day but at least I'm through a difficult portion that I can tackle later.

So, to answer your question: yes. Writer's Block is an actual problem, and an excuse.

Azure Skye
01-20-2007, 01:31 AM
I think it does exist. Whether it's an excuse or not, I don't know.

icerose
01-20-2007, 01:40 AM
I find that pushing through, even if what you're writing isn't great, is the best way.

And I find discovering the underlying problem is the most useful. If I can't think of a single thing to put into my WIP, it's usually an underlying problem with the story.

Either I can't agree on an approach, something is horribly wrong with the plot, a character, whatever. Something is wrong with the story. Until I can figure out what it is, I have a heck of a time writing even a single word toward the piece.

It isn't an excuse either. I love writing and I hate it when my writing time passes me without a single thing accomplished and I'm still staring at the work, putting down a word or two, erasing them, putting down another word or two, erasing them. So frustrating.

As soon as I identify the problem and work out a solution. The flow begins again. Whether it's called writer's block or a story flaw it's still a pain in the butt. However, I don't let it stop me from writing entirely which is why I usually have so many projects going. While one is being sorted out, I can be plugging away on another. Always something getting done.

PeeDee
01-20-2007, 04:16 AM
I'm with farfromfearless on this. I don't get writer's block as it stands because I'm never lacking for ideas or for The Next Scene. What stops me, when I am stopped, is exhaustion, or the rest of the world. If you get kicked in the head a couple of times, then it can be the most hellish thing in the world to get writing, even though once you're going it's usually enjoyable and beneficial.

I think that James describes a large body of writers, though (and I'm generalizing) who decide on writer's block and therefore have writer's block. They may want to write, but they're not doing anything to GET there, because they Have Writer's Block.

The important thing to do, when you have writer's block, is to shoot off in a completely random direction and write something you have no use or intentions for.

Yesterday, I was stumped on novel revisions (again: exhaustion) so I stared at it for twenty minutes, and then opened a new document and wrote a short story. Didn't help my novel any, but I'd written something, it was good, and that was that.

PeeDee
01-20-2007, 04:18 AM
What writer's block can also be is that when you do write -- because you're trying and you're writing things -- everything you write doesn't satisfy you, and in your head it all seems like bad writing.

it's a mood, it's exhaustion, it's where your head's at. Frequently, if you keep writing and leave the bad stuff in, then later when you go back to your pook, you'll suddenly not quite recall which were the bad bits and which were the good ones during the first draft.

Carrie in PA
01-20-2007, 05:46 AM
It can be both. It can be an actual problem, but it can also be an excellent tool for procrastination.