View Full Version : Defining Writer's Block

10-31-2007, 10:02 AM
It hasn't gone smoothly in literally* a few years now...I've had a few fits and starts of a few days to a few weeks. But the last several times I've tried to write, I just couldn't think of anything. Not even a dumb conversation for my characters to have, scenery to overdescribe, or a meandering memory sequence, so that I could edit it out. Nothing. Not only do I not know what happens next, I can't even think of what could happen next. I've thought about "maybe it's the project" but I don't think it is (I had major Real Life stuff going on when my writing stopped working), although I've tried to think of something else to write about and I really* can't come up with anything.

I'm out of ideas of how to fight it. I can't stick any name on it but "writer's block"--but at what point does it stop being that because I turn into a usedtobeawriter? *sigh*

Anyone been there and done that? Where do I buy the t-shirt so I can fly home?

*I can still try to kill adverbs

10-31-2007, 12:33 PM
This has soooo happened to me! It lasted about 10 years, during which time I focused on technical writing (for $$) because at least I knew what I was supposed to write. Then one day, a seed of an idea grew and the creative writing came back - a novel was born. It's like a faucet now... which doesn't mean that anything I write is good, but man, it's better than not writing stories at all. I'm now feeling a huge sense of urgency to ride it out for fear I might dry out again.

I don't think you're ever a "usedtobeawriter" unless you declare that you are. Just keep plugging away it... even if it's bad and cheesy and forced. I think eventually you'll get your voice back.

10-31-2007, 02:40 PM
Don't give up. This has never happened to me, but I totally understand it. I would try maybe writing exercises...and writing new stuff based on those exercises. Then, if you feel like the synapses are catching fire...then leap into your WIP. There's an exercise forum here at AW. Just take the prompts and jump into writing without thinking. If you don't see any that appeal, simply search WRITING PROMPTS into google. Tons will come up. Do 5 minute exercises and see what happens. Exercise that muscle and maybe it will give you a fresh start with your WIP. Good luck.

10-31-2007, 03:58 PM
Google "writing exercises."

I'm not affiliated, and I don't usually recommend any writing sites other than this one, but the 6ftferrets has a few good writing exercises.

I had had a drought of several years a while back and I found that site, started doing the "I remember" exercises, and I've been on a roll ever since.

P.S. Ignore all the posters who'll come on here and start their tirades about what their thoughts on the existence of writer's block. They don't believe in it, but they need to chill.

10-31-2007, 04:16 PM
I took about 40 years off, from the time I wrote poetry in Berkeley, to becoming a computer programmer, technical writer, then a therapist. Now I write several hours a day, mostly writing about writing, and am having a ball. I organized my forty years of overcoming writer's block into one of the few psychologically oriented books on the subject (with a little help from my counseling degree and experience.)

Four Elements for Writers, How to Get Beyond "Yes-but," Conquer Self-doubt and Inertia, and Achieve your Writing Goals. (http://www.mental-health-survival-guide.com/book-for-writers.htm)

It is organized in four sections: action, attitude, your own story, and going public. I hope this helps. Good luck with your writing. As far as I'm concerned, you already have the most important part: the desire to write.

Jerry Waxler

10-31-2007, 05:43 PM
Yes, writing based on prompts and ideas already created by others can be a great help. Hell, you can even write fanfiction or novelize your favorite movie/game/song to get your creative juices flowing and your writing habits back while using ideas that area already there and you don't need to think too much about.