What is it?

What are your opinions on it?

How do you 'crack' it? (if you ever get it.)

Personally? I'm dying over here. No real trigger that I can think of. It's not a major project for me. No fame or fortune involved. But it's something I love, and I'm hung up on a single scene.

AAAHHHGGGGG! 

Tags: block, writer's

Views: 36

Replies to This Discussion


In my experience, Misty, the writer who feels blocked, or paralyzed by doubt and indecision, is a writer who is perhaps too much fixed on a single aspect of a given project.  Or who is (maybe also) stymied by her own inner critic.  One dependable way through this problem is to write anything, anyway

 

That is, to write shit.  Whatever you get down doesn't matter; just do not surrender to the sense of blockage.  It's crucially important to observe and to preserve a strict daily writing regimen, whatever it is, and never to decide, well, today is not a good day, so I'll do something else.  Don't do that!   If you have to, sit there at your desk and copy material written by a writer you like, just to keep the words flowing.  And NEVER forget that most writing is not very good when it hits the page or the screen.  Accept that what you're going to have to do is rewrite, rewrite, and rewrite.  Until you have something you can rewrite, you don't have shit--and you NEED shit.  Because shit is your material.  You need something you can make better.

Sherwood Anderson said, "I have never written a story long or short that I did not have to write and rewrite. There are single stories of mine that have taken me ten or twelve years to get written."

 John Hersey said, "To be a writer is to sit down at one's desk in the chill portion of every day, and to write; not waiting for the little jet of the blue flame of genius to start from the breastbone--just plain going at it, in pain and delight. To be a writer is to throw away a great deal, not to be satidfied, to type again, and then again, and once more, and over and over..."

 Thomas Williams said, "A writer keeps surprising himself. He doesn't know what he is saying until he sees it on the page."

 William Faulkner said, "Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it's the only way you can do anything really good."

William H. Gass said, "I work not by writing, but by rewriting. Each sentence has many drafts. Eventually there is a paragraph. This gets many drafts. Eventually there is a page. This gets many drafts. And so on."

In her book about writing, BIRD BY BIRD, Anne LaMott said:

" ... shitty first drafts.  All good writers write them.  This is how they end up with good second drafts and terrific third drafts.  People tend to took at successful writers, writers who are getting their books published and maybe even doing well financially, and think that they sit down at their desks every morning feeling like a million dollars, feeling great about who they are and how much talent they have and what a great story they have to tell; that they take in a few deep breaths, push back their sleeves, roll their necks a few times to get all the cricks out, and dive in, typing fully formed passages as fast as a court reporter.  But this is just the fantasy of the uninitiated.  I know some very great writers, writers you love who write beautifully and have made a great deal of money, and not one of them sits down routinely feeling wildly enthusiastic and confident.  Not one of them writes elegant first drafts.  All right, one of them does, but we do not like her very much.  We do not think that she has a rich inner life or that God likes her or can even stand her.  (Although when I mentioned this to my priest friend Tom, he said you can safely assume you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.)
 
     "Very few writers really know what they are doing until they have done it.  Nor do they go about their business feeling dewy and thrilled.  They do not type a few stiff warm-up sentences and then find themselves bounding along like huskies across the snow.  One writer I know tells me that he sits down every morning and says to himself nicely, “It’s not like you don’t have a choice, because you do—you can either type or kill yourself.”  We all often feel like we are pulling teeth, even those writers whose prose ends up being the most natural and fluid.  The right words and sentences just do not come pouring out like ticker tape most of the time.  Now, Muriel Spark is said to have felt that she was taking dictation from God every morning—sitting there, one supposes, plugged into a Dictaphone, typing away, humming.  But this is a very hostile and aggressive position.  One might hope for bad things to rain down on a person like this.
 
     "For me and most of the other writers I know, writing is not rapturous.  In fact, the only way I can get anything written at all is to write really, really shitty first drafts.
 
     "The first draft is the child’s draft, where you let it all pour out and then let it romp all over the place, knowing that no one is going to see it and that you can shape it later.  You just let this childlike part of you channel whatever voices and visions come through and onto the page.  If one of the character wants to say, “Well, so what, Mr. Poopy Pants?” you let her.  No one is going to see it.  If the kid wants to get into really sentimental, weepy, emotional territory, you let him.  Just get it all down on paper, because there may be something great in those six crazy pages that you would never have gotten to by more rational, grown-up means.  There may be something in the very last line of the very last paragraph on page six that you just love, that is so beautiful or wild that you now know what you’re supposed to be writing about, more or less, or in what direction you might go--but there was no way to get to this without first getting through the first five and half pages."



As you might expect "writer's block" is a topic that comes up often over at Absolute Write.  If you were to search for it there, you would find a range of advice and opinions.
Are you affiliated with that website?

Not at all.  I rarely visit the site, in fact, but I mention it here, because (as I've said elsewhere) it's a comprehensive and information-chocked site for devoted writers, from the unexperienced beginner to the accomplished pro, from the unpublished to the well published.  There are agents and editors who contribute regularly, too. 

Just a superficial survey of this group on this site ought to suggest to you that the likelihood of your getting a variety of useful answers to basic (non-atheist) questions and concerns about writing is pretty slim.  AW is a far better place to go, that's all. 

Oh cool! Hey thanks!
I will totally give it a look over!
Thank youz

I suffered from writer's block frequently. I had this notion that whatever I wrote had to come out perfect. I think it really caused me to freeze up. I read a book that mentioned a technique called, "Madman, Architect, Carpenter, Judge". It was developed by a lady called Betty Sue Flowers. I still struggle with the belief that what I write needs to be perfect as soon as pen touches paper, but this technique has helped a lot. If the problem of perfectionism causes your writer's block this might help you. Good luck!

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