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message 1: by Gillian (new)

Gillian Felix (gillianfx) | 19 comments Recently I interviewed 6 authors about their thoughts on writer's block. Everybody had different opinions and ways to get around feeling stuck.

Please share your thoughts below. Want to hear what these authors have to say? Read the full interview here: http://www.plaintalkbm.com/writers-bl...


message 2: by Lenita (new)

Lenita Sheridan I don't believe writer's block exists. It's a matter of making yourself write. You schedule time to write and you sit down and write. There are some tools to make this easier. Having an outline helps or at least some sense of direction where your book is going.


message 3: by Tony (new)

Tony Parsons (gambino71) | 1563 comments or in my field social work brain dead for a while


message 4: by Alicia (new)

Alicia Ehrhardt (aliciabutcherehrhardt) I don't believe in it either, because whatever is keeping me from writing what I want/need to write right now, I figure it out by asking myself what it is, and digging deeper and deeper - on the page.

I write myself out of writer's block about the WIP by writing.

So far, it's been twenty years, and since I learned to do this, the blocks just provide more insight.

I keep a Fear Journal: what I'm afraid of in the piece that isn't coming out quickly is often the key to it.


message 5: by Gillian (new)

Gillian Felix (gillianfx) | 19 comments Awesome! I like the fear journal idea. I find when I write myself in a corner, as I like to call it, it's because something is not working in the story. Thanks for sharing ladies.


Alicia wrote: "I don't believe in it either, because whatever is keeping me from writing what I want/need to write right now, I figure it out by asking myself what it is, and digging deeper and deeper - on the pa..."


message 6: by Mimi (last edited Mar 04, 2016 01:58PM) (new)

Mimi Marten | 30 comments http://flavorwire.com/343207/13-famou...

This may answer some of your questions...., from the well known and successful. :-))


message 7: by Will (new)

Will Once (willonce) | 32 comments We can all talk about our own experiences, but it is impossible to crawl inside someone else's head and know what they are feeling. So I don't see how anyone can say that writer's block doesn't exist.

We may not have experienced it ourselves. We may have found a solution which works for us. But that doesn't mean that we know how everyone else's brains work, or that our solution will work for everyone.


message 8: by Gillian (new)

Gillian Felix (gillianfx) | 19 comments You are exactly right, Will. Hence the reason for the discussion, different people handle it differently and it is always good to hear how authors handle that.


Will wrote: "We can all talk about our own experiences, but it is impossible to crawl inside someone else's head and know what they are feeling. So I don't see how anyone can say that writer's block doesn't exi..."


message 9: by Justin (new)

Justin (justinbienvenue) | 785 comments I believe in it but would call it more of brain laziness or my brains failure to think on the spot. I usually take a break if I hit a bump in the writing road so to speak.


message 10: by T.R. (new)

T.R. Robinson (t_r_robinson) | 76 comments Most of the time I suspect it is just tiredness or stress. Of course there is the situation Gillian highlighted: 'something is not working in the story'. It is usually reasonably easy to find what.

When I first started writing I, as an acknowledged novice, took note of lots of advice kindly and freely offered. Most, though acknowledging the existence of so called 'writers block', suggested it is best to push your way through. Steven King famously stated (not an exact quote as I do not recall all the actual words): If a lorry driver does not feel like driving on a particular day he does not simply go back home. He gets in the cab and drives. I think that is the way most things should be tackled (not just writing). Self-discipline and perseverance are not terms we hear a lot these days and yet they are often what is needed and usually prove successful.

In my own case I find if my mind is not flowing as I would like, it is best to just sit and write whatever comes. Sometimes it comes out as gibberish but quite often I have found, when returning to read it the following day, it more than makes sense and has often been incorporated into whatever I am writing at the time. (Now go on; tell me I write gibberish. - Ha! Ha! - Well at least hope it is not.)


message 11: by Gillian (new)

Gillian Felix (gillianfx) | 19 comments So true, it's like the gibberish is blocking your creativity. It reminds me of water and sand metaphor. Keep pouring water into a glass of sand and eventually it will wash the sand out, or something like that. LOL

Happy writing.


T.R. wrote: "Most of the time I suspect it is just tiredness or stress. Of course there is the situation Gillian highlighted: 'something is not working in the story'. It is usually reasonably easy to find what...."


message 12: by Will (new)

Will Once (willonce) | 32 comments T.R. wrote: "Most of the time I suspect it is just tiredness or stress. "

For you, maybe, but I don't see how we can extend our personal experiences to everyone else.

I've "chatted" (on the internet) with dozens of people who have experienced some form of writer's block. These blocks vary enormously from one person to the next. Sometimes it's tiredness or stress. But equally there are writers who are blocked for other reasons. Some are nervous about failure. Some are worried about success. And a myriad of other reasons.

Take a peak at this forum on absolutewrite.com:

http://absolutewrite.com/forums/forum...

That particular forum on overcoming writer's block has 8,855 posts over 482 different threads. The guidelines for that forum say this:

"Writer's block is a reality for many writers. This is a place to discuss methods of coping with writer's block.

This isn't the place to discuss the existence of writer's block. The basic operating assumption is that it does exist for many writers.
This is a place to discuss methods of coping, outwitting, or circumventing writer's block.

While you may not have experienced writer's block yourself, it is nonetheless unkind, unhelpful and potentially harmful to doubt or dismiss the difficulties of other writers. Don't do that here."

Wise words. I agree with them 100%. It is harmful and unhelpful to try to tell someone that writer's block doesn't exist, simply on the basis of your own experience.

Put it this way: I am not afraid of spiders. Not one little bit. But that doesn't give me the right to tell someone else that the fear of spiders doesn't exist or that it is "only" in the mind or something else equally belittling.

We need to respect other people's feelings. If they say they are experiencing writer's block, then that is precisely what they are experiencing. YMMV.


message 13: by Jim (last edited May 03, 2016 12:42PM) (new)

Jim Vuksic | 210 comments Writer's block does exist.

Source: Wikipedia
"Writer's block - A condition primarily associated with writing, in which an author loses ability to produce new work or experiences a creative slowdown. The condition ranges in difficulty from coming up with original ideas to being unable to produce a work for years. Throughout history writer's block has been a documented problem."

"Professionals who have struggled with the affliction include authors such as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Joseph Mitchell, pop culture cartoonist Charles M. Schultz and British songwriter Adele."


message 14: by Walt (new)

Walt Cody | 2 comments Good question, Gillian. In my own experience, I don't believe it's combatted by scheduling Writing Time (the Muse has no respect for schedules--note how, conversely, she comes at 4 AM when you want to go to sleep but have to turn on the light to capture her dictation) and in fact, it's the opposite: forcing yourself to sit at your computer when words fail you --or when you fail words--becomes so unpleasant that it makes your desk chair seem like a dentists chair-- a place to avoid--and actually leads to fortifying the block. ( Or to try another analogy, If the car is stuck, and you keep repeatedly stepping on the gas, you simply flood the engine.) The answer, for me, is to get away from the work by doing something else-- mindless and usually physical-- to not only R&R (or to use a kind of Zen approach) but to gain perspective on what's gone wrong within the work itself that turned me off.

I recall there's a great chapter on writers block in a book called Survival Writing


message 15: by Gillian (new)

Gillian Felix (gillianfx) | 19 comments Awesome! Different people have different ways of dealing with it. The strategies work differently depending on the person, but at least people know they are not alone when they have blockage, or writer's block or whatever we label it as.

Thanks for sharing!

Walt wrote: "Good question, Gillian. In my own experience, I don't believe it's combatted by scheduling Writing Time (the Muse has no respect for schedules--note how, conversely, she comes at 4 AM when you want..."


message 16: by Thaddeus (new)

Thaddeus White | 15 comments I'm not sure. For serious stuff, I think when I fail to write well/at all, it's usually a sign I lack clarity about what I'm trying to write or what I'm trying to write is just not interesting enough.

Comedy can be a different kettle of monkeys. Sadness/anger makes mirth difficult. That's not really writer's block as such, though.

I also, in the past, wrote comedy entirely spontaneously which did lead to lumpy progress (I wrote one chapter in an afternoon, and spent about a month on the next, the first week or so involved trying to write the first few paragraphs). A more planned, even if it's just an outlined, approach works better for me.


message 17: by V.W. (new)

V.W. Singer | 36 comments Speaking only for myself, I have never experienced anything like writer's block.

I have had moments where brainstorming was needed to work out a plot point, moments if indecision when there are several paths that would lead back to the same point in the story, and so on. But none of that would constitute a "block" or inability to put words on the screen. The only other thing that might even come near would be periods of laziness, especially right after finishing a book, where other interests distract me from writing.


message 18: by Dave (new)

Dave Edlund (dedlund) I'll add my voice to Will's. If you have never experienced "writer's block", good for you.

I did not experience writer's block until creating my most recent manuscript (book #4 in a collection involving the same protagonist). Each novel is stand-alone, and in #4 I just could not figure out how I was going to end the plot. It is an action/science thriller, so a powerful, edge-of-your-seat ending is required. Though I worked at it for two months, what I was writing just did not meet the requirements. Finally, after hours and hours of middle-of-the-night plotting, I came up with an ending that I am happy with.

So far, that has been my only case of writer's block. But it was very real.


message 19: by M. (new)

M. For me it's important to stay away from judgment and fear. When you feel stuck, it's okay to walk away for a bit. Don't start thinking/judging that you need to be spending X amount of time writing, even when it's not flowing. If I start getting annoyed with myself for doing something fun when I think I should be solving a creative point I'm stuck on and I force the creative attempt, I'll often be staring at a blank screen.

Also, if I start being fearful that I won't be able to figure it out, then I get caught in that energy and it's harder for me to get back in the creative flow.

I work best if I give myself the time and space to naturally back into the flow. I know that when the time is right, the answers will come.


message 20: by Philip (new)

Philip Dodd (philipdodd) | 17 comments Writer's block may be just another term for mental exhaustion. The brain needs a rest sometimes, like the body does. It cannot always be teeming with ideas. Your brain blank as the page you fail to write a sentence on, you may remember the times when you could not write the words down quickly enough, and feel that you are experiencing writer's block, as you have heard it called. At the same time, you will know that your brain will be active and the words will come again.


message 21: by Justin (new)

Justin (justinbienvenue) | 785 comments I've come to the conclusion that it exists as long as you believe it exists. Some people don't have writer's block and have no issue at all in thinking of content.


message 22: by J.M. (new)

J.M. Rankin (jmrankin) | 54 comments I think it's different for everyone, as every writer works a different way and this can either help or hinder the writing process, but I do believe it exists.

I have suffered with it in the past, but for many years I have found a way of writing that works for me and I can now deal with getting stuck. As I work with an outline to the story, I know where it is going and what I want to write and where. If I do find myself struggling with the right words to move the story forward, I simply write 'blah,blah' (literally) and move on to the next scene/chapter. I usually find myself coming back to the missed part pretty quickly, knowing I have not just sat and stared at a blank screen.


message 23: by T.R. (new)

T.R. Robinson (t_r_robinson) | 76 comments J.M. wrote: "I think it's different for everyone, as every writer works a different way and this can either help or hinder the writing process, but I do believe it exists.

I have suffered with it in the past, ..."


Just wanted to say I agree with your idea and method J.M. Certainly works for me. But at the same time we must acknowledge and accept we are all different (and unique). Though, in my experience, it is worth listening to (and trying) other people's ideas and solutions.


message 24: by Meg (new)

Meg D. Gonzalez (megdgonzalez) | 8 comments I think there are times when the writerly juices are really flowing and other times when it's a real struggle. But I don't know that I'd call it a block--largely because I think it's too easy to use it as an excuse. No matter how I'm feeling I've got to sit down each day and make the time to write.

I think the best way to combat writer's block is to have a good plan. It helps because even if I'm not feeling it, I know where I'm going. Then I can get those words and scenes down on paper and finesse later when I'm in a better writing mood.


message 25: by Harry (new)

Harry Whitewolf | 6 comments I've been wanting to comment on this, but I just can't find the words...


message 26: by T.R. (new)

T.R. Robinson (t_r_robinson) | 76 comments Harry wrote: "I've been wanting to comment on this, but I just can't find the words..."

Ha! Ha! Just had to show appreciation for your humour.


message 27: by Harry (new)

Harry Whitewolf | 6 comments T.R. wrote: "Harry wrote: "I've been wanting to comment on this, but I just can't find the words..."

Ha! Ha! Just had to show appreciation for your humour."


Thanks T.R! :)


message 28: by Charles (new)

Charles Mimi wrote: "http://flavorwire.com/343207/13-famou...

This may answer some of your questions...., from the well known and successful. :-))"


Thank you, Mimi!
And I'll add something of my own to the discussion. Many years ago, someone told me "I don't believe in headaches, so I don't get them."
"I believe in headaches," I told him. "I also believe in aspirin."
Whatever works for you, works. I find I need to use different approaches at different times.


message 29: by V.W. (new)

V.W. Singer | 36 comments I think there is a difference between being stuck on a plot point, which is more of a problem solving exercise which can take time and effort, as opposed to simply being unable to write anything.


message 30: by Charles (new)

Charles V.W. wrote: "I think there is a difference between being stuck on a plot point, which is more of a problem solving exercise which can take time and effort, as opposed to simply being unable to write anything."

Excellent point, V.W.


message 31: by London (new)

London Rae | 8 comments What I consider as writer's block isn't writer's block at all. It is all about my state of mind when I'm writing and if I'm not in that place mentally, no words will be written.

As a romance author I have to feel romantic or in love to be able to write what I need to write. If I'm not in that state of mind, what comes out is bland and boring.


message 32: by Allan (new)

Allan | 3 comments Do we not all have good days and bad days in everything we do? For me if the fingers aren't flowing on the keyboard I just stop; take a walk, have a nap, flick some channels. The sticky plot point soon resolves itself and my desire to get back to tapping the QWERTY soon returns!


message 33: by David (new)

David | 33 comments About ten years ago, stories literally flew out of my mind and landed on paper (OK - on the PC screen) and then, like someone pulled a plug, they just stopped coming. I don't know what caused this and, what is worse, I don't know how to move past it. Maybe I simply ran out of ideas or maybe some wiring in my brain got overused and blew a fuse. It can happen.


message 34: by Jim (new)

Jim Vuksic | 210 comments David wrote: "About ten years ago, stories literally flew out of my mind and landed on paper (OK - on the PC screen) and then, like someone pulled a plug, they just stopped coming. I don't know what caused this ..."

David,

Not to worry! It will pass. Writer's block has plagued some of the most commercially successful and popular writers representing a variety of art forms - Authors F. Scott Fitzgerald and Joseph Mitchell, world-renowned cartoonist Charles M. Schultz and song writer Adele. (Reference message 13 of this thread.)


message 35: by T.R. (new)

T.R. Robinson (t_r_robinson) | 76 comments David wrote: "About ten years ago, stories literally flew out of my mind and landed on paper (OK - on the PC screen) and then, like someone pulled a plug, they just stopped coming. I don't know what caused this ..."

I appreciate we are all different but would like to know what happens if you just sit and write down whatever comes out. Have found this will usually help me. Of course ten years is a lengthy time but I would suggest not insurmountable. I would genuinely be interested in the answer.


message 36: by London (new)

London Rae | 8 comments I would love to know as well. I have a habit of writing the most random things when I've lost my desire to write on whatever it is I'm working on. My OneDrive is full of half finished or terrible stories which I've written while trying to find myself.


message 37: by T.R. (new)

T.R. Robinson (t_r_robinson) | 76 comments London wrote: "I would love to know as well. I have a habit of writing the most random things when I've lost my desire to write on whatever it is I'm working on. My OneDrive is full of half finished or terrible s..."

Sorry to hear it is proving so difficult for you. Hope you find an answer to it soon.

Probably make an interesting study for a non-fiction book once you understand what has been going on.


message 38: by Ram (new)

Ram (ram_muthiah) | 1 comments Writer's block pops up every now and then. I think about readers the book is going to help (especially when I write non-fiction), the writer's block goes away. Another trick is to use pomodaro kind of timer and promise yourself to create meaningful content before the timer "ding".


message 39: by Sara (new)

Sara Parker (sparker2013) | 20 comments I believe that writer's block is one of those self-fulfilled prophecy deals. If you think it's going to happen, it'll happen. Of course everyone is different, but in my personal experience I've never had an issue with getting words onto paper. Sometimes I move slowly, sometimes I have an obstacle in my writing (or my life) to overcome, but I've never been completely stuck. Then again, my brain never shuts up. Maybe others don't have that issue.


message 40: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa (izbeenz) | 9 comments I would be lying if I said I could just sit down and write for hours until my fingers were arthritic. I do have writer’s block. All the time. But I don’t wish it away. It’s like an old friend. It’s always been with me, probably always will be there, a hot breath on the back of my neck. I power through it, ignoring the constant chatter of self doubt, and usually end up writing myself into a corner. But what might seem like an exercise in futility often turns out to be an interesting sub plot or segue or even a completely different story. One (wo)man’s burden is another’s happiness, I guess!


message 41: by London (new)

London Rae | 8 comments It's fascinating to me to see everyone's different perspective on writer's block. It appears we all have our own definition and own ways of dealing with whatever it is which prevents us from writing.

There is a certain beauty in that. A shared experience, but one which is unique to us as individuals.


message 42: by Aarti (new)

Aarti Patel (apatelnd) I think just about anything in life can have blocks come up. As you work through them, you can face life challenges too.


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