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Best Cure for Writer's Block?

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message 1: by John (new)

John Cicero | 71 comments Mod
Ok, we have all had it one time or another. Let's try to help each other with this one...

Tell us, what is your best cure for writers block?

What do you do when the creative juices are just not flowing?


message 2: by Toni (new)

Toni Nelson (goodreadscomtoninelson) | 20 comments My desk is situated in front of my office window which overlooks my rose garden. Often times I will gaze out over my rose garden and my mind seems to find a place of serenity verses the turmoil of writer's block. If that doesn't work, chocolate helps!


message 3: by Timothy (new)

Timothy Hallinan | 25 comments The only cure for writer's block (for me) is writing. I write even if it's crap, because at least I'm still working with the characters and the idea. For me, the only way to keep a book alive is to work on it daily, whether I'm producing good material or not. I can always fix bad writing, but there's nothing I can to to an empty page. I have a HUGE area on my website that deals with this: http://www.timothyhallinan.com/writer...


message 4: by J. (new)

J. Guevara (jguevara) | 14 comments Scotch on the rocks!


message 5: by Sharon (new)

Sharon (fiona64) I work on something else. :-) When I had a freelance editing job recently, it jogged something loose in my brain for my latest novel WIP.

Of course, I'm stalled again; that sophomore slump thing is real. ;->


message 6: by Brigid ✩ (new)

Brigid ✩ My theory is that "writer's block" doesn't exist. It's an excuse not to try. If I'm stuck on something, it's usually because I'm just procrastinating and/or I just don't feel like writing. It's not that I can't write. Usually if I go do something else for a while––like read, draw, listen to music––then I'll feel like writing again. You sort of have to force yourself to write, sometimes. I often surprise myself and find out, once I actually try to write, that I have ideas, after all.


message 7: by Sharon (new)

Sharon (fiona64) ♥ Brigid ♥ wrote: "My theory is that "writer's block" doesn't exist. It's an excuse not to try. If I'm stuck on something, it's usually because I'm just procrastinating and/or I just don't feel like writing. It's not..."

There is a certain degree of truth to that. "Writer's block" is really "I'm feeling stalled *right now,*" not "I'm stalled forever." Sometimes you just need to look at something from a different perspective, or even put it down for a while and come back to it.


message 8: by Daniele (new)

Daniele Lanzarotta (danielelanzarotta) | 19 comments I agree with a lot of what Brigid said. I see 'writer's block' as a state of mind. If you are not into writing at a specific time of the day, just take some time away to do something else until you feel inspired again.


message 9: by Ednah (new)

Ednah Walters (Authorednah) | 4 comments Writer's block or muse on vacation drinking maragarita while I write jibberish? A glass of wine and my favorite TV show on Hulu, or hitting the gym works as a cure. If the block persists for days, I pick up a book from my TBR pile and start reading. My muse tends to run back to me...lol.


message 10: by Arch (new)

Arch  | 105 comments I have been writing for 23 years and I have never had writer's block. I have had days, when I didn't feel like writing. Well, sitting down at my computer and writing. I'm forever writing. I do like 98% of my writing in my head. I have always done this.

When, I get in the "I don't feeling like writing" mood, I don't write.

I think that when a writer is stuck, the best thing for them to do is not to try to write. Go get inspiration. Go read a book, watch a movie or TV show. Listen to music or anything else that's entertaining. Even exercise. Give your brain time to recuperate, so that it can freshly spill words onto the pages again.

In my opinion, forced writing will never display quality work.


message 11: by Shirley (new)

Shirley Wells (shirleywells) | 13 comments Ooh, the dreaded writer's block. I know what Arch is saying but, when I'm on a deadline, I find it difficult to watch a movie or read a book.

I am a great believer in taking my dogs for a good long walk. (I'm also a great believer in chocolate and whisky.) The only real solution I've found though is to write. Anything. I work on the principle that I can work with words but I can't do anything with a blank page. No matter how awful those words are, I can work with them later.

Also, I try to understand why I have writer's block. Sometimes it's because I'm bored and if that's the case, there's something drastically wrong with the story/chapter/scene I'm working on.

The aim, for me at least, is to get rid of the writer's block and the only way I can do that is write my way out of it. I'll keep writing, rubbish if necessary, until my enthusiasm and excitement returns.


message 12: by Timothy (new)

Timothy Hallinan | 25 comments Exactly. "Write my way out of it." In my experience. both as a novelist and as someone who taught writing the novel for years, when you let writer's block talk you into stopping, there's a good chance your book will die. After all, that's what writer's block "wants" -- for you to stop writing. I also write my way through it, even if there are days and days of junk, and at the same time I go back in the story and try to figure out if and where I went off track. Sometimes writer's block is nature's way of telling you you've lost the thread. But I think you're most likely to find your way home when your fingers are on the keyboard.


message 13: by Dan (new)

Dan Schwent (akagunslinger) I usually bull my way through it after taking my dog for a walk. When I'm in writing mode, I know what I have to get written that day and force myself to get it done. Some days I can get it written in an hour or two and somedays it'll take six.


message 14: by Renee (new)

Renee (rjmiller) I don't believe in it. Writer's block is like the Boogeyman; it only affects you if you believe in it. Mostly I see it as an excuse. You're stuck and rather than do the work to figure out why or admit that an idea may not work--voila! Writer's block. Not my fault.

There is always something to write. If something has stalled move on to something else. Write a synopsis, a query, outline something new, I guarantee you'll figure out why you stalled in the process.

Or just acknowledge that sometimes you just don't feel like writing. Go read.


message 15: by Maria (new)

Maria | 10 comments I agree with those who say that writer's block doesn't exist. When you don't feel like writing (which is basically what 'writer's block' is) you need to find something else to do until the creativity comes back, which it will. Everyone has days (or weeks) when they can't think of anything to write, but I think that's the brain's way of saying you've been writing too much and you need to do something else. As writers, our subconscious is constantly ticking away working to create ideas, sometimes it needs time to process those. It can't be forced. If you get a day when you can't write, my advice is don't write that day, do something else. As Renee says, go and read something if you don't feel like writing.


message 16: by Kae (new)

Kae Cheatham (uppitywoman) | 6 comments When my thoughts slow down, I turn to exercise. It's proven that the increase oxygen stimulates brain cells. If I go for a strenuous walk, work out, or just do several hours of work on my property, my word production picks up.

@Arch, who said: "In my opinion, forced writing will never display quality work."

As a former journalist, I can't agree with this. :-)


message 17: by Sharon (new)

Sharon (fiona64) Kae wrote: "@Arch, who said: "In my opinion, forced writing will never display quality work."

As a former journalist, I can't agree with this. :-) "


Another former journalist here. :-)

I concur with Kae. It was not exactly exciting to get some of the assignments I had (at least I didn't have to start with obituaries, as so many new journalists do). Yet, somehow I managed to turn out quality product again and again.

Back to the topic of writer's block, I don't really believe in it per se but I do know that sometimes the ideas aren't flowing as I'd like. I just recently discovered that doing something completely different (in my case, doing some impressionistic drawing with crayons) really unlocked where I was stuck. Whatever method works!


message 18: by Jeanne (new)

Jeanne (jeanne_voelker) Exercise and code-word puzzles get my brain cells moving.


message 19: by Arch (new)

Arch  | 105 comments Maria wrote:"When you don't feel like writing (which is basically what 'writer's block' is) you need to find something else to do until the creativity comes back, which it will.

I disagree. When, I don't feel like writing, it's because I am not in the mood to write. Unlike a lot of writers, my writing starts in my head, before it hit pages. I have always written my story in my head first.

If I am not in the mood to do something, I will not do it.

I have never experienced writer's block in my 23 years of writing.


message 20: by Arch (new)

Arch  | 105 comments Kae wrote:"As a former journalist, I can't agree with this. :-)

Good Kae. Our opinions are different. :)


message 21: by Teric (last edited Oct 11, 2010 06:07AM) (new)

Teric Darken (tericdarken) | 12 comments Daniele wrote: "I agree with a lot of what Brigid said. I see 'writer's block' as a state of mind. If you are not into writing at a specific time of the day, just take some time away to do something else until yo..."

I concur with Daniele. Just take some time away... leave it. I will go on a motorcycle ride, or mow the yard, or take a hike, etc... without trying to purposefully think about the book. In doing so, it seems that, suddenly, out of nowhere, the words come trickling (sometimes flooding) back in or an altogether new scene for the storyline pops into my head.

Teric Darken
<><+><>


message 22: by [deleted user] (new)

Like Arch, I've never experienced writer's block. If I not in the mood, I'm not in the mood, but I always have something brewing.

Still, when my productivity slows down, I usually re-read what I wrote to get the creative juices flowing again and continue from there.


message 23: by [deleted user] (new)

I try not to label anything like wirter's block, but there are definitely time when one feels more inspired than others. I find the best way to work through a rough patch is to just write. Somehow and idea always manages to work it's way forward, even if you have to scrap a few ideas in the mean time. I find if I sit and ponder on the project then nothing gets done and I fall further and further behind.

If I'm having a really hard time with something then I will sit down and hash out the storyline with my husband or my "alpha reader". Sometimes just talking out loud with someone with help spark a new idea in my head! :)


message 24: by Susan (new)

Susan Roebuck (sueroe) | 61 comments Call on a couple of hunky guys and ask them to take it away.


message 25: by Anna (new)

Anna Walls (annalwalls) I've been stuck a time or two. I'm not going to call it writer's block though because I have an entire folder full of ideas I can play with while hashing through a particularly difficult scene in my primary document. However as far as solving the problem in my primary document goes, I find sleeping on it generally turns up a good answer in a day or two.


message 26: by Tracey (new)

Tracey Alley (traceya) I have to agree with Arch - I've never really experienced 'writer's block' because most of it is going on in my head long before it hits the paper. I have days where I feel lazy and don't want to write but then usually the minute I start doing some housework or reading or watching TV I'll get a new scene pop into my head that I just have to sit down and write.


message 27: by Arch (new)

Arch  | 105 comments Tracey,

Sometimes, I get scenes after scenes within minutes. Too bad my brain can't type. lol!


message 28: by Tracey (new)

Tracey Alley (traceya) Arch wrote: "Tracey,

Sometimes, I get scenes after scenes within minutes. Too bad my brain can't type. lol!"


I'm hearing you Arch - I carry around a notebook and try and jot things down but my handwriting's awful and sometimes I can't read it myself. lol. Maybe I should get one of those micro tape recorders or something as my mind is always firing :)


message 29: by Arch (new)

Arch  | 105 comments Tracey wrote:"I'm hearing you Arch - I carry around a notebook and try and jot things down but my handwriting's awful and sometimes I can't read it myself. lol. Maybe I should get one of those micro tape recorders or something as my mind is always firing :)"

Yeah, maybe you need one of those micro tape recorders. :)


message 30: by Trish (new)

Trish Lamoree (tlamoree) | 9 comments A great author once told me the best advice I ever got about "writer's block." A writer's job is 85% daydreaming and 15% writing. It was an epiphany for me. All the time I'd spent guilty and berating myself about being non-productive (ie not writing my 5,000 to 8,000 words per day)... That time. That berating time. THAT was the non-productive part.

Now I cut myself a lot of slack and let myself "daydream." It was the best advice I ever got. I hope it helps someone else, but we all write differently so if it doesn't help you, that doesn't bother me either.

Happy Writing,
Trish


message 31: by Anna (new)

Anna Walls (annalwalls) Great one Trish


message 32: by Trish (new)

Trish Lamoree (tlamoree) | 9 comments Thanks Anna!


message 33: by Tracey (new)

Tracey Alley (traceya) Have to agree with you Trish about daydreaming - so much of my work happens in my head long before it sees paper and when I come back to what I've written, if I find it was rubbish I can always delete :) I think it's more important to just write something


message 34: by J.P. (last edited Dec 17, 2010 10:32AM) (new)

J.P. McNeill (mcneillink) | 21 comments I don't really have a problem with writers block and here's why...

I drive trucks roughly 40 hours a week and during that time I'm day dreaming most of it is stupid stuff, like what would shakespeare be like in high school... but everytime I come up with an idea that I think I can really work with I write a small plot into my phone... that night when I get home I make up a folder for that book idea, look up characters names in my guide to naming characters and write a 1 to 2 page plot for the book...

What's nice about this is if I ever get frustrated or stuck with another novel I just open up the folder and work on that idea for the day... the next day usually I've already figured out where I'm going with my main story and the write off continues...

What's nice about this is I never lose a day of writing


message 35: by Karen (last edited Dec 20, 2010 02:00PM) (new)

Karen (karenwb) | 26 comments My cure for writer's block, or whatever you would like to call it, is a trip to Starbucks for a white chocolate peppermint mocha. Everything is better with a hot beverage.


message 36: by Marja (new)

Marja Verschoor-Meijers (marja_meijers) Enough said... if you don't own a dog or drink whisky... just write!


message 37: by Sherri (new)

Sherri Hayes | 14 comments If I'm under a deadline and have to push through a time when the scene just isn't coming to me, I put on some classical music and it helps me focus. Other than that, if there is no real deadline, then I either go for a walk and talk it out, or I think abouot the scene as I'm laying down to bed at night. It's amazing what new directions for stories I've come up with just before I drift off to sleep.


message 38: by Stacey (new)

Stacey O'Neale (staceyoneale) I actually wrote an article about Writers Block for the YA Fantasy Guide: http://tinyurl.com/2g5t52a


message 39: by Liz (new)

Liz Fichera (lizfichera) A long run in the desert helps me. But also moving my "office" to a cafe for an afternoon helps too.


message 40: by Carmen (new)

Carmen | 1 comments As many of you have stated before, I don't believe in writers' block either.

Yes, sometimes I get stuck in some element of plot or character, but the only way to solve the problem is to continue working at it, either sitting in front of the computer or thinking about it while doing other things, even while sleeping.

As Picasso put it: "That inspiration comes, does not depend on me. The only thing I can do is make sure it catches me working."


message 41: by Marja (new)

Marja Verschoor-Meijers (marja_meijers) I've heard writers block was invented in Southern California... an excuse to go to the beach :)


message 42: by Toni (new)

Toni Nelson (goodreadscomtoninelson) | 20 comments Marja wrote: "I've heard writers block was invented in Southern California... an excuse to go to the beach :)"

Marja, That happened to me in my first year of college at SBCC. I almost didn't make it to my second year!


message 43: by Marja (new)

Marja Verschoor-Meijers (marja_meijers) Toni wrote: "Marja wrote: "I've heard writers block was invented in Southern California... an excuse to go to the beach :)"

Marja, That happened to me in my first year of college at SBCC. I almost didn't mak..."


Well, I guess it must be true then... haha!


message 44: by Jude (last edited Jan 19, 2011 04:50PM) (new)

Jude (judehnd) A 1-hour Hot Tub. I seriously can't think of anything even better than that. ^^


message 45: by Marja (new)

Marja Verschoor-Meijers (marja_meijers) A good old fashinoned deadline is probably the best cure for writers-block!


message 46: by Jason (new)

Jason Tesar | 6 comments There are certainly times when my writing feels less-inspired. But it really helps to listen to musical scores that match the mood of the scene I'm writing. Intense battles scenes are easier when I'm listening to The Matrix, or Inception. Other instumental music, like Enya, is a great backdrop for tranquil scenes. As long as I can visualize the scene, I can just describe what I see and what the characters are saying.


message 47: by Cathy (new)

Cathy (cgraceh) | 4 comments There are some fabulous tips and links in this section! There are a few things I have tried when I "don't feel like writing"/have writer's block.

1. Look for or join a new writing group/contest/program etc.

2. Write about something else...not related to your current story

3. Read for fun or inspiration (sometimes I will check out others' blogs for ideas - once I came across the event The 30 Day Blog challenge and used it to jumpstart the habit of writing again)

4. Writing Prompts - similar to #2 & 3; there are many web sites and even books (See: Writers Book of Matches: 1,001 Prompts to Ignite Your Fiction)out there solely filled with ideas to prompt your writing - these can be helpful to just practice writing


message 48: by Karen (new)

Karen (karenvwrites) | 5 comments If I am blocked on my WIP I try working on something else entirely---Or I merely post things on fb -- sometimes something will twig and I am able to add even a paragraph to the main project.


message 49: by Nicole (new)

Nicole Ash (nicole_ash) | 4 comments I have problems finding my muse sometimes. Sometimes, it just seems to sneak off on me and I wonder if I'll ever find it again. At the moment, I haven't written anything (bookwise) for a fairly long time. Not since my brother died suddenly last March. I've been feeling more like writting in recent days, though, so I'm ever hopeful.


message 50: by Arch (new)

Arch  | 105 comments Take things slowly Nicole.


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