Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Curse of Writer's Block

People talk about writer's block like it's the worst thing in the world, and, for a lot of writers, it can be. When you know there's a story in there that needs to come out and you just can't find the words, you might become frustrated or depressed. I have the following suggestions for helping to combat writer's block.

1. Watch some movies on a subject matter similar to your plot and keep your brain fed along those lines.
2. Watch some movies that are entirely different and give your brain a break.
3. Read for inspiration.
4. Play the "what if" game - do some brainstorming and ask yourself, "What if this happened" or "What if this character was killed," etc.
5. Talk your plot over with a friend or a spouse. Often, talking about it will spark new ideas.

However, these ideas aren't the main point of this blog post. I actually want to talk about why I feel that writer's block is not a curse, but instead, is a message.

The times when I've had writer's block have been the times when I needed to focus on something else. I believe that the cosmos tells us things, and if we're being stumped in our writing, it's very possible that we need to take a break and work on something else. Writer's block can be a sign of fatigue - do you need to take a break and catch up on some sleep? It can be a sign of being undernourished - have you been skipping meals to fit in your writing? It might indicate that you need to turn your brain off and let it rest. I don't see writer's block as being a bad thing - I see it as being an indicator of a problem that can be fixed.

Writing is hard. It involves the emotions, and that's exhausting. It involves the brain, and that's exhausting too. Then there are the physical aspects - you're sitting still for long stretches without exercise, you're typing or writing with a pen, both of which are hard on the hands, and you're giving yourself eye strain. You are taxing your body when you write. and if you don't take the time to rebuild, of course you're going to burn out.

So listen to those messages and give yourself what you need, and maybe you'll find that the writer's block goes away more quickly.



Thanks a lot
I really needed this

Lori Folkman said...

Well said! I get writers block when my house gets messy, which is my family's way of telling me they need some attention too. :)

Marsha Ward said...

Good food for thought, Tristi. Thanks for posting your ideas (and thanks for not using Captcha!).

Jennifer Jensen said...

Good points, Tristi. I"ve found that writer's block often hits when I just don't know enough about the story. A scene/chapter/section can be hard to write because I don't know the characters well enough to know what they'd go; because I don't know where the plot is going; because I don't know the setting details to flesh out what I do know of the plot, etc. etc. So like you said above, I turn to something else related - freewriting character sketches or description, plot brainstorming (throw out the first few ideas - they're too easy), research on time and place, and such. Or I go for a walk and talk it through, hoping no one's around to hear me!

Unfortunately, unlike Lori above, I can easily ignore a messy house!

Anonymous said...

Great tips!

Daphne Habel said...

Great article.

Hillary Sperry said...

Nice to visit your site and see the other things you're thinking about :) I agree with the blessings of writers block. Sometimes for me it also shows me when something isn't quite working and I have to rethink how I got to this point... You know, in all my vast novel writing experience :) Hope you're having a great week!

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