Creative Constipation

WB 2Ah, I was hoping to find you here. A few weeks ago, I diagnosed myself with a solid dose of the disease every writer dreads…writer’s block.
I’ve had twinges of WB before, but nothing like this. I even doubt my usual genre and question whether I actually have what it takes. I float across several genres and struggle to find my fit, even though I’ve made it work so many times before.

They say the only cure for WB is to WRITE. Believe me, that’s what I’ve been trying to do. But, the more I write, the more I’m convinced I can’t do it. It’s not due to a lack of ideas or writing material. In fact, I’ve been working on three great story ideas, each at various stages of development. I’ve even gone as far as creating detailed outlines for all of them, doing character sketches, writing enticing beginnings, multi-faceted middles, and unpredictable endings with cool twists and turns, have come up with character names and clever titles (for the most part)…BUT when I sit down to flesh out my stories, I sit staring into space and struggle to make progress. I know what works for me, and I know what doesn’t. I understand the practicalities of pushing through and just writing. But it’s not as easy as that. (In case you think you’ve cured me, no, I’m not working on all three ideas at once. :] )

I’ve officially put aside (more like ripped to shreds and chucked into a blender) my latest WIP (Work in Progress). I heard once that there’s no such thing as writer’s block, and at one stage believed sufferers should just “get over it.” Hoo boy, how wrong I was.

Having said that, however long this takes there’s one thing I will never do. I will never give up.

I Googled this dread disease and here’s a cool article I found. (If you love the title of this blog, here’s where you get to see where it came from.) http://goinswriter.com/how-to-overcome-writers-block/

I’d love to hear from those of you who have vanquished this enemy and lived to tell the tale (literally).

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7 thoughts on “Creative Constipation

    • Thanks so much. Maybe that’s what I need to do – focus on READING for a while. I love that suggestion! If I’m honest with myself, I haven’t actually read a book in ages as I’ve been so focused on writing, so maybe that’s the break I need.

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  1. I hate that statement – there’s no such thing as writer’s block. I went through it for several weeks and then on and off for several months a while back. It was torture! And trying to write didn’t help. Nowadays, I find if I’m getting close to that again, it’s time to take a break. And I do – go for a walk, knit or just do something AWAY FROM THE SCREEN! Staring at a blank screen is the worst thing for writer’s block. I once took my laptop outside and sat on the grass. It helped a bit. I also now take the weekend off – I never write on weekends and it charges my batteries. It would be different for those who have a full-time job. I hope you come right!

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  2. I think you might need to dig a little deeper and figure out what’s causing the block.

    I get blocked when I don’t understand my characters well enough. I try to force them to do something they don’t want to do. They fight back and we end up dead in the water, floating along an endless sea. The way I get over this is to sit down with a pen in hand and interview my characters to figure out exactly what’s going on with them. More times than not, the character reveals a secret I didn’t know before. She doesn’t want to go out on that ledge to retrieve the hundred dollar bill she dropped because she’s terrified of heights. Ah, who knew? Not me. Sometimes knowing them better is enough to get the wheels spinning again.

    In the beginning, I got blocked because I didn’t value myself as a writer. I had so many other things that I had to do, like the laundry, bills, cleaning the toilets. I made writing the last possible thing I needed to do in a day, or week, month…that was nonsense. I am a writer. I’m a better Mom, friend, daughter, worker, human when I get to write. It is dark chocolate for my soul. It is my business and my passion. Make it a priority.

    I’ve gotten blocked because I didn’t really know where I was going. I solved this problem by writing the synopsis first. I left myself playing room to wander off and explore within the synopsis, but I had a road map to follow and no excuses. Plus, if I got hung up on a scene I could leave a note to come back to that spot and go and write another scene.

    I get blocked because I dread what’s coming next. I love my characters but they have to go through conflict, really bad stuff, to get to the good stuff. I’m fearful for them. This is where I get out a timer and forcing myself to write for twenty minutes. Push through.

    I used to get stuck because I wanted the book to be perfect. I let go of that notion and worked to write the first draft. Perfection can come in the multiple edits after the draft is done. My best stories are the ones when I let myself free and enjoyed the ride.

    But the worst block comes when I feel I am not up to the task of writing this bigger-than-life story.
    If this is where you are, you’ll have to talk yourself through it. This is what I suggest:

    Go back and look at the other stories you wrote. You did that. YOU. And you can do it again. You’ve got three stories here. Pick the one you love the most at the moment and write it. Set goals for yourself. Determine how many words you will have written at the end of the book and how many days it will take you to do it. This will give you an average word count per day. Set up a spreadsheet to track the word count and stick to it. Now, pick up your feet and run. No kidding, just go. Allow yourself to have fun with it. Find your joy. Run! Fast and hard toward the finish line. You’ll make mistakes. you’ll stumble, dust yourself off and go. If you need to, set a timer for twenty minutes and don’t let anything stop you until the bell goes off. How many words did you write in those twenty minutes? You will be amazed.

    If you hit a deep, mucky spot and you start to sink, leave yourself a sign to come back to it, crawl out and start running again. Hit your word counts every day. Soon you’ll look back and realize you have a complete rough draft. Congratulations! But it is muddy and might have a few signs sticking out of it. That’s okay. Let it sit for a couple of weeks. Two at a minimum. Then put your editor’s hat on and polish it up.

    Finishing that one book will give you the strength you need to finish the others.

    You can do it! Best of luck.

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    • Thanks so much, Kim. I love your ideas and suggestions…and most of all, your writing style. With all the great info, your comment could’ve been a whole blog post on its own (and no, I’d never ask you to cut it down; it’s great!!). I can see this is a subject you’re passionate about. Lots of food for thought.

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