Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Big Block

Carolyn and I have both been struggling with the big B recently, you know ... the dreaded writer's block. And I saw on Facebook our friend Cheryl also has the big B.

I know that my blocks usually are life related. The more I might stress in real life, the less my juices for any creativity run. So as I plan on buying a home, adjust to a new boss at work ... I cook less, clean less and write less.

Carolyn is free to correct me but hers seem to run concurrent with her tiredness. she yawns, she doesn't write. She's perky and feeling good: big words come flowing.

I've read some people argue that writer's block isn't real. "Just write through it, you lazy so and so" they claim. I imagine that they don't understand the inability to write a word that pleases you or to create anything that works in any way.

Writing takes place on a lot of levels. The best writing is when the story uses you as nothing but a typing machine. When you don't have to play with the words or think about what comes next: you just type and it writes itself. It's not mystical, it isn't pulling the words out of the air; it's just that sometimes the story is already complete in your head (whether or not you realize it) and so it flows out easily.

Many times it isn't quite as easy and you fight for the proper words, struggle to get it right. That's much more common and is so rewarding. Knowing your story and working to make it right.

And then sometimes words refuse to come. Everything is wooden or leaden and has no flow. No interest. Then you fight the dreaded block or give into it hoping it'll pass and you can write again.


  1. I think you've hit on a few great things here. EVERY artist in any form has Blocks; whether it be writing, singing, sculpting, or interpretive dance. It happens. I think it would impossible and exhausting to be that creative all the time. The other thing I like is your difference between practicing and honing your craft (i.e writing but still fighint for the right words) and genuine, true inspiration where everything flows. Everyone wants to be in the inspiration stage but they don't understand you still have to work for it. Keep in mind that all Blocks eventually go away, and you'll know when it does (obviously). Good luck!

  2. I love writing.

    There is nothing more satisifying than creating a great character or successfully putting the picture/movie in your head into words that allow others to share your vision.

    For awhile there, I was going strong, writing every day and was pretty much pleased with what I was producing. It wasn't polished, probably not even publishable, but it made me happy.

    I don't know what it is, but I'm so tired now. No energy,no real interest in much of anything. I'm in Lori's third stage, where words are stilted and read like a seven year old wrote them.

    It's no longer fun.

    I've never been ambitious enough to care about being published (as it turns out, that's probably a good thing, lol), but I do miss the excitement and the satisfaction of telling a good yarn. Through pms, emails and the telephone, Lori and I have shared it all. I miss that too.

    It will resolve itself one day, I'm sure. Either I'll be writing or I won't. But I think my foray into authorhood (is that a word?) will make me a much better reader.

    Or - thinking of some posts I've seen - not. Heh.

  3. Boy oh boy, all your comments really helped me get over the dreadful slump I've been having.
    Thankyou so much for your insights. I had them in my mind when I cranked out 2k words. woo and hoo!

    I agree with everything you said Lori. When the story is clear in your head, it IS as though you are merely a typing machine.

    I love it when that happens.

    My problem was that I kept on running into the same hitch in the confrontation scene I've been trying to write for three weeks - and today it finally came together ( well kind of ) when I changed the emotional responses and shifted POV. Suddenly it started to come together - and I literally couldn't type fast enough.

    These past few weeks had been murder. I was starting to hate the story, hate writing, hated trying and failing to write - and hating that I felt this way about activities that I had previously adored.

    Carolyn, I want to get back the simple joy of telling a story to people... and all of the things I used to be able to do without worrying about them.

    I called it creating 'plausible bullshit'

    I love it when I can engage with my MCs to the extent that they are with me all day and I can't wait to get back at the end of a long day to resume directing their lies and loves.

    I don't know why the WB hit me the way it did. Maybe I should just be grateful that I've beaten it this time (I hope)

    I can understand when life gets busy that writing can suffer, but I know that in my case, it helped me get through a period of worry and illness.

    I guess everyone finds their own way eventually.

  4. I'd add my own 2c worth but I'm kinda stuck for ideas at the minute...

  5. I'm fighting my own scattered thoughts most of the time. I sit to write but then think about something else and pull up Google...

    I wonder if writing on the computer is a bigger challenge than sitting and writing in a notebook.

  6. I miss writing on paper...

    It is a challenge using hte puter - too many distractions. Between Google and HO games, it's a wonder I can write at all. I so hear where you're coming from Lori.

    Maybe we need to get together, in a room with no puters, just pen and paper and see if that helps.

    Only I envisage we'll be too busy plotting, scheming and laughing to write. I think we're screwed if we do or don't lol.