writer's block and more .....

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writer's block and more .....

Post by Preacher » August 7th, 2012, 8:28 am

I have a complete project that is with a friend -a published writer -for editing. While i wait for those edits to return i figured i would keep writing, I have two different projects to work on: one is a sequel to my first thriller. The other, more an adventure novel that mixes science and mythology and stuff like that. I had what i thought was a good working idea for both. I chose one and started. Then, i stalled. Figuring maybe a change was in order, i went to the other. I got to a certain point, then stalled. Now i have a concrete block stuck in my head that i can't get rid of. I sit and stare at blank pages for long periods of time, seemingly waiting for the perfect sentence to appear on the page. It is very frustrating. Somewhere along the line it also feels like i have lost my voice, or maybe i never really had my own voice. I look back at my first complete project and i just don't know if the narrative voice in it is really my voice or if it is just a conglomeration of the voices of different authors that i read. I am confused and in a bad place, not sure where to go, what to do, how to proceed. I want to work on one of my projects but can't seem to get over this storm of confusion raging in my head.

Any suggestions?

Thanks all

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Re: writer's block and more .....

Post by dios4vida » August 7th, 2012, 11:21 am

Suggestions? Sure. Deep breaths, junk food of your choice, tea, new books (the reading kind, not the writing kind), and time off.

It sounds like you've been working a lot and working hard. The human brain can only be so creative for so long before it just peters out. This is normal. Everyone needs time away from writing. For some people, after a weekend they're refreshed and rarin' to go. For others, a good month or two between projects is a necessity.

My husband made a great analogy when I was struggling with this a few months ago. He said that the writing part of my brain was a bucket filled with words. To write, I had to take words out of the bucket. Lots of writing, and the bucket's empty. There's nothing left to draw from. Ergo, writer's block. The bucket will gradually refill itself, but writing takes the words out faster than they're replenished. Reading, watching movies, playing video games, any kind of creative stimuli will speed up the refill, so I can start writing again sooner.

Maybe your "bucket" is just empty, and you need to fill it back up with some awesome words for a while. Eventually, it'll be overflowing and the pressure of the words in your bucket will break down the concrete block holding you back.

And above all, relax. Stress and worry aren't gonna help any. (Heh, this advice coming from a paranoid worrywart. Awesome.)

As to the worrying that you never had a voice, etc. - that happens. We all doubt. Don't let them get to you. I know it's impossible to ignore them, but worries plague all of us, and if you dwell on them you'll never be confident enough in your writing to go big, be fearless, and write to the best of your ability (which, after all, is what writing's all about).
Brenda :)

Inspiration isn't about the muse. Inspiration is working until something clicks. ~Brandon Sanderson

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Re: writer's block and more .....

Post by polymath » August 7th, 2012, 11:56 am

Switching modes, or codes, from reworking to planning and drafting mode is tough. You've been in hypercritical mode during reworking mode wearing an editor hat.You've gouged a brain lateralization groove, emphasizing left brain logical function. Read a bit for entertainment, suppressing the editor instincts. Sketch a bit, suppressing the editor instincts. Emphasize right brain creative function. Be silly, be verbose, be purple, be free. Put words down on the page that come to mind, rising from free association.

I edit for a living. Switching between modes has been a trial. I find just letting go of editor mode at times frustrates me when I'm working on deadline for a due creative project.

An exercise for getting over brain frizzen stalled mode I do is think about giving a pop quiz on the first day of a composition class, a writing workshop, a writing lecture at a conference. I sketch out the setting, ever changing. Incorporate dialogue, dynamic exchange between hecklers and know-it-alls who don't know squat and class clowns and overachievers and shrinking violets and shell shocked and dry sponges and myself. I describe the characters, inserting as many narrator and character identity markers as come to mind.

I describe the shock and range of emotional reactions the audience expresses when I say Pop quiz and no one has the first clue what the quiz could possibly be about because there's been no instruction given from which to draw. Horror of horrors, unprepared for a quiz, every students' primordial fear. Groans and curses and sharp intakes of breath and grumbling and shouts and jeers and jabs and denials.

I give the quiz instructions. Take out a piece of paper and a writing tool. Write a name in the top left corner. Real name, nickname, identity name, whatever, something that you will know is yours. The quiz rubric: In the body of the page, write down five words. Pass in your papers when you're done. Inevitably, someone will put down five foul words. Someone will put down "five words." Someone will put down five random words. Most will do the free association bit.

Anyway, by the time I start sketching creatively, mischief managed. It's a throw-away sketch anyway. Delete. Delete. Delete. My creative brain is back in the groove and I can move into the project before me.
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Re: writer's block and more .....

Post by Philabuster » August 7th, 2012, 10:09 pm

I'm going through something of this myself. I'm about to start the third act of my book but I've been "about to start the third act of my book" for a couple of weeks now. I make tiny edits to old chapters or outline some notes here and there, but for the most part I'm at a total loss. It's incredibly frustrating when you want to be productive but can't seem to cram it out onto the screen (or paper). The only advice I could give is a lot of what's already been said. Take a break, relax, and focus your creative energy on something else for the time being. Hopefully the words will come naturally.

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Re: writer's block and more .....

Post by sierramcconnell » August 13th, 2012, 6:25 pm

Too much of one thing is too much.

You have to have a balance. It's why many authors still choose to do other things aside from writing. You can't be a writer all the time or your brain would die!

I find I have to switch between playing with my dolls, sewing, antiquing, watching interesting things on Netflix, making jewelry, drawing, painting, relaxing, etc. I went crazy from being in writer mode for so long and I mean it. CRAZY.

I looked like this: :shock:

And I carried the book everywhere. Granted, I got a lot done in a short time, but I also had to take a long time off because I frayed myself so thin and had become so brittle a little thing could break me. I'm back at it, and I'm doing okay. But a human isn't meant to focus for so long on one little thing.

It's insanity. You need variety. It is the spice of life, after all.
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