WRITER’S BLOCK MUST DIE!

When sitting down to write this blog my brain immediately shut down giving me a perfect case of, ta da, Writer’s Block. Ouch, not a great way to start this thing but oh well, I shall persevere. I decided that maybe my Roget’s Thesaurus might be of help so I looked up the word block, as in hinder. I was amazed at all the different words that I recognized from going through the dark time of the dreaded block.

Here are just a few that any writer who has experienced Writer’s Block should recognize:

Hindrance, obstruction, stoppage, constriction, restriction, restraint, discouragement, opposition, impediment, obstacle, snag, hitch, clog, preventative, lock, barricade, dam up, interrupt, choke, frustrate, baffle, defeat, cripple and dishearten.

When you get into Writer’s Block it can feel like you are suffocating, as if a giant boa constrictor is squeezing the life out of you. Your thoughts are impeded, dammed up within you and you are frustrated, baffled and disheartened over your efforts to break free. The words are obstructed, the opposition within you fierce and if you let it, it can defeat you. But there is also a very simple solution.

The most important word in the writer’s vocabulary is perseverance. Persist, go on, keep on, hold on, maintain your course, endure, and be steady and constant. Develop some backbone, stamina, tenacity and staying power. Stir up your courage, stay the course, walk through the fire and keep going through thick and thin.

In other words, no matter what it feels like, keep writing. Write and re-write and re-write again. Delete, re-do, edit and backspace but never, ever quit. As long as you persevere, keep going, don’t stop or give up you will make it through because the one thing that will kill Writer’s Block, is writing. Don’t worry about if it stinks or not. Don’t let fear have the upper hand, just keep writing. Ignore the voices of doubt that will plague you and keep typing away because eventually the block will dissolve under your assault of words. The dam will break and your words will once again flow freely upon the page.

Never give up and never surrender or as my handy Roget’s says; die in harness.
(Not literally of course!)

21 comments:

Reese Mobley said...

Nice job, Becky. Writer's block comes in all shapes and sizes and for all kinds of reasons. The ultimate key is to forge ahead and know you can fix the mistakes later. Thanks for the reminder.

Becky A said...

Hi Reese,

Glad you stopped by. It's a little lonely here in cyberspace this month. Perhaps everyone else "died in harness???" :-)

Keep writing, Becky

Pat Davids said...

Becky,
I'm not quite dead in the harness, but close to it. I've been stumped, halted, and or diverted from my creativity by the awesome mess of my recently completed novel.

Normally, I avoid writer's block by thinking about the money I'll lose if the next book isn't done on time. That is a powerful motivator.

Your post is dead on. The only cure for the dreaded beast is to write something. Even if it sucks. As Resse so wisely pointed out, you can fix it later.

snwriter52 said...

Becky I've finished two books. One may never see the light of day. Second one is in rewrites. Several more are in different stages. When I'm not at my desk working on a story. I'm reading. Writers magazines, researching about a topic. Uusally I read two books at a time. Working on character sheets, etc. I think you get the point. After I finished my Murder mystery/suspense, I started another story. I probably have five pages. I wrote a few things down about the character which developed from what I wrote. I looked at it the other day, it needs work. But that is okay. I wanted to have something, so I didn't look at a blank screen. I try to never think or say Writers Block. For me that is negative thinking. The point I'm making I don't want to be a writer who never writes another story. I love telling stories. I get excited when my characters develop into real people, or I think in my head they do. Is writing easy? No. Is anything in life easy? No. It's called perseverance. Motivation is the key. My very good friend Starla use to say to me. You have a good story. There are a few things you need to work on, but keep going. You can fix it later.
Great blog Becky. Thanks for sharing.
Sharon.

Roxann Delaney said...

Sorry I haven't commented, Becky. I'm trying to beat a deadline. :)

I read somewhere that there's no such thing as writer's block. On the other hand, did you know Wikipedia has a listing for it?

I think the cause of writer's block falls into three categories.

1. Not knowing enough about your story or the characters. This can happen at any time while you're writing, but most often in the beginning.

2. Knowing your story and characters, but unsure of the best way to write what needs to be written.

3. Fear.

#1 can be solved by taking some time to think about your story. At least know how you want to begin, what the main turning point (usually in the middle of the book) is going to be, knowing the black moment and the resolution (HEA). Preparation is the key word.

#2 can often be solved with a little help from your friends. It's called brainstorming. Writing friends can be more helpful with this than non-writing, because they know what's acceptable and what isn't.

Or check online for some ideas to jumpstart your personal brainstorming. Clustering (I think it's called) is a great tool for breaking out and finding new ideas.

#3 is something we all have as humans. The first step is to think positive. "I can do this." The second is to do it. Get the words on paper. You can fix or even toss later, but there will always be a sliver of an idea within them, so at least you have something.

Roxann Delaney said...

If you need a jump start aka a push, try BIAW. Set your goal either at what you know you'll need and know you can write. If that's 1 page, it's a goal.

November is National Novel Writing Month, so make use of it. NaNoWriMo has been a big boost for many writers. It begins November 1. Check it out.

There's a group of writers on Facebook who are involved in a writing challenge. 100 words a day, every day, for a set number of days. Think about it. 100 words is less than half a page! We could do the same.

Becky A said...

Hello Ladies,
I'm so excited to find you all alive and kicking!

The only time I actually had what I would call writer's block was when I came to that place in my first book where everything kind of shifts around the corner. It has a name but it eludes me at the moment. It was like pulling teeth and I finally gave up for awhile because I didn't know how to proceed. Eventually the story called loud enough that I sucked it up and just started writing. Eventually I wrote myself around the corner and away we went. That's when I learned to keep writing and clean up the mess after I broke through the block.

Fear was definitely a part of what I remember feeling. Now I have three books going and if I get stuck on one, I can work on another until I'm ready to kill that block!

Or I can resort to cleaning my house. Not!
Becky

Becky A said...

Hey Pat,

Somthing you might try to re-energize your writing juices is to write something just for fun. Something you WANT to write about, the way YOU want to write it. It may be a short story, a poem, a letter to your grandkids. Whatever turns your crank.
That frame of mind has really got me going now. I'm writing for the pleasure of it and I may not get rich, but I'll die happy. And who knows, maybe they'll find my stories buried in an attic and my great grandkids WILL get rich!

Roxann Delaney said...

Becky,

I rarely go back to fix something when I'm in the middle of the story. Oh, if it's a little something, a few words on the page I'm still on, I'll fix it.

I'm sure you won't be surprised that I have charts for the notes I fill in for when edit time rolls around. --big grin-- I try to factor in a cooling off period before going back to edit so I can see it all with a fresher eye.

Not every writer does that. Some go back through what they wrote the day before and edit/fix. When they're done, they have a fairly clean story that only needs a little polishing. It may take them a little longer to write the book, but they don't have to scratch their heads during edits.

2-3 edits is my norm after the first draft, with a final polish before it's sent out. I'm not saying that's the correct way to do it, because there is no correct way. It's what works best for each writer.

Roxann Delaney said...

One more thing. Just last week I dumped 5 pages. They weren't bad, just not right. Doesn't mean they were good either. --grin-- There were a few tidbits that were salvagable, but not worth keeping the entire scene. I started over, and the second try worked much better.

Becky A said...

Hey Roxann,
Unfortunately I'm a perfectionist at heart. I am constantly editing my work and that's one reason it seems to take forever. :) Since learning more of how to do this, I now have less editing to do but it still seems to take forever as I am thinking everything over three times before I type it! :-) I've also found that sometimes dumping the whole scene is the only way to go. Makes me wonder where my brain was at when I first wrote it.

Gotta get back to work, I'm on a roll. Yippee!

Penny Rader said...

Becky, your post is very timely for me. I've been stopped dead in the water for a while. Mostly, from fear. I've been saying that I'm starting a new series for several months now. That thought was scaring me, I guess, worrying about how I was going to do it. So now I'm just taking it a one thing at a time. I'm not actively writing the first book yet, but I'm taking a step here and step there. I have glimmers of the hero and heroine. And I'm doing a bit of research, which always make me feel good. I'm hoping it will all come together soon.

Jeannie said...

While I don't usually lack for ideas for stories (the plot bunnies never leave me alone), I do often get bogged down while working on a story. I'm a pantster, and sometimes I don't know enough about the characters or where the story is going. Most of the time I just have to write my way through it.

It makes me a slow writer, and I often have trouble completing longer projects. I've experimented with a lot of techniques for writing faster, and I tried on Nanowrimo last year (I did miserably). But my old reliable trick for facing a blank page or a stuck story remains a kitchen timer.

I set it for fifteen minutes because I know I can write something, even if it's only drivel, for that long. It breaks down the story to a size I can handle, and once I get started putting words on paper, I can go for a longer period of time.

Starla Kaye said...

I could soooo identify with your saying "when sitting down to write this blog my brain immediately shut down." I feel that way every time I face having to blog, either here or on my two other blogs. I have serious Blog Writer's Block.

I'm a combo plotster-pantster, more of one than the other based on what story I'm working on. Some stories just flow from my fingertips (the brain gets involved when I can't remember how to spell something). Some stories involve too much brain interference and I struggle more. That probably sounds crazy. I can live with that.

The stories with more "brain interference" give me the most grief in the writing process. They're the ones I "fight" with the characters and ram head first into various writer's blocks. But I persevere onward. Battered, bruised, I eventually win the battle and can write those sweet little words The End.

Becky A said...

Penny,
You've got the goods girl so get that oar out and start paddling. Slap that water until you start rolling again. Sometimes we write better with our brain off because we think too much about the "what ifs". So don't think about the end of that series, only think about the beginning. Get that aggression going and dive back in. We're all rooting for you; you can DO IT!

Becky A said...

Hi Jeannie,
I have to ask, what's a Nanowrimo?
It sounds like a diseased worm! Ick!
I like the kitchen timer idea. Our minds can either make us feel like we don't have enough time to write or we don't have enough to write to fill the time. Funny how we usually are our own worst enemy.
Thanks for another great idea at beating the old Writer's Block.

Becky A said...

Thank you Starla,it's nice to know I'm not the only one that freezes when it's time to blog. I agonize over the comments half the time too. For me I think it's that annoying perfection issue, how about you?
I can identify with your brain getting in the way too. I've seen that myself and it's a pain. You would think we would have more control over our own mind but apparently, it has a "mind" of it's own. Ha!

Nina Sipes said...

Becky,
I'm all for it dying. I've been suffering for a couple of years to get a book out that I promised would be out next. I just don't know where these characters are going. Now, I'm mad at them. They've stolen premo writing time. They've thumbed their nose at each other. I'm about to abandon THEM for a while and begin another WIP. I'm not sure that's wise, but wasting time one time wasters isn't either. I guess. So, this is the next question. How many Works in Progress can a person have and do justice to them? I really want to know.
Nina

Pat Davids said...

Nina,
I've kept three balls in the air at once, a new work in progress, revisions on another and a third book for myself.
It's hard, but it can be done.

Nina, don't give your characters so much control over your life. The story is in YOU, not in them.

Jeannie said...

Nanowrimo is National Novel Writing Month. It occurs every year in November. Roxanne referred to it in her earlier post.

Becky A said...

Hello Miss Nina,
I have no clue on how many you can work on at a time and do them justice. But someone who shall remain nameless from swKs is the one who suggested I try it! If you're not on a deadline then write what you have the desire to write. Set the other stuff aside and get the juices flowing again, then go back to it. If you're on a deadline then turn off your brain and let the creative part of you just go wherever it wants. You might be surprised at what comes out. If you need some help you know that we would all be happy to brainstorm with you. As Jeannie mentioned, the plot bunnies runneth over and we like to share! You can do it, just relax and have some fun.