Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Writer's Block = Bigfoot?

Every writer seems to have something to say about writer's block. Generally I see one of two positions -

Option 1. It's a real thing that writers have to deal with.

Option 2. It's a myth, and I refuse to believe it.

I've decided that writer's block must be akin to the elusive Bigfoot. Some swear on their lives that he exists, while others say such a thing is silly.

I am taking the third ground. The third ground, you ask? You either believe something, or you don't. Well...

Some might say that I've never suffered from writer's block, but I don't believe that, I think I suffer from it every day.

Some people truly do have an entire book mapped out step-by-step in their heads (and on paper), but I'm not one of those people. I play with it as it goes, which makes editing a beast, but I like to approach it in the same way I get to know someone, little by little.

I often come upon snags where I don't know what's going to happen next, i.e. Writer's block.

Coming back to my comparison in the hunt for Bigfoot, I can think he's real, but that doesn't mean I am going to let it consume my life.

Option 3 - Believe in it, but don't let it control you.

When it comes to writer's block I look at it like this, if it's going to cross my path, I will do what it takes to come out ahead.

If that means I spend hours writing meaningless dribble until I figure out what I should be writing, then so be it.

If it means I watch any every movie I can get my hands on, then so be it.

If it means I re-read all my favorite novels, then so be it.

Whenever I hit a wall I actively hunt for my inspiration, and usually it comes.

Do you believe in writer's block? How do you conquer your demons?


Krista said...

I believe writers block is very real for some people, and a total myth for others.

I have experianced writers block before. But instead of focusing on ways to conquer it - I seek to avoid it. For me that means taking the time to develop the story and handle the kinks before I write.

So for me, outlining helps prevent writers block.

Angela V. Cook said...

If you look up writer's block on Wikipedia, it says something about a lack of confidence affecting your ability to write. I have gone through this--big time. I don't how to explain it, except to say it's similiar to stage fright. Someone with stage fright can barely get the words out--not because they don't know their lines, but because of fear (lack of confidence). When I went through it (after a agent's rejection said my writing didn't "sparkle"), I literally couldn't even write a blog post.

So, yes, I think it's a very real thing, but I think it's different than simply not knowing what should happen next in your WIP. I think it's more of a psychological thing . . . sort of a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Good post, Jen!

Jessie Humphries said...

I think its real. And sometimes I deny it. So I am in both camps. Though I think its best to research in those moments. For purposes, inspiration, ideas...etc.

Donna K. Weaver said...

I get tired sometimes and just need a break. Either another project helps or doing some leisure reading.

So far anyway.

Elizabeth Edmondson said...

Yes, writer's block is akin to stage fright - not the nerves that wind you up to a great performance, but the annihilating terror that can end a career. Cynics say, get over it, plumbers don't get plumber's block, if you write for a living, just write. There's some truth in that - I reckon contracts and deadlines are great helpers in overcoming writer's block.

Emily Moir said...

I believe in writer's block. It usually ends with me falling asleep on my manuscript. Then when I wake up I'll be more inspired, but facing work in the real world. Thank God for hand held recording devices.

Mary Kate Leahy said...

I don't think that "writer's block", i.e. some mythical evil fairy that affects only writers, is a real thing. It's just like with anything else, a lack of confidence, or ideas, or motivation, or something else that keeps you from being able to produce good work. But that lack of (fill in your particular issue) definitely does affect writers, and each writer needs to find a way to power through it. Or hopefully avoid it.