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Author Topic: Writer's Block  (Read 1442 times)

Online S. K. Inkslinger

Writer's Block
« on: April 23, 2017, 09:50:30 AM »
When you just started to feel bored with your own writings, failed to think up of  a new idea, or just doesn't feel what you are writing at the moment is "the thing", what do you do? I had been planning on a short story for a while now, but when I actually get into writing it I felt tremendously bored, threw down the story and tried to write another one, failed again. Should I just take a break from writing for now?  ???

Offline Nora

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Re: Writer's Block
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2017, 10:27:44 AM »
I take a shower.




Jk. I drop my writing. Do something else. Read, draw... Watching Sanderson's Imagine Dragons always gives me a serious itch to write.
I listen to moody music and work on the monthly contest to keep writing while getting my mind elsewhere.
« Last Edit: April 23, 2017, 10:30:32 AM by Nora »
"She will need coffee soon, or molecular degeneration will set in. Her French phrasing will take over even more strongly, and soon she will dissolve into a puddle of alienation and Kierkegaardian despair."  ~ Jmack

Wishy washy lyricism and maudlin unrequited love are my specialty - so said Lady_Ty

Online S. K. Inkslinger

Re: Writer's Block
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2017, 12:09:00 PM »
I take a shower.




Jk. I drop my writing. Do something else. Read, draw... Watching Sanderson's Imagine Dragons always gives me a serious itch to write.
I listen to moody music and work on the monthly contest to keep writing while getting my mind elsewhere.

I remember seeing that soap from the memes post.  ;D Looking through the topics of the monthly contest does give me some ideas for my short stories, so although I may not be up to date with the current contest, I may be able to find some inspirations from the many years of past contests here on the FF forums. I should probably take a break, to think of it. Thank you for the advice, Nora!   ;)

Offline Nora

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Re: Writer's Block
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2017, 03:27:05 PM »
That's cheap advice but it works. Going back over old work when you've cleared your head can give you surprises and make you want to fix stuff and get back into that world. I know it works for me, and overworking an idea gives me tunnel vision, especially regarding my prose. It's best if I can come back on something after a while.
But I know not everyone is keen on breaks, as they find returning to a text difficult.
There is no win win solution, but the worst would be for you to give it up out of frustration. Just let your ideas simmer at the back of your head and go do something you like.
"She will need coffee soon, or molecular degeneration will set in. Her French phrasing will take over even more strongly, and soon she will dissolve into a puddle of alienation and Kierkegaardian despair."  ~ Jmack

Wishy washy lyricism and maudlin unrequited love are my specialty - so said Lady_Ty

Offline The Gem Cutter

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Re: Writer's Block
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2017, 04:18:33 PM »
Relating specifically to the sensation of boredom, and not to the larger issue of writer's block, I've noticed some trends over the past 18 months.

When I have become bored, it's because I was forcing the narrative to stay in its channels, headed toward where I wanted to go. For example, I was afraid remaining in one setting for a long time would be dull, so I threw my characters on the road - classic quest, right? I hit a wall after a while, listless, no spark. @Not Lu gave some sage advice phrasing the issue this way "Do I want to write a quest story? (I never did) or do I want to write about how a character tried to make things better, but destroyed the world?"

I won't bore you with my other examples, but the point is made. For me, getting off track toward what things are supposed to be, toward what I logically think they should be, bores the hell out of me and makes my writing just as dull as one would suppose. Forcing my face into the cold water of pure inspiration, discomforting as it can be, wakes me up and makes the ideas better - which is exciting and aggravating (see my writer's complaint post ;) ) but not at all dull.
The Gem Cutter
"Each time, there is the same problem: do I dare? And then if you do dare, the dangers are there, and the help also, and the fulfillment or the fiasco. There's always the possibility of a fiasco. But there's also the possibility of bliss." - Joseph Campbell

Offline Dan D Jones

Re: Writer's Block
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2017, 10:13:14 PM »
This probably isn't very helpful but - it depends.   ::)  Even if you love writing, it's work.  Sometimes, hard work.   There are times I don't want to put in the work and my brain starts finding all sorts of excuses not to sit in the chair and put my hands on the keyboards.  When that's the issue, I find that if I just buckle down and force myself that after a bit I'll usually get into the flow and then away I go.  But there are also times that a particular piece just isn't ready to be born.  I always give my self permission to leave one story alone and work on another so long as I'm writing something.  Sometimes I'll leave something, work on another project for fifteen or twenty minutes and then come back to the first piece and find I'm able to make progress.  Just don't give up and do keep pushing yourself.  If it was easy, it wouldn't be rewarding.

Offline LightRunner

Re: Writer's Block
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2017, 10:20:09 PM »
Usually when I have trouble writing a story and the words won't come, it's because I don't quite know where I'm going. That's when I find myself writing, "He walked across the room and went outside, and then he walked down the street to the store..." and on and on and on. Super boring.

In this example, the writing doesn't have enough conflict or external forces acting on the characters. When I notice that I'm struggling, I now know to first look to see if I have enough conflict. Once I've identified the problem, I can usually find a way to fix it that makes writing the story more fun and interesting.

Maybe you can identify a pattern to what's missing from your writing and why it's not holding your interest. For me it's conflict or "interesting things happening" but it could be that the characters aren't individualized enough or you don't have the rules of the setting fleshed out well enough or something else entirely.
« Last Edit: April 23, 2017, 10:22:10 PM by LightRunner »

Offline The Gem Cutter

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Re: Writer's Block
« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2017, 01:49:48 AM »
but it could be that the characters aren't individualized enough or you don't have the rules of the setting fleshed out well enough or something else entirely.

This!
The Gem Cutter
"Each time, there is the same problem: do I dare? And then if you do dare, the dangers are there, and the help also, and the fulfillment or the fiasco. There's always the possibility of a fiasco. But there's also the possibility of bliss." - Joseph Campbell

Online S. K. Inkslinger

Re: Writer's Block
« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2017, 06:07:48 AM »
but it could be that the characters aren't individualized enough or you don't have the rules of the setting fleshed out well enough or something else entirely.

This!

Now this quite struck me too. I've been planning the start of my new short story to be something quite in the genre of crime/ mystery and it just bores the guts out of me. On the other hand, I tried to switch to writing an action scene for a fantasy short story, only to have the action scene in mind but no the plot of where the action should leads to, or any kind of events/ conflicts that should follow the battle. I probably haven't figured out the elements of my story well enough. Time to get back in doing more research and planning.

Offline LightRunner

Re: Writer's Block
« Reply #9 on: April 25, 2017, 04:13:58 AM »
I hope that helps!

Another thing that I find can help is to do something sort of in between writing and planning / outlining. There's a certain mindset that I get into when I'm writing that is different from my mindset when I'm planning. However, if I don't know where I'm going, writing a scene can be really difficult.

Instead, I'll write a kind of summary. It's like writing, but only focusing on the concepts that are necessary for the plot. It allows me to discovery write without taking thousands of words to get my ideas down. It also helps me keep the whole story in my mind without getting lost in the trappings that flesh it out and make it enjoyable to experience.

For example, I would take the action scene that you've written, and when you get to the point where you don't know where you're going, switch to this kind of writing:

"The assassin stares at the bodies on the ground. It is the least he can do to honor them. Then he stalks down the hallway to the next room, where he finds his target. The target is asleep. It turns out to be a decoy."

The ideas tend to come to me better this way once I get going, and it is easier to identify problems when I'm done. And the writing of the full story goes more smoothly too. I also usually hand write, rather than type, when I do this.

I don't know if that will work for you, but sometimes you just have to try things until you find what does work.

Good luck!

Offline CuRoi

Re: Writer's Block
« Reply #10 on: April 30, 2017, 11:16:50 PM »
If the other craft-based suggestions don't work, I'd suggest finding a quick way to recharge. Step away from your writing for a little while next time you feel a bout of writer's block. (a short break, not a break from writing break). A walk might work, or a run, whatever gives you time to reflect. Look through a favorite novel and read a memorable passage or two. Make a habit of whatever it is. For me, I can flip through my old DnD books for a creative jolt. It's like a Pavlovian response.  ;D