Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Writer's... uh, block. That's the word.

I hear writers complain about this malady all the time. They ask me if I suffer from it. No, not really. If I'm not writing, it's not because I'm stuck for ideas or words. It just boils down to the fact... I'm lazy.

There is a big debate as to whether this is a real condition or not. Many writers say no. "Aspiring writers chalk up their difficulties to writer’s block as if that’s an appropriate excuse for not doing their work. But it’s not. They let this thing called writer’s block prevent them from their goals and aspirations of publication for days, weeks, months, or even years. But they don’t have to." (Source)

I agree.

Maybe one of the reasons you can't write is because you have a really bad idea to write about. The cure? Think of something better. Step away from your computer for awhile and get a change of scenery or better yet, mindset. Don't use "Writer's Block" as an excuse.

And above all, DON'T stop writing. Even if it's this: The cow jumped over the moon. Because it may turn out to be the best novel you've ever written. Hell, I may start my next book with that line.

Start by typing a word. Black. Add another. Black cat. Then another. Black cat blues. Make it your goal to write 100 words a day until you get up and running. And the words can be just plain gibberish for all you care. Gibberish for a few days and until you get your head in gear is better than being stuck in the wrong mindset.

Here are some quotes from other writers:
  • "People have writer's block not because they can't write, but because they despair of writing eloquently."
    (Anna Quindlen)
  • "If I waited for perfection, I would never write a word."
    (Margaret Atwood)
  • "Don't get it right, just get it written."
    (James Thurber)
  • "What I try to do is write. I may write for two weeks ‘the cat sat on the mat, that is that, not a rat.’ And it might be just the most boring and awful stuff. But I try. When I’m writing, I write. And then it’s as if the muse is convinced that I’m serious and says, 'Okay. Okay. I’ll come.'"
    (Maya Angelou)
  • "I set myself 600 words a day as a minimum output, regardless of the weather, my state of mind or if I'm sick or well."
    (Arthur Hailey)
  • "All through my career I've written 1,000 words a day--even if I've got a hangover. You've got to discipline yourself if you're professional. There's no other way."
    (J.G. Ballard)
  • "I write 2,000 words a day when I write. It sometimes takes three hours, it sometimes takes five."
    (Nicholas Sparks)
  • "I have to get into a sort of zone. It has something to do with an inability to concentrate, which is the absolute bottom line of writing."
    (Stephen Fry)
  • "My block was due to two overlapping factors: laziness and lack of discipline. If you really want to write, then shut yourself in a room, close the door, and WRITE. If you don't want to write, do something else. It's as simple as that."
    (Mary Garden)


Anonymous said...

An excellent posting once again!!

I agree with you 100% and can say from experience the desire not to write until inspired builds upon itself. Days become weeks become years.

It hasn't been until NaNo I've seen how easily I could have written SOMETHING all along, even if I was too shy for a while to show it.

(And I'm very shy with my writing.)

Love that last quote. :D

My brother always says, "IF something isn't working, do something else."

True words!

Anonymous said...

I linked this post at my blog. I'm not sure how to send a trackback outside Wordpress. :)


Bisi Adjapon said...

So true, girl! I learned this as a journalist. Daily deadlines, weekly headlines; who has time for writers' block?

Great post.