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When Those Perfect Words Just Won't Flow
Amber Wolfe
Posted: Friday, February 27, 2015 9:30 PM
Joined: 7/24/2014
Posts: 539

Picture this:


You're sitting at your desk, happily typing away on your laptop/personal computer. Things are going well. You're burping out page after glorious page of great writing. Your characters are commandeering the show, and they're doing almost everything the way you envisioned it. As the hours tick by, you keep on tapping away at that keyboard, because if you stop now, the scenes and chapters might not go so smooth next time. You can feel the burn in your fingers as they sear over those clickitty-clackitting keys, giving their all to get the words out that must be written.


But then, out of nowhere, as you're beginning a new chapter--an all-important chapter where two main characters meet for the first time--the Muse stops whispering. Your characters go silent. In your mind, you can picture them standing shoulder-to-shoulder, tight-lipped and shaking their heads at you. "Nuh-uh," they seem to say. "We're done now. Go away."


"B-but," you stutter, adrenaline and fear now rising in your stomach, "I'm not finished. We're not finished.  This chapter's important--"


"No," they snarl back. "We're done. Go away."


They're fading before your eyes, becoming lost in seeping mist. Deserting you.


"Wait!" You say, desperate. "Don't quit on me now! We were doing so well!"


But they're already gone. And you're wavering on an edge of panic and a blank screen, because you've now entered the horrifying world called . . .


Writer's Block.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Okay. That was a bit over-dramatic. But it happens to all of us. When the Muse stops whispering, and the Characters decide to take a vacation. How do you deal with it? This might--and probably has been--discussed already in this Forum, but my curiosity has peaked, so I'm asking; How do you deal with the dreaded Writer's Block?


I'm experiencing a rough patch in Destiny's Bond. I'm trying to write an important chapter--as described above--and the scene isn't coming together. Destiny, ideally, is suppose to wake up, see the character, and basically attack her, mistaking the person for a threat. But how I lead up to this is the part that's being tricky, particularly because I can't seem to find a balance between describing the surroundings, the new character through Destiny's eyes, and having the action start.


But I'll work through it. Somehow.


How do my fellow Book Country writers trudge through rough spots like this?


Sate my curiosity by leaving a reply

Charles J. Barone
Posted: Friday, February 27, 2015 10:29 PM
Joined: 7/18/2014
Posts: 120

If I want to knock down a wall, how do I do it? I take a sledge hammer and begin beating on it. Eventually, it falls. Do the same with writer's block. Hammer at it with words and sentences until it gives way.


It doesn't have to be the story you're working on. Start another one. Your subconscious will be working on the blocked chapter while you write about other things. I generally have a couple of things going. When I run out of ideas, or am stuck on one, I switch to the other. Different ideas, different setting, different story. It helps clear away the debris of the primary script and ideas begin bubbling.

Mimi Speike
Posted: Friday, February 27, 2015 10:32 PM
Joined: 11/17/2011
Posts: 1014

Hi Amber,


You've heard of Method Acting. I do Method Writing. I picture myself in a situation and think, OK, what would I do? Then, if I did/said this, what would he/she do/say? (Real-world logic at work.) Then, of course, what would I say back? Eventually I get to a place where I can catch a wave again.


I also think in terms of musicality. I may have talk-talk-talk-talk. I decide I need to break it up with action/description. I have thought about - but I haven't done it yet - of taking a printout and highlighting pink/blue/yellow action vs. dialogue vs. description, to see at a glance what kind of balance I have.


Amber Wolfe
Posted: Friday, February 27, 2015 11:08 PM
Joined: 7/24/2014
Posts: 539

Great suggestions and thoughts, Charles, Mimi. I'm going to have to file those away


I find that admitting I have Writer's Block helps me to overcome it--It's almost like my subconscious hates letting me be right, so when I have Writer's Block, and admit it to the internet and myself, my subconscious goes, "Oh, no you ain't," and the Muse returns.


Which is what happened this time. There I was, clicking post on this question, when my Characters come trudging on back to the forefront of my mind, bedraggled and dirty after a long hike, ready to play again. And the Muse is whispering.


Hopefully this fresh perspective on the scene will go by better--and hopefully Destiny'll cooperate!


Off to type.



Posted: Saturday, February 28, 2015 10:31 AM
Joined: 9/17/2013
Posts: 104

Okay, maybe I don't take myself seriously enough, but when the writer's block thing happens to me, I'll shut down the computer and walk over to see my neighbor, or maybe do a little work outside. Move some rocks around, something like that. Then there's always my on-line solitaire program.   


I have my short stories and novel I'm working on,  but I also have deadlines every month for two, sometimes three periodicals that are asking for submissions. It's good to have these deadlines because I don't allow myself to miss them, and they force me through the writer's block. 

Amber Wolfe
Posted: Saturday, February 28, 2015 3:48 PM
Joined: 7/24/2014
Posts: 539

Perry, that's also an excellent technique--focus on something else, take a walk, etc. While you're doing other stuff, your brain is puzzling out your problems.


Definitely going to follow that advice

Posted: Wednesday, April 15, 2015 3:09 PM
Joined: 10/7/2013
Posts: 65

This might sound strange, but when I'm in bed at night, I visualize what I'm working on as if it were a movie.  When there's a part I'm stuck on, I try to visualize it before I fall asleep at night.  If I'm lucky, inspiration comes; but then I have to get out of bed and write it down asap, because I won't remember it in the morning!
Lucy Silag - Book Country Director
Posted: Wednesday, April 15, 2015 5:17 PM
Joined: 6/7/2013
Posts: 1359

@Theresa, I also spend the time before I fall asleep thinking about the next scene I want to write. I always fall asleep thinking that I should get up and write it before I forget . . . and then . . . zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
Amber Wolfe
Posted: Wednesday, April 15, 2015 6:57 PM
Joined: 7/24/2014
Posts: 539

Me too! I do that all the time! Go to bed, visualize how I want my next scene/chapter to go like it was a movie, then write it down


Happy to see I'm not alone in this practice. Yay!



--edited by Amber Wolfe on 4/15/2015, 6:58 PM--

Posted: Thursday, April 16, 2015 8:16 AM
Joined: 10/7/2013
Posts: 65

Good morning, Amber.  I live like an Amish person--no internet, microwave, tv, toaster, GPS . . . I can only grab a quick look at this site while at work or when I visit the library on the weekend.  I want to accept your connection request, but my work computer is being difficult.  I'll do it this weekend at the library.

Yesterday, I wanted to post something, but couldn't--in the the Awards and Competitions section.  The Writer's Digest mag. is having it's 2015 writing competition.  Last year I placed 8th in the playwriting section. I was hoping a director would notice, but no such luck.  They have different categories you can enter:  playwriting, short-story, non-rhyming poetry, rhyming poetry, etc.  The only draw back is the fee.  I am entering a short story and 3 sonnets.  $60!!!  But maybe I'll place 7th this year!

Posted: Thursday, April 16, 2015 8:18 AM
Joined: 10/7/2013
Posts: 65

I hate to think of how much I've lost because I was too lazy/tired/sleepy to get out of bed!  I've been told to keep a pad and pen by my bed, but I just can't get into that habit.  I have to make it difficult for myself.
Amber Wolfe
Posted: Thursday, April 16, 2015 10:51 AM
Joined: 7/24/2014
Posts: 539

Hi, TheresaReel


Thanks for letting me know you're going to accept my Connections Request--my computer's internet is slow, so I use the Library's more often than not, too. And thanks for posting about the competition.


I can tell you're dedicated to your Craft. Good luck with all your writing endeavors!


P.S. I've been told to keep a pad and pen by my bed as well, but I never do it--most of the time I remember how I wanted the scene to go either way. Plus, the characters usually decide how it all comes together, anyway.


Happy Writing!



Leslie J Portu
Posted: Thursday, April 16, 2015 12:55 PM
Joined: 9/8/2013
Posts: 7

When creativity has taken a hike, I read! Old favorites like Joyce Carol Oates, Charles Dickens, John Fowles...Or a title in the genre I'm currently working on. This never fails to inspire me and get the juices flowing.


Leslie J Portu

Amber Wolfe
Posted: Thursday, April 16, 2015 8:33 PM
Joined: 7/24/2014
Posts: 539

That's what I do, too, Leslie


I find reading novels written by my favorite authors/in the genre I'm writing helps to get my creative juices flowing. Reading a mix of novels helps to remind me that everyone has a different style/voice, and boosts my confidence in myself that I'm following my own voice.



Posted: Friday, April 17, 2015 10:37 AM
Joined: 3/13/2014
Posts: 27

Everyone has some great suggestions here. I always have a couple of projects going on so I leap from one to the other. And getting away from the computer fora while works great too. Sometimes grabbing a journal and writing random stuff will clear the thought process as well.

Write on!

Cherie-Anne Ebbs
Posted: Friday, April 17, 2015 8:31 PM
Joined: 4/3/2015
Posts: 2

What an excellent post!
When I used to get writers block, I would drink - funnily enough the words would then flow with ease. The only downside to this was when I would go back to edit what I had written, a lot of it was hob-wash, filled with silly errors and things that deemed unacceptable to an audience I desired.
Now I don't so much get readers block, but 'editors block' because a lot of my work needs serious editing. I too find it hard to get motivated and carry on when I've spent hours over the computer with text that should have been good from the get-go. It's frustrating and I often think of starting fresh.
I'm lucky because I base my writing on my own life, so method acting comes without thinking. However when it does become too hard the only thing you can do is take a break right? My advice is exactly that of when a person cannot sleep - go do something else and then re-visit when you feel different. A change is as good as a holiday, even one as small as an hour or two
Amber Wolfe
Posted: Friday, April 17, 2015 11:00 PM
Joined: 7/24/2014
Posts: 539

Hi, hmjmdeleon, Cherie-Anne


I like both of your methods--they're outlets that work for you. I'm definitely filing those away . . . though I don't drink . . .



Posted: Friday, June 5, 2015 10:06 PM
Joined: 3/23/2015
Posts: 12

I immediately back away from the computer and rest for an hour or two. Study says that your mind seems to function much better after you sleep, and so far, it works for me.




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