help for writers' block

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-04-2008
help for writers' block
11
Sun, 09-28-2008 - 8:00am

Hello,

I was wondering if anyone has any advice for writers' block. I don't have trouble coming up with ideas, but when I think about writing I feel overwhelmed, and then try to avoid working. This happens even when I'm excited about ideas.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 07-03-2004
Sun, 09-28-2008 - 3:44pm

Start writing.


That's pretty much the only way you're going to get past this hurdle.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2003
Sun, 09-28-2008 - 4:31pm

Hi, Willa! Welcome to The Writing Life. Sometimes it's scary. Sometimes it's frustrating. In the end, though, it is so rewarding and something we were born to do.


Heed Linda's wise words. I always do.


The only way to start writing is to start writing. Don't worry about false starts. Don't even worry about getting lost along the way. Sometimes your real first page is half-way through your unfinished manuscript and you don't recognize it until your fourth rewrite.


Good writing means rewriting - sometimes lots of it.

JudyB






iVillage Member
Registered: 03-04-2008
Mon, 09-29-2008 - 8:28am

Dear Linda Adams,

Thank you for your advice. Unfortunately, for me it's not that easy. If I could just start writing and then complete a first draft, I would be fine, and wouldn't be posting here. I also know what you mean about revisions, and actually enjoy revising; but first I must have something to revise!

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-04-2008
Mon, 09-29-2008 - 8:34am

Dear Judy B,

Thanks for the welcome to the board. Unfortunately, solving my writer's block is not so simple. If I could just sit down, start writing, complete a first draft and then revise, I wouldn't be positing here. If I could just do that, I wouldn't be blocked! I do know that rough drafts can be very rough, and that work can be transformed by revision. In fact, I often enjoy revision, but I have to have something to revise!

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2003
Mon, 09-29-2008 - 9:12am

Have you tried outlining, Willa? I rarely outline myself but some writers can't leave the garage without a road map. Your outline needn't be detailed. Just a few notes to keep you on the right road would be enough. (My outlines usually end up being the first draft. LOL!)


Another idea is to use index cards (they hold up better than scraps of paper) to jot scenes, pieces of scenes, great lines for dialogue, or just general ideas. The great thing about using index cards is that you can move them around like a jigsaw puzzle or discard them like jokers.


If you want to try some non-writing writing, you could make a collage. Before you throw out those slick magazines (or even some graphic junk mail), cut out all the pictures that might fit with your story idea (and maybe even some that don't). You can either try to tell the story with these pictures or create a mood that will help put you in the proper frame of mind to tell the story with words.


You don't really have to duct tape yourself to a chair for eight hours to start writing. Make a plan before you start. You can rewrite your plan as many times as necessary, too.

JudyB







JudyB






iVillage Member
Registered: 03-04-2008
Mon, 09-29-2008 - 9:49am

Dear Judy B,

Thanks for the advice. Even when I know where the idea is going, I remain blocked. The problem is doing the actual writing. There is obviously some sort of mental/emotional block. It may simply be that I feel very discouraged about publishing. I am a "literary" writer who has published a number of stories in magazines, but I have been unable to make the breakthrough to book publication. Maybe it's "simply" that I feel discouraged about ever making that breakthrough.

Avatar for patgalca
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Mon, 09-29-2008 - 4:33pm

The following article was published on Writer's Digest by Debbie Macomber. I found it very helpful.


http://www.writersdigest.com/article/7-trend-tips/


Just keep your eyes and ears open to what is going on around you, what you wish for, what happened in your past. There are lots of ideas. Prompts can help too. There are lots of websites with prompts. Do a search for creative writing prompts and you find a bunch.


Good luck.


Pat

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-03-2004
Mon, 09-29-2008 - 5:58pm

It may also be because you're a short story writer.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-04-2008
Tue, 09-30-2008 - 6:18am

Dear Pat,

Thanks for the good wishes, the advice and the link!

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-04-2008
Tue, 09-30-2008 - 6:32am

Thanks for your thoughtful reply! I am indeed a short story writer.

I wrote a mystery novel a few years ago, so I have experienced the difference between writing stories and writing a novel. For me, the biggest difference is the pacing.

Although collections of short stories are published, I have been told by agents that collections are usually published because 1. there is something sensational about their subject matter, or 2. as a favor to the writer who also has a novel for the house.

I think my choices at this point are to continue to publish stories in literary magazines and to forget publishing a book, or to write a "literary" novel. And maybe my block is rebellion at these choices.

Maybe I should write about rebellion! Write what you know...

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