Does Writer’s Block Exist?

I read an interesting post yesterday by Brandilyn Collins. In it she decried writers who deny the existence of writer’s blog. She has it, she says, but it’s not the usual “I just can’t make myself get started” kind of thing. In fact she has tweaked the term a bit, calling it “plotter’s block” instead.

What she said reminded me so much of posts Karen Hancock has written about the same thing.

I can relate to what they say. In essence it is the problem of trying to write when you don’t have a real idea about what should be happening in your story. Brandilyn calls herself a planner. Karen says she simply writes scenes that she envisions, not in a sequential order.

In my own writing, I plan generally but must plan specifically before I can write. When I get stalled, I’ve learned this is a sign I don’t really have a grip on what’s to happen next.

For me the answer is to figure out what is to happen. I’ve learned to ask question which I start to answer in an open ended way—in other words, with as many answers as I can dream up. Eventually I choose one. But I’ve had instances, in the book I’m working on, for instance, in which I locked onto an answer, wrote the scenes, then on rewrite realized I’d gone in the wrong direction.

I rewrote the section that was off, this time with a much better answer, but it means there are things to change from here on. I’d forgotten just how many. Some days I’m not so excited about plowing ahead, trying to right the listing ship. That borders on the old notion of writer’s block. I’m basically saying, It’s too hard, not fun, not quick.

Well, yeah! Writing does fall into the work category, so there are times it’s hard. I pretty much have to accept that. But then there are days like Saturday when the words seemed to flow and when I stopped for lunch, I thought, I just love to write!

Maybe it was because the alternative was to do the laundry. 😀

You writers, what are your experiences? Do you deal with writer’s block, or have you learned some way of heading it off?

Published in: on June 4, 2008 at 11:25 am  Comments (8)  
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