Open Mic Blog

Writer's Block

Posted on August 11, 2012 at 9:35 AM

Ah, the dreaded writer's block . . . Call it creative exhaustion, fear of failure, or just coming up empty, we've all had it. So, what are some of your home-grown solutions that helped you declutter your keyboard and get back to what you love to do?

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15 Comments

Reply SG Redling
10:26 AM on August 11, 2012 
I refuse to call it writer's block because that makes it a Real Thing that has size and power and dimension. I just refer to it as being 'a little distracted' or 'kind of gummed up' - never make it sound serious. Never give it form. It sounds like a paradox but I write my way through it. I just start writing anything, usually dialogue, just to get the characters in motion. I've found those 'mildly sluggish periods' are usually because I'm trying to write a scene I don't need & can thus just skip ahead or because I'm not paying attention to something the plot is demanding. Putting the characters in motion - even if it's just lunch (and yes, I've done that) - gives them a chance to get me back on track. Knowing I can cut any of this chatter later makes it easier to write my way through the mucky parts back to solid ground.
Reply Laura Treacy Bentley
11:13 AM on August 11, 2012 
I love that you get your characters talking and avoid the words "writer's block" kinda like that nasty word "diet"!
Reply Philip St. Clair
11:57 AM on August 11, 2012 
To help cure a case of writer's block, try work on related activities, such as (a) transcribing/keyboarding old journal entries, old daries, old letters, and so on from longhand to a computer disc, or (b) doing translations.
Reply Laura Treacy Bentley
2:54 PM on August 11, 2012 
Other than sheer terror and , yes, creative exhaustion, I often procrastinate because I know I will be sucked into a project for HOURS. It's wonderful while I'm in the windtunnel, but deliberately jumping back in gives me pause. My secret is to simply "open the file," and sometimes I will delay doing that for days! Once it's open, though, I'll tiptoe in and start revising a bit--do something simple like change "is" to "was"--and before I know it, I'm time travelling again. Nothing like the rush of time travel.
Reply Cat
4:02 PM on August 11, 2012 
I am usually not the victim of writers' block for this reason: I have several projects going at once. That way, for me, I have always something to work on and in any given time, one of those projects I can find something to write. Granted, if you are on a clock, that can be quite stressful. I have been on the clock and it isn't that I can't find the words--I just don't have them yet. I "piddle" with editing what I do have, or do research--something that keeps me feeling as if I have done the work on the piece. Little tricks and techniques. But it always works. Soon, I'm writing away, having remembered something I wanted to say via the editing, or inspired by further research, or just keeping the brain a bit idle while I'm doing something else. Voila! There "tis. At least, so far!
Reply Cat
4:51 PM on August 11, 2012 
Funny! Love your "new" coffee table. Could use my computer for a footstool at times! LOL!
Reply Laura Treacy Bentley
6:24 PM on August 11, 2012 
Thanks, Cat. My keyboard seemed lonely, so I decorated it, but I was afraid to burn the tealight candle. Things were a bit idle, and the bubbles started floating around on my screen saver. Time to "open the file"!
Reply Laura Treacy Bentley
3:37 PM on August 13, 2012 
I have to mention that doing the #1hr1K on Twitter was really a shot in the arm for me. It was exciting, scary, and had an expectation of 1000 words written in an hour. Total joyride! Sometimes I even exceeded that number. Anyone else tried this new strategy of typing madly with friends and strangers?
Reply Mark DeFoe
11:49 AM on August 14, 2012 
William Stafford, a pretty darn good poet, was famously productive, turning out seven or eight poems over lunch. His reputed solution to writer's block--lower your standards.
Reply Laura Treacy Bentley
2:51 PM on August 14, 2012 
Mark, thanks for the reminder! Stafford was one of my heroes, so definitely lower your standards when you reach an impasse.
Reply Llewellyn McKernan
3:16 PM on August 14, 2012 
Someone may have already mentioned this, but if you
ve got problem of any kind that has stopped the writing,
go and do something like washing dishes or getting out and
walking, or seeing an old movie, anything that will really
hold attention of conscious mind, so unconscious can solve problem
during this time so that when you get back to writing you have got
the solution.
Reply Laura Treacy Bentley
3:50 PM on August 14, 2012 
Yes, I love how our unconscious mind keeps working in the background, and sometimes we experience those aha! moments when things become clear. As Jane on "The Mentalist" says, "Don't reach for it." In other words, don't try so hard. Thanks, Llewellyn!

I sometimes type up old journal entries like Philip St. Clair suggested. At first it's just a mindless activity and then it becomes so much more.
Reply shawn taylor
2:21 AM on July 25, 2014 
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Reply shawn taylor
2:23 AM on July 25, 2014 
? MY HIV DISEASE WAS CURED BY DR NICE, WITH HIS HERBAL HEALING SPELL/ (drniceharbelhealinghome@gmail.com).DR NICE is the only Dr who could ever get my HIV-AIDS cured with his healing spell, I have tried almost everything but I couldn?t find any solution on my disease, despite all these happening to me, I always spend a lot to buy a HIV drugs from hospital and taking some several medications but no relieve, until one day I was just browsing on the internet when I come across a great post of! Michelle! who truly said that she was been diagnose with HIV and was healed that very week through the help of these great powerful healing spell doctor, sometime I really wonder why people called him DR NICE I never knew it was all because of the great and perfect work that he has been doing that is causing all this. so I quickly contacted him, and he ask me some few questions and he said a thing I will never forget that anyone who contacted him is! always getting his or her healing in just 6 hours after doing all he ask you, so I was amazed all the time I heard that from him, so I did all things only to see that at the very day which he said I will be healed, all the strength that has left me before rush back and I becomes very strong and healthy, this disease almost kills my life all because of me, so I went to hospital to give the final test to the disease and the doctor said I am HIV negative, I am very amazed and happy about the healing Dr NICE gave to me from the ancient part of Africa, you can email him now for your own healing too at :drniceharbelhealinghome@gmail.com
Reply shawn taylor
2:24 AM on July 25, 2014 
? MY HIV DISEASE WAS CURED BY DR NICE, WITH HIS HERBAL HEALING SPELL/ (drniceharbelhealinghome@gmail.com).DR NICE is the only Dr who could ever get my HIV-AIDS cured with his healing spell, I have tried almost everything but I couldn?t find any solution on my disease, despite all these happening to me, I always spend a lot to buy a HIV drugs from hospital and taking some several medications but no relieve, until one day I was just browsing on the internet when I come across a great post of! Michelle! who truly said that she was been diagnose with HIV and was healed that very week through the help of these great powerful healing spell doctor, sometime I really wonder why people called him DR NICE I never knew it was all because of the great and perfect work that he has been doing that is causing all this. so I quickly contacted him, and he ask me some few questions and he said a thing I will never forget that anyone who contacted him is! always getting his or her healing in just 6 hours after doing all he ask you, so I was amazed all the time I heard that from him, so I did all things only to see that at the very day which he said I will be healed, all the strength that has left me before rush back and I becomes very strong and healthy, this disease almost kills my life all because of me, so I went to hospital to give the final test to the disease and the doctor said I am HIV negative, I am very amazed and happy about the healing Dr NICE gave to me from the ancient part of Africa, you can email him now for your own healing too at :drniceharbelhealinghome@gmail.com