Sunday, August 22, 2010

Writer's Block is a Curse

Writer's Block is just about the worst thing (apart from horrendous editing) that any writer will go through. Basically, you draw a blank and can't write anything for days, weeks even! So, you can imagine my frustration when I sat down today to finish a chapter (quite an exciting one too, where a character is in an intense fight for freedom) and nothing came to mind for what I should do next. "Well, then just skip that part already!" you might say, but that's unfortunately not how I write. I don't start at Chapter Ten and end up at Chapter Two. I find my brain functions better if I write in a sequence, one thing after another in ORDER! So, I wrote a few sentences, then erased them, then wrote a few more, then erased those. (Not very productive). I'm always told "you should write what you enjoy, because that way you will stay inspired", and this is true, BUT it does not penetrate Writer's Block!!!!!!!

Then, of course, I went into "Melodramatic" mode. I sat slumped in my chair and hunched over my computer, thinking things like "I'll never get this book published!" and "I am such a terrible writer" and "Why oh why did I ever even start this stupid book?". And-yes this is silly, but-then I started wondering what was for lunch...which every distressed writer is obligated to wonder. (Comfort Food). Then, I got a grip, and asked myself why I was completely terrorizing myself, and making my confidence shrink even more, when I should be encouraging myself. So I said things like, "It's only a minor setback" and "It will pass, just as it always does" and "You've been working too hard, go relax and eat your salad". So, frustrated with my characters and myself, I gave it rest, hoping I would get an idea for something brilliant (which, by the way, has not yet come to me).

I decided to clear my mind with some brainless TV, when my mother told me about a way to sort of "advertise" my blog, by setting my URL as my signature. Somehow (and I really don't know what I was thinking) I came up with the silly and inept conclusion that this would give me something relaxing to do... WELL IT DID NOT! I must have spent at least an hour trying to figure out how to do that, being a first time blogger. (Sigh) I'm happy I finally figured it out.

But still, the work is hardly over. Now, I'm back to my story, staring blankly at the page, with a kind of look that says, "How did that get here?". All very overwhelming. Well, for now my characters will just have to be suspended in fantasy time, swords held high, waiting for an attack that may not come for days (poor fellows). Thus, is the curse of Writer's Block... :( *Slinking away into dismal sorrow*...

So, you might ask, how DO you get out of Writer's Block??? Sometimes you don't for awhile. I feel that it's just like starting a book. To start you have to have an idea. Everyone has ideas, which you then build on. It has to be something that grabs you and motivates you to write (like a kind of personal cheerleader) :-). I just haven't had that idea yet. However, when I do, those characters better watch out, because those swords are about to swing. ;D


Susan said...

Gemma, I like your objective approach to Writer's Block...even though you are frustrated, and a dark thought or two may cross your mind, you know that the swords will start swinging again, it is just a question of when! :) (Great image! Your characters must be frustrated, too...their arms must be getting sore, what power you have! :) ) What else has worked for you when you are faced with Writer's Block? I'm sure this happens to all writers at some point - I wonder what they do? Personally, I am a terrific procrastinator, so I'd be quite interested in a helpful list to tackle the curse...Thanks for your ideas!

helen.gajewski said...

Gemma, I really enjoyed your first entries. You are funny and practical and inspirational. You are very real and tell it like it is. I also like your picture. Did you draw it? Do you have any pictures of your characters? or a map? Just wondering:]

Gemma said...

Thanks for the positive feedback! As for ways to overcome Writer's Block, get ideas! Ideas are always things you can build on.

As for my profile picture, I wish I drew it! Pictures for my characters: I do have a few, which I will try to post. (My profile picture is how I imagine one of my main characters.) And maps? Sorry but no maps :( But, I will consider it a new project!

Hope to have more comments from you! I appreciate it :)