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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » Writer's Block can go to... um... heck!

Author Topic: Writer's Block can go to... um... heck!
Member # 1629

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Can I just take a moment to say how wonderful, satisfying and just damned grand it is when you manage to get past a bout of writer's block? And how it's even better, sweeter, more awesome when you do it by figuring out what was causing the block in the first place. Totally one of the best feelings in my life. I own my writer's block, it does not own me.

I sincerely hope that I'm not the only one around here to do something like that. If anyone else has, or does, feel free to join in on my party. It's definitely something to celebrate.


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Member # 7974

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I'm blocked on my primary novel, so I've worked on short stories the last few days. I'll pass the block; I have in the past.

Congrats on your success, Heresy.

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Member # 1629

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Thanks. I actually realized something in overcoming it. It was caused by the writing. One of my characters was pointing out that I was writing him wrong, and thus refused to continue until I fixed it. I don't know if that technique would help anyone else, but I suggest taking a look at your primary novel, see if you can find something like that. I mean, it's worth a shot, really. See if there's something in the work you are unhappy with or that isn't flowing right. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you to get past it sooner rather than later.


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Member # 8547

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My two main blocks are laziness and boredom. When I finally just sit down, close the game application and open the WP, and start writing, it goes pretty smoothly. But the second I get bored of the story or I find something more engaging to do, I have an incredibly hard time getting back to it.
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Member # 8201

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Heresy, I've had similar experiences in my writing. When I get writers block, it's a good indication my story has taken a bad turn. I stare at the screen, trying to figure out what comes next, and come up with nothing. My only recourse at that point is to figure out where the story went wrong and delete everything that came after. Then the block goes away. It's a beautiful feeling.
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Member # 8617

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My longest bouts of writer's block have always been when I'm trying to force something into my story. Recently, I wanted to force a character into a story. I wanted the story to be about when character X met character Y. THe only problem was that either one was equipped to handle the situtation without the other. They didn't need each other.

So I cut off character X's arm. Now he needs somebody.

The lesson: The chopping block is often a good cure for a writer's block.

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Member # 8283

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Hemingway had two ways to deal with writer's block. The first was to get really, really drunk. The second, he said, was just to write something true, and the rest would follow.
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Member # 1629

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I was lucky. The fixing only required some alteration, and one bit of totally rewritten dialogue. I guess that was the best indication that it was trying to be something other than what I had originally written. And yes, it was one of the best feelings I can remember, though still somewhere behind my wedding day.

As for getting drunk as a solution, I don't drink, so it's never going to work for me.

And Nate, maybe the next time you get bored with a story, try to figure out where and why you got bored with it. I've been derailed from good stories for the same reason, but have recently figured out the problem with some of those derailed stories. I'm raring to go on them, have made fairly good notes about what to do with them, but I'm trying to focus on this one work. I keep reminding myself that I can really only write one book at a time. Has something to do with my sense of connection, to the world, the story and the characters. I'm still figuring that out, but it's working for me right now, and I'm grateful for it.


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Robert Nowall
Member # 2764

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My last "cure" for writer's block, several years ago now, involved writing a page a day---going back all the way to Square One and my first typewriter---and stopping at the end of the page, never going any farther even if I wanted to.

Seemed to work...though my writing has been kinda start-and-stop since then, it does seem to flow when I actually sit down at the wordprocessor and start up. I keep the trick in my big bag of tricks, reserved for future use, along with a few other things.

(This is different from working on a tough spot in any particular story, of course...I usually am able to bull my way through, or shift over to something else instead. Come to think of it, that's what I did with my last (original) thing, when I shifted over to retyping an old manuscript...)

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Member # 8501

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When I get stuck, I get out a piece of paper and re-outline by hand what I am writing about. If it's a little scene or the direction of a novel,it has worked for me.

For me it's getting back in touch with a bigger picture that gets the gears to mesh again.

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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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Moving away from the actual text and writing something from memory is also a good way to refresh material that may have become stale from too much editing.

It allows your subconscious to generate the "real story" to your more skilled writing self, and the results can be better just because you've improved as a writer over time.

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