Writer’s Block: A Description, and How To Cope

Hello all, merry Christmas Eve Eve.

I expect you’re not reading this until January. I can tell you’re on vacation as I write this. Also as I write this, I am suffering a tiny bit of writer’s block–in the form of blog posts.

What, you are allowed to ask, is writer’s block? Well…it’s an artistic type of thing. Composers, sculptors, painters, sketchers, and writers all suffer from this macabre disease. Have you ever looked at a piece of blank paper with a paintbrush in your hand, with no idea of what to paint? Of course Vincent Van Gogh suffered this, many times, before he could make his works of art. Do you suppose that Beethoven had no idea what song to write? Everyone gets this, especially writers. Writer’s block dines on creativity, fantasy, and imagination, which is why writer’s block preys on writers the most; especially fantasy writers. Over 60% of a fantasy writer’s works are pure imagination. Read a book. Marvel at the choice of words that describe the scene. That is what makes a story a story–but it’s hard to get.

Moving on, writer’s block is not a diagnosed disease, like the flu, so how do you know if you have it? The most obvious symptoms are not being able to find a single idea. You’ve been writing an amazing fantasy novel. You know you want a dragon to arrive, but you can’t figure out how to write that scene, or the reactions of wherever it’s attacking. Heck, you can’t even find out where the dragon is going to terrorize! Another symptom is my God I don’t think this is the right way to say that I’ll try again Whoa that didn’t work right I’m going to write it again Da** nothing works You know what I’m going to get a cappuccino then I’ll get right back to this Wow a cappuccino costs five fifty . This is one of the most powerful symptoms. Don’t let it beat you! This will terrorize you until you give up writing, thinking, I can’t write, who am I kidding?

The second you recognize writer’s block, the most important thing to do is: DON’T PANIC! You will not die (obviously, because the tag says ‘make-believe disease’). My dad, who writes along with his job as a lawyer, has given me some pointers to overcome writer’s block, and I will hand them to you.

1. Do a ‘morning paper’. Every day, sit down at your computer or your notebook, or your clay, and write, draw, or sculpt the first thing that comes into your mind, no matter how stupid it sounds.  Well, I’ve got writer’s block. flurbibibinachinapkins, I can’t think of anything to write is a good start. This is kind of like a journal, and you should do this at the very least five minutes a day. You can do it for an hour, and you’ll get through with writer’s block sooner. My dad says that the reason it works is that it takes the top layer off, getting it to flow.  This is like pulling the cork out of a bottle; it’s hard, but once you’ve done it, it’s easy to pour the wine out. Or a bottle of glue without a cap. you’ve got to peel off the top, and then it’s easy (that’ a better simile) to get the glue out. Of course, the top part of your glue keeps drying up, but it’s harder for what’s underneath the dry, and if you keep the hard part off, you’ll never get writer’s block.

2. Don’t work on your story. This may seem silly, but actually it can start the writer’s block up all over again. Stay away, and don’t think about it until you’re ready. Sometimes, stories just aren’t meant to be on their own. Every time I hear a song, I get a new idea. New ideas are nice, but not all of them are stories. It’s hard, but often when you’ve started a promising tale, you can add those scenes to it; as long as they work.

 

Huh. Lookie here, I’ve stuffed away the writer’s block I had as i was writing about writer’s block. As I was saying, to a writer, ideas are never ending. Try to write them down. J.R.R. Tolken has a whole collection of story ‘bits’ that never got incorperated into a real book, or turned into a book of their own. Plus, you have a great catalogue of scenes to flip through during writer’s block to try and un-block it. Patriciaa C. Wrede said in Book of Enchantments, her collection of her own short stories:

Ideas are the Easy Part. The hard part is getting the words down on paper that convey the ideas, and getting the words right.

I think exactly that. Remember it as you think of stories. Also remember that some people, yes, you too, might not really be meant to be writers.

Merry Christmas! (and a Happy New Year!)

~Aidyl

 

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