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Topic: Writer's Block

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Subject: Writer's Block
Date Posted: 6/13/2013 4:24 AM ET
Member Since: 10/2/2007
Posts: 28
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I have a story that I've had planned for years, but every time I sit down to work on it I blank out and can't write. I write poetry as well, but I've been having issues with that too. Does anyone have any suggestions on what I can do to get over this long-term block of mine?

Date Posted: 6/13/2013 10:18 AM ET
Member Since: 1/10/2010
Posts: 29
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I learned a technique from a creative writing course called Free Style writing that helps with writer's block. Set a timer for 5 or 10 minutes then write whatever comes into your thoughts. Don't worry about style ,punctuation, grammar, or spelling. Just write without stopping for the set amount of time. It doesn't matter what you write, just that you write.

Here is an example of free style writing I did for an assignment. I had a candle on my desk so I wrote about it. An idea occurred to me while doing this exercise that eventually became the story for my final. I called it "The Tell Tale Candle."

I use free writing when the blank page syndrome sets in and it gets the juices flowing again. Hope this helps to break the writer's block. Good luck and happy writing.

A Candle is just a Candle.

I don’t see anything special about a lighted candle. It sits inside a dish with a small flame waving gently to an unseen draft. The light is bright but does not entice me. No Zen moment, no existentialism wisdom, no understanding from a great spirit or anything like that. The candle just sits and burns. This particular candle does not produce any fragrance. It’s just a glob of white wax with a flame. There is one interesting thing happening though as I look into the flame. An idea just popped into my head about a murderer who is haunted by a candle. Maybe he sees the face of his victim in the flame. What a weird moment. Still, the candle just sits burning. And in the end, a candle is just a candle.

Date Posted: 6/13/2013 6:54 PM ET
Member Since: 1/23/2010
Posts: 2,382
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Congrats, on the poetry, I can appreciate the structure and symmetry of a poem  ,, , but couldn't write one to save my soul.

Have you written many storys? Or is this one of the first? Because I find storys and poetry to be completly different. I get stuck with my storys when I don't have them plotted out well enough. I seldom know Exactly what will happen, but have a good idea of what I want to happen. Whether or not it actually comes to pass is another story, sometimes better things come out while I'm in process. 

Another land mine for me is not defining my characters well enough. I don't always need to know their grandparents, but I have to understand them well enough to speak and act for them. That may sound nuts to you, but I think that if your characters don't feel real to you, they won't to others either. So I think of them as people.

The third thing that trips me up is getting overly anal when a scene isn't coming out right. Sometimes I'm unhappy with the dialogue, or feel like the discription is inadequate, and sometimes I'm just plane 'ol pissy and nothing makes me happy. I can spend huge chunks of time tweaking it till it is "just right". This is when I need to either walk away to let my head clear, or tab down a couple spaces and skip forward a bit. come back to the problem when I'm not being such a twit.

Do you talk about your writing with friends or family? My mom's work is all over the place, but often she doesn't see it until she tells us what she is plotting and we start questioning her.

I don't write articles, but recently I broke out of a writing funk by writing about an ephiany I had. Had my family in stitches, made me feel like a god for about 3 seconds. Then reality re-asserted itself and I worked out my problem with chapter 3. 

I hope some of this was helpfull, please excuse me If I just took you over very familiar ground. Your question didn't share with us your level of familiarity. Good lord I sounded like a pompus windbag. I'm shutting up now. Good luck and keep trying.


Date Posted: 6/14/2013 11:48 AM ET
Member Since: 10/13/2007
Posts: 36,445
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Going to sound weird but, I go clean the bathroom, scrub the tile floors, it's very repeditive work and somehow frees my mind to think and be creative.

Go for a walk, take a note pad with you and jot down whatever comes to mind.

Visual prompts can also help. Look at paintings or photos.

Don't sit down, keep moving. :)  You don't need to be at a desk to write.  All you need is pen, paper and your mind.  ALWAYS have a notepad or notebook on you with a pen or pencil. When ideas or a word hits, write it down.

Subject: combination: reading and writing
Date Posted: 6/22/2013 10:20 PM ET
Member Since: 4/10/2013
Posts: 2
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For just a couple of years I have belonged to a book club for an hour and then a writer's group for an hour.  The writer's group only meets every other week but the book club weekly. Lately many writers have struggled with lack of  inspiration and arrived with nothing to share.  there has been some attempt to offer "assigned" topics but didn't seem to last. Some have fallen into the habit of re-reading offerings written some time earlier.  For me its a matter of discipline even if I'm not very motivated.  Most of the topics seem to be recollections and rememberances. A few of us long for some structured instruction.  Any experiences or suggestions to share?  I did get some help from the comments about writer's block.  I actually find I am often inspired when walking the dog!? I have also gotten inspiration by driving to the  park and just sitting and catching up on some reading. I also find it extremely important to jot down ideas as they emerge into my consciousness because they are definitely fleeting, just like dreams that drift away so quickly.

Subject: Writing Suggestions
Date Posted: 6/23/2013 2:04 PM ET
Member Since: 1/10/2010
Posts: 29
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All of us experience the times when it is difficult if not impossible to write. What do we write ?

One solution is to use writing prompts. These are little ideas just to get us started.

http://www.dailywritingtips.com/writing-prompts-101/ might be of some help.

You can also pick an object on your desk and start writing about it.

Often we have an idea in mind but don't know where to start. If this is the case try writing a paragraph explaining the idea to yourself.

If you would like a structured instruction consider a continuing education class on line.  I recommend "Beginning Writer's Worshop" at www.ed2go.com. Look for instructor Ann Linquist.  Only $89 at this time and the next session begins on july 17. They are six weeks long  and very rewarding. You can view the complete first lesson for free.

If you are the type that can learn from reading a book I recommend "How to Fix Your Novel" by Steve Alcorn available from Amazon for $10 on kindle  or about $20 in paperback. The title may be a little misleading because this is actually a structured writing course in how to write that will work for short story and screen play as well as novel.

Most of all don't get discouraged. We're all in this together. Happy Writing.


Subject: Out of the box..
Date Posted: 7/17/2013 1:43 AM ET
Member Since: 4/19/2008
Posts: 1,370
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Sometimes the process dries up when you persue the same routines.  Sad to say this but my ex had tons of inspiration when she moved on to a new guy, not great for me but a treasure trove

for her.  Change your routine, take walks you have never taken, pursue converstions with strangers, attend an art museum, rock concert, lecture, watch old movies, indie movies, go to plays.  Eat foods 

you would normally avoid.  Sometimes the smell will remind you of something.  Nostaglia is good, paw through old picture albums, storm the attic and look hard at long lost articles.

Sometime new is bound to come. jc