18 March 2010

Writer's Block? Heck Yeah!

Mood: Worn Out (this week has easily lasted a month at least)

What I'm Watching: The World's Dumbest Partiers (This is totally made of win!)

There are some writers who will tell you that writer's block doesn't exist...that it's a myth like the LochNess Monster or Brittney Spears grip on reality. Please be aware that these people are liars...as in the 'pants on fire' variety (please keep the fire extinguishers handy).

If you are a writer, there will almost certainly come a moment in your career when you find yourself staring at the flashing cursor with no idea what to write next. This? Is writer's block. It may only last 10 minutes but for those ten minutes you were unsure. You didn't know what was going to come next. You were blocked.

Personally, my writer's block develops in stages:

Stage 1: Slightly annoyed but not yet worried. Maybe I'll check my e-mail, play a few (hundred) games of solitaire on Facebook, catch up with my blogging and hang out on Twitter for a while. Certainly my writerly mo-jo will return quickly enough...I just need a break.

*Luckily, most writer's block is resolved in stage 1*

Stage 2: Frustrated but determined. After wasting three hours goofing off on the internet  spending some much needed time away from my work in progress, I return only to find that the creative side of my brain is still on strike. Of course, I probably just need to shake things up a bit. Maybe take a small nap to recharge my batteries or get up and move around a bit to stir the creative juices stop self from pulling hair out as frustration mounts. 

*The good news? I tend to catch up on a lot of neglected housework during stage 2. This is also a good time to give yourself a manicure.* 

Stage 3: Pure frustration. This is the point when I start cursing at the stupid flashing little cursor. Smug little bastard. I get seriously cranky as I attempt to drag anything even remotely resembling a good idea from the recesses of my brain.

*This is the time when I start to doubt my ability to even write my own name and begin to think I should have taken up something less frustrating...like hostage negotiation.*

Stage 4: Complete and utter desperation. This stage brings with it tons of self pity with a generous helping of whining and just general pissyness on my part. At this point I start self-medicating with copious amounts of chocolate and start to understand why so many writers ended up either crazy or alcoholic.

*Successfully navigating this stage usually involves gaining a few pounds (dark chocolate may be good for you but it's not calorie free) and the ability to survive a few minor mental breakdowns*

Stage 5: Complete meltdown. Thankfully, I've never made it to this stage in the writer's block process although I've found myself dangerously close a time or two. This is the point where complete and utter destruction is the only way to fully express the true level of frustration experienced by a writer when the words just won't come.

*This? Might be why I'm so opposed to firearms in our home.*

Those who say that writer's block doesn't exist tend to advise that you should just sit and write. No.matter.what. I say "baloney"! Sitting in the chair, staring at an empty screen for hours on end or writing crap just to be writing is going to drive me directly to stage 5 no matter how much chocolate I have on hand. For me, it's better that I step back and take some time to let the story brew a bit before diving back in. It minimizes my frustration and keeps me from doing permanent damage to my beloved laptop (she's purple with flowers...I really don't want to hurt her).



  1. Yup, I'm a step back gal too. When my head isn't in the right place, I make baaaad decisions and sometimes even start tearing apart stuff that's perfectly fine out of pure frustration.

    Manual labor helps me more than writing supid stuff just to fill a page.

  2. yeah, me again. :-) I have an award for you--a fun one. Have a great weekend!

  3. I think I have writer's laziness. I just don't feel like writing. I know exactly what needs to come next, but something about opening that document...I'd rather clean. Oy.

  4. @Laurel: Oh, I'd forgotten about taking my frustration out on perfectly good writing. I've done that more than once only to have morning after regrets. :( And, of course, I can never actually recreate what was there. Blah.

    And now I'm off to check out my award! Squeeee!!! :)

    @ L&L: I totally get writer's laziness too...so not going to even pretend I don't because then I'd have the whole "pants on fire" issue to deal with. I even know the feeling that comes when you realize that you'd rather do the dishes or fold laundry than tackle one more page because it just seems to daunting. Blah.

  5. Very amusing, in a scary kind of way. :) Thanks.


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