Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Writer's Block, What to do?

I’m so thrilled you dropped by because I need some help!

Many years ago I started writing and I actually finished two manuscripts. This was during the time I was a single parent working two jobs. Then something happened. I wish I knew what it was, but I really have no clue. One day I was writing, the next I wasn’t. It isn’t that I stopped musing over my stories. I think and dream about them all the time – even when I should be focused on other things. But no writing. And let’s face it, being a writer means you have to write!

Some have told me I have writer’s block. Could that be it? Because if it is, I’m doomed. I don’t know what that is, much less know how to fix it.

For a while I thought it was because of some particularly bad news regarding my daughter that I got about the time the writing stopped. She was diagnosed with cancer and given 12 months to live. Well, that would certainly screw up a mother’s life, that’s for sure. Only thing is, five years later, my daughter is doing great. She’s as active and outgoing as ever.

I’ve also thought about all the “excuses” for not writing that I’ve come with over time – everything from my day job to my ever advancing age. But I honestly can’t put the blame on any one thing. Sometimes I’m lazy, but not ALL the time. Sometimes I’m too busy with the day job, but not ALL the time. Maybe sometimes I even forget, but I don’t have Alzheimer’s (at least not the advanced stages). I can’t even blame single parenting, the kids are now grown and doing well.

So I’m stumped. I need to get through this once and for all. I’m hoping you might have an answer, or at least a suggestion, to help me overcome this problem. If you have any ideas, I’d love to hear from you.




Jo Anne said...

When bad things happen in our lives we sometimes put all that bad stuff in a corner of our mind. When writing, think about this now, if you were writing a story when you heard the very bad news about your daughter then maybe that story takes you back to what you were feeling. Try writing a different type of story. If it was a romance then try a mystery or an urban fantasy. We tend to block out the bad things we associate with bad news. Does tht make sense to you?

Kimberly said...

Strangely enough I find that if I just force myself to write or force myself into thinking about a story for a few days I'll find it in me to write again.

When traumatic events occur and the crisis has become a dull roar, I'll start writing about that. It helps with catharsis as well as the freedom to give voice to things I never would have said out loud. It clears the mind and unburdens the heart while encouraging putting emotions into words.

Beyond that- I read a good book. Usually inspires me to put pen to paper (fingers to keyboard) again.

Let me also say- I'm so very glad to hear your daughter is now doing okay.

Ashlyn Chase said...

Hi Kathye,

BICHOK. That's the best advice I can give you. If anyone doesn't know what it stands for it's: Butt in chair; hands on keyboard.

I've heard that writer's block is a myth, and I have to say--for the most part--I agree. Here's why...

I believe that forming good habits helps replace bad ones. Good attitudes help replace defeatism.

Write every day. If possible, at the same time of day. Give it at least three weeks. If you continue on for a few months, at some point you'll feel like something's missing if you don't write.

Write whatever inspires you. Make it something to look forward to. This is YOUR time, when you get to have a little fun for yourself.

Julia Cameron (The Artists Way) may provide some inspiration too.


Katie O'Sullivan said...

I agree with JoAnne - try writing something different. Even if it's a short story or magazine article-type thing, just sit down and write.

Blogging is a great way to get teh juices flowing too, altho many might call it procrastination! It's still writing. Pick a topic and blog away. Once you get back in the habit, writing will get easier each day.

Good Luck!

EmilyBryan said...

I have to second everything Ashlyn said. Writing is like a muscle. The more you exercise it, the stronger it gets.

However, there are times when life intervenes, like your daughter's health problems (I'm so rejoicing for you that she's doing well!). At those times, give yourself permission not to write or to reduce your output, or just to keep a journal.

But get back to writing asap!

Carly Carson said...

I agree with what JoAnne said about maybe subconsciously associating writing with a bad time in your life.

One thing that helps me is to give myself permission to write poorly. Just write. Don't wait until you can write something good. You can always revise.

"Amateurs wait for inspiration. The rest of us just get up and go to work. (Stephen King quoting Philip Roth)" I love quotes, but this one motivates me when I need it. Just write. Good luck, and enjoy that daughter. Also, I like the pictures on your home page. Very restful.


Raynene said...

I agree with all of you who've written as 5/5. Kathye, you might try writing in a journal and starting with that each day before writing anything else. Works for me; and I usually find that if I'm forcing something, it won't be good or it won't flow. I started on an ms about a month ago and have scrapped it - no flow, no action, no fun when writing it.
Blocks will happen. Just sit down and write anything to get started again - brainstorm, whatever. And let God show the way.

Raynene said...

By the way, blogging is a good way to get writing again - very true. pick a subject and let your fingers fly! Your thoughts and comments will encourage someone else's, and those will get your thoughts going more...see the never-ending circle? It's also a great source for plots...