Writer’s Block

I have no idea what this is.

I mean, I know it’s when a writer can’t write, can’t think of what to write, or whatever, but I have never had it.

I hear everyone gets it…

So I don’t hold myself out as special, I just wonder

WHAT IS IT?

Maybe everyone doesn’t get it, or there are different things that qualify.

What is writer’s block for you?

Published by Dan Alatorre AUTHOR

International bestselling author Dan Alatorre has 17 titles published in over a dozen languages. From Romance in Poggibonsi to action and adventure in the sci-fi thriller The Navigators, to comedies like Night Of The Colonoscopy: A Horror Story (Sort Of) and the heartwarming and humorous anecdotes about parenting in the popular Savvy Stories series, his knack for surprising audiences and making you laugh or cry - or hang onto the edge of your seat - has been enjoyed by audiences around the world. And you are guaranteed to get a page turner every time. “That’s my style,” Dan says. “Grab you on page one and then send you on a roller coaster ride, regardless of the story or genre.” Readers agree, making his string of #1 bestsellers popular across the globe. He will make you chuckle or shed tears, sometimes on the same page. His novels always contain twists and turns, and his nonfiction will stay in your heart forever. Dan resides in the Tampa area with his wife and daughter. You can find him blogging away almost every day on www.DanAlatorre or watch his hilarious YouTube show every week Writers Off Task With Friends. Dan’s marketing book 25 eBook Marketing Tips You Wish You Knew has been a valuable tool for new authors (it’s free if you subscribe to his newsletter) and his dedication to helping other authors is evident in his helpful blog.

8 thoughts on “Writer’s Block

  1. Wow, writer’s block is my all-too-frequent companion, so maybe I get your share of it. (Feel free to claim it anytime you’d like.) My story is outlined in detail. I know what I should be writing about; it just doesn’t always work that way.

    I’m not really sure what causes my writer’s block, but it seems to come about when something (usually more like “someone”) is messing with my head. I find myself not really caring about my characters–how they’re feeling, what they’re thinking, what they’re doing–and I end up disconnected from my story.

    Nothing flows to the page, Or, if it does, it’s usually garbage that gets deleted right away. It’s frustrating as hell to watch precious time go by and miss hitting personal writing goals all because the ideas in your head won’t come out.

    Some bouts of writer’s block last longer than others, and I’ve managed to find several ways to break through or work around them–obviously, otherwise I’d still be sitting there looking at a blank page instead of running down the homestretch of my current WIP.

    I guess it’s just something writers learn to live with…well the rest of us, anyway.

    1. I finally know what people meant when they said “just write.” Some just do it, like me, and some use schedules and prompts – like me.

      SCHEDULES
      I get up early every morning to write. That means, if I had to get up at 6:30 to get ready for work, I get up at 5:30 to write. It’s Christmas morning every day at 5:30am, my happy writing time.

      That doesn’t always mean I have mesmerizing prose falling from my fingertips. I’m supposed to blog, Tweet, post on Facebook, and have an active running regimen, among other things – like family, friends, work… Plus a five year old distraction who might come down at 8am or at 5:30.

      So distractions, I get.

      There’s also the temptation to check email or Twitter.

      Must… resist… (But just until I get my writing done.)

      Now, once I start writing, things just flow. So how do I start?

      Just start.

      Write that crap. Don’t delete it.

      PROMPTS
      I might read a critique partner’s story and as I’m critiquing it, I see a blog post emerging from the critique. Copy, paste, edit – that takes care of a blog post. Schedule said post for another day – I had to do it anyway – and now I have one fewer distraction.

      So I’m doing other stuff?

      No, I’m writing. Once I start, I GO.

      Doesn’t necessarily matter what I write about. Writing a critique, I can’t wait to get over to my story. The critique serves as a kind of prompt.

      So does my outline.

      I look it over… If I have a scene I really want to write, I write it! It may or may not actually fit when I get caught up to it, but it’s there, done, waiting for me.

      There are also the dark times. Scenes I don’t want to write. In my romantic comedy Poggibonsi, there’s a scene where the dad has to reconcile for the things he did wrong. His daughter asks him questions he doesn’t want to answer. I imagine my daughter asking those questions and what I’d have to say if I’d done what he’s done. It’s terrible. My daughter will cry. I’ll cry. And the scene will end with the problem unresolved.

      I don’t want to write it.

      So it’s sitting out there waiting for me.

      I just have to schedule it, then I’ll knuckle down and knock it out, probably with the use of a box of Kleenex, on Thursday of next week.

      Get up at 4am, maybe, and get it done, because I won’t sleep well anyway, with that scene waiting for me…

      It may be a great scene, or it may suck, I don’t know. I can edit words into something good; I can’t edit a blank page. But it’ll get written, because I’m a writer. That’s what I do. I’m not a Twitterer. I’m not a Facebooker. I’m not a blogger. I do those things, too, but I’m a writer first and foremost. I have a job, but writing is what I do.

      That means writing is harder for me than it is for most people.

  2. My writer’s block usually means all my ideas are crappy. The “what ifs” all lead somewhere dumb. If I’m really stuck I’ll write out a scene I know I won’t keep and let others see it. They’ll usually have an opinion about how to get back on track.

    1. Great to get a nudge in the right direction from friends. That’ll unclog things. You’re not in it alone! But you may be too close to see options that friends can see.

      1. I finished a dry spell a few months ago, where I could hardly write at all. Nothing I did seemed right, and every time I sat at the computer I felt paralyzed with fear.

        What did I do? I changed my critique group. And it made a HUGE difference. Sometimes people are more than wiling to point out what’s wrong with a story, without contributing suggestions for a way to do things better. In my mind, that’s like hitting someone with a car and then not calling for an ambulance.

  3. Man, I got blasted by a few crits right off the bat when I joined my critique group. Luckily, I thought they were morons and hung around to meet some MUCH NICER and MUCH MORE HELPFUL people. That has made all the difference.

    Then, of course, I did what I do…

    I saw some new members being lambasted by two goofball pseudowriters and I decided to try to read at least 5 new stories from new members each week, helping them and introducing them to what a critique group could be like, in a positive way.

    Most of them, I reasoned, would figure that’s just how it was done in our group, and would then act that way themselves when they did reviews, and eventually we’d weed out the bad guys.

  4. Writer’s block can be very different from person to person. I won’t repeat the excellent explanations above, but I’d like to add two (which may not actually be blocks, but are sometimes called it anyway).
    1) If you have a busy non-writing life, the exhaustion at the end of the workday can feel like a block, but it’s more of a burnout really.
    2) Mental health issues that block creativity in periods. It’s more than “I’m not sure where this story is going”. For example, “I am not good enough, I will never be able to live up to my own expectations, there is no point in even trying anything because I will fail anyway.” In the case of depression, it’s not a writer’s block as much as a life block of not having the energy to do anything or to feel the love of things one used to.

    1. Can’t argue with that! As one writer friend once said, sometimes life happens and pushes everything else aside. When my daughter got sick and spent a few days in the hospital, I didn’t feel the urge to be prolific at all. On the other hand, I think I knocked out a whole ending of a book one Saturday when I didn’t feel like running on the treadmill. Once the running shoes got on my feet, suddenly the words appeared!

Leave a Reply to CJ Andrews Cancel reply

%d bloggers like this: