Writer’s Block And You

I am still super, super blocked, thanks to the Bucketloads-O-Stress that the fates have been dumping on me, but I am ridiculously proud of the fact that I managed a couple of hundred words of bad fanfic yesterday. Hopefully the dam is cracking!

When you’re truly stuck, sometimes it helps to fall back on my All Purpose Writing Advice, and just make some words. Any words. If you can get something down on the page, no matter what, it can start cracking the dam that Blocked has set up on your creativity. I used to get into haiku-exchanges with bored co-workers, that was fun. But whatever you do, don’t start beating yourself up over not being able to do your ‘real’ writing, because that almost always just builds the damned dam up even higher. Whatever you do, don’t let anyone tell you that writer’s block doesn’t exist, or that this or that method is the only way to get around it!

Your brain works how it works, and there are a million things that can affect it, from depression to tiredness to boredom to self-doubt, all the way down the list to diet and exercise. (An undiagnosed food intolerance, for example, can do a truly hideous number on your brain, I speak from experience). The best advice I can give is that you should read all the advice you can find, think about all the things that you do that might make it better or worse, then try everything and see what helps and what doesn’t. The scientific method is best! If powering through keeps you going, great, do that. If you need to take a break to write some Ratchet/Clank slash, sure, go nuts. If you need to stop and sort out some daily-life stress before you can create again, that’s fine.

Take the time to figure out what works for you, then keep doing that. I like long walks listening to my ipod, writing bad poetry, reading books in whatever genre I’m writing in to get the mindset going (and find tropes to subvert) and eating a lot of chocolate. Those are fun things to do and I recommend trying them, but they won’t work for everyone.

Everyone has their own process. You’ll do better with your own than with someone else’s, no matter how good a writer they are.

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2 thoughts on “Writer’s Block And You

  1. I was in the habit for years of making my first draft my only draft so I’m still a terrible self-editor; screening everything as it goes down on the page. “Play around!” my mind cries, but then I get neurotic mental movies of being hit by a car, someone reading my first draft and going “yeesh, maybe he threw himself in front of it”.

    Fan-fic is looked down on by a few people, but I find it great for keeping your writing muscles in shape and getting immediate feedback. Yes, this can be as shallow as ‘great story!’ but even that’s valuable if it helps keep your morale up during the loneliness of finishing something more substantial.

    • Feedback can be enormously helpful. Things like plot holes and trope blindness are really, really difficult to spot for yourself… until someone points them out. Then they’re suddenly hugely obvious. Fan-fiction is a great way to get your work in front of eyes and get some outside opinions.

      I rarely have a full second draft myself – I’ll write a draft, go through and tweak here and there, maybe rewrite a scene or two, and then call it done. It took NaNoWriMo and the forced word-count to make me break out of my as-we-go editing and actually get crap down.

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