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Tuesday, 25 January 2011

The Dreaded Writer's Block

I have read a lot about 'Writer's Block' - two blog posts this week caught my eye. Writer's block - Julie Cohen and Smashing Writer's Block to Bits and Pieces - Elana Johnson.  Now, I am on the side of there is no such thing as writer's block.  But I do believe in lack of ideas and/or motivation.

As a writer I find I am battling these problems almost all the time (except of course on those rare days when everything is sparking).  Usually I have either lots of ideas but don't really fancy writing them, or I really really want to write but have no clue what to write.  I have to say, the second problem is the easiest to fix.

When I don't have ideas I just start looking for them.  It sounds really simple and it is.  When I was first told that, I thought, 'I am looking for them', turns out I wasn't so much.  I was reading about writing (which is always a good thing) which was just making me want to write more but wasn't feeding my imagination.  I found something as simple as reading a book/magazine/newspaper spurned more and more ideas until I was over-flowing with them.  This was great.  Until I realised I now had the first problem of not really wanting to write.

Once again I read about writing, which helped a little.  I tried doing things other than writing such as cooking, tidying, etc.  The problem with this was it was making my house look fantastic but by the end of the day I didn't have any energy left to write, even if I had wanted to.  I'm sure this works for some people, but for me, I don't know when to stop doing the mindless tasks.

This is where my advice massively contradicts Elana's (it's true that there are as many ways to write as writers and you will have to find your own way).  I find that the best way to make me want to write is to write.  This year I have started writing in my diary again (I'm going to do a post on diaries soon).  And recently found a fantastic site 750 words which is basically an online version of the 'write three pages each morning' theory (it even analysis your writing).  Since I have been doing all this extra writing (and yes, writing in a blog does count) I've wanted to write more and more and more.  To begin with it doesn't matter what you're writing, as long as you are getting words out.  And once you're motivated, you can start/continue on that fantastic idea you had earlier.

Do you believe in writer's block? How do you get youself through it?

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