Attention: Writers and Aspiring Writers

So, I write. I love it. I've been told I'm good at it, the problem is I have the worst case of writer's block ever. That coupled with the fact that I can't seem to make myself sit still long enough to write, means I've got a few great beginnings and nothing else. I would LOVE LOVE LOVE if anyone could give me tips on moving past my writer's block and sitting still. I really think I have the makings of a great quote unquote novel (it shall be referred to as such because it could be a serial or a really kick ass short story), and would love to be able to finish it. Please and thank you in advance.

Forums: 
MeiLin's picture

Most High

What helps me:

--Exercise (though I hate it), and it doesn't have to be a big deal. Just a good walk.

--A regular meditation practice. It does help calm the mind.

--Just writing your way through it. Pull those words out with pliers if you have to. I paraphrase the great Wil Wheaton: DARE TO SUCK!

HTH.

Pikachu42's picture

Embodiment

but i could never make myself calm down enough to be successful at it. though when i was doing it, it was very peaceful. I've tried yanking the words out as well, but i was beyond dissatisfied with what i wrote. others loved it, but i was like uhhhh. i've never thought about exercise. i'm normally to busy grumbling over the fact that i'm exercising to do much of anything else.

MeiLin's picture

Most High

DARE TO SUCK! Pull the words out and work with them later. Leave them as long as you need to, but get them out.

ETA: It takes a long time to quiet down during meditation. You have to keep at it; it's a skill that's learned over time, not innate in the human being.

Pikachu42's picture

Embodiment

to stop thinking i was going to jump in and be all zen about it. i was also told to explore other methods of meditation. i'm trying....no not really don't let me lie to you. and i will dare to suck. and then edit later as the words come out. Wink

TheBoy's picture

Embodiment

narrate/tape record? That'd let you move around more effectively.

Marri's picture

Supplicant

Two things:

-Babbles. I know they're sometimes stupid, but if I get writer's block I just sit down for fifteen minutes and write down EVERY thought that comes into my head. (Typing is better for this, for me, because I type much faster than I write and I think much faster than I do either, but either probably works fine). Go on and on and on if you have to. Not even remotely related to your story if you're doing it right Smile I once spent about two pages whining about my little sister and her bizarre phone rants.

-Write or Die! http://lab.drwicked.com/writeordie.html Laughing at the ridiculous sounds it makes is endlessly priceless.

-Reeeeead. I know "you have to read before you write" is a cliche, but booknomnom!

Capriox's picture

Embodiment

I just discovered writerordie and I love love LOVE it. It's absolutely great for what MeiLin was suggesting - pulling the words out with pliers. Hey, it's first draft! You need to get material on the page first before you can go back to edit it (my problem is editing myself to death before I even get three sentences on the page). So yeah, I second and third that suggestion.

Writing in movie script style also helps me - narrating a scene on paper without fussing about all the proper little grammatically connections and nitty gritty details you can work out later (current example: I have 3 characters in a calvary battle and for the next bit of action, the protagonist ends up fighting alone without the other two. Where'd they go? Pulled off by another enemy, distracted, I don't know, worry about it later, just keep narrating the protagonist's action for now). Not as formal and abstract as outlining, but not quite as rigorous/mind-grinding as prose.

Good luck! Share it with us when/in you can. I'm sure I'm not the only one here who is always looking for good new reads Wink

MeiLin's picture

Most High

MANY MANY MANY of the chapters here start out with dialog. Maybe even most. I have a dialog scene between Brinnid and Sedra that's just waiting for the right spot.

Capriox's picture

Embodiment

Glad to see you're getting back on the horse, so to speak. Even if it's at a trot, not a gallop like before (probably much safer if less fun :grins:). I Heart this story so much.

Pikachu42's picture

Embodiment

out a script so to speak, but i realized i didn't know what i was doing. i normally start off jumping right in the thick of things so to speak. i can grab you attention, just don't know how to keep it. Sad

Pikachu42's picture

Embodiment

that's awesome advice! i do find the best lines for my stories by babbling on in regular conversation though.

Blue Coyote's picture

Devotee

I've become a fan of outlines, and lists and free notes. I am very scatterbrained and tend to have several stories or bits of stories or funny little scenes or sayings that I want to incorperate in things. So I write them down on little scraps of paper and in my phone and later transcribe them into the computer. Some things go straight into the stories in progress and some go into a junk-file. A junk-file is great, it's like a junk-drawer full of usseless things that might be needed later on. I have lists of cool or interesting names to use for characters. I have bits of background for characters I haven't got stories for and bits of stories with just vauge stereotypes/archtypes in place of actual characters.
Also I've found when I can't write I can still draw and so I'll do sketches of the main players or of scenes (I'm trying really hard to do more scenes and not just people standing on nothing Wink
Or there's a game we used to play where a group of people would tell a story together. One person would start and tell a few minutes of story, usually up to a sort of exciting point and then would hand it off to the next person. They would tell the story from then, add some embellishment and give it to the next. Depending on the maturity of the people in the ring it can go short or long, be very ghost-story creepy or shark-jumpingly ludicris.

Pikachu42's picture

Embodiment

writing outlines. i used to pride myself on being able to just "write" and have everything flow and be you know awesome i guess. outlines made me feel confined. i actually tried writing out character developments, and though i came up with amazingly complex people i hated every minute of it. I love the junk drawer idea. i've often found myself coming up with the perfect continuation of a story and then don't write it down because "oh i'll remember it for sure". needless to say i don't. then i'm back staring at my computer. prime example, yesterday i came up with a very good continuation for a story i'd been stagnant with for almost a year, but i didn't write it down even though i had my phone with me. my character is still hanging off that cliff.

The Vixen's picture

Devotee

Don't be afraid to go out of order. I had some writers block that left me stunned for a whole semester. Eventually, I had a dream that propelled me out of it, but in the mean time, since I knew what happened after that, I just kept writing. That's not how it always works, but the basic truth is that every writers block is different.

Poisonous Giraffe's picture

Devotee

I found that if I go find some place different from where I usually write it's a little easier. mostly my problem is that I get tired of being in the same place, so sitting outside or in a cafe or wherever can help me out a lot. I usually spend a lot of time staring at a blank word processing screen, and everyone knows how frustrating that is, so sometimes I just grab a notebook and wander someplace else. that's how I managed to start my NaNo novel :B

Pikachu42's picture

Embodiment

do need to venture out. I mean, what's the point of having a laptop if I'm not going to take advantage of it's mobility? I do the most of my writing in my room. I'm like a hermit. More precisely I'm like Gollum hording his precious. It's not pretty at all. I thought about packing up and going to the starbucks, but I was told I would look like one of those "people". Whoever those "people" are.

magalicious's picture

Postulant

The Bucks love writers. One of my friends is a writer with Harlequin and she pretty much has her own chair there! You don't have to worry about being one of those people if those people are awesome people.

MeiLin's picture

Most High

is just pissed off because s/he isn't talented enough to be one of "those people."

harrumph.

Pedes's picture

Postulant

Hmm, I can't help you with sitting still part; although I myself have a bad habit of losing concentration once I sit at the computer, but I blame the internet Wink
If you don't have one story you want to concentrate on it's a bit easier... Weave the stories, get into a habit of creating and writing. I find some dull activities (cleaning, pruning the garden, long walks, cooking hmmm, sewing? XD And of course shower and hm... bathroom time) are a great time for weaving the stories. (insomnia is good for that too but I don't recommend it). I found I get some nice pieces of narration or dialog when I'm commuting, so I bought myself a notebook I can take it and write in it wherever. I absolutely HATE writing by hand, as I'm slower with it than typing, but I lost in the depth of forgetfulness too many smooth dialogs to worry about it anymore.
Another thing is: get in the habit of writing. The notebook I bought is also for that purpose: If you spend too much time staring into a blank Word (OpenOffice or whatever) document you'll become less and less able to write. Catch the pieces when they appear. If you have no ideas... write something rubbish. We get used to the thought that we can't write, that we have a block that we get unable to get out of it.
What is a biggest problem for me is to focus on the story I need to go forward at a particular time. I have a few stories I work on (ones that are present and ones that don't want to wait for their turn). Also as I both try to write prose and write and draw comics one of the biggest problems is the narration-type shift. Still it's the best you can wish for in times of block, as if one thing gets stuck I simply shift to another. And ways of fighting art and writers block are similar.
One thing that usually holds us back the most, and I am no exception, is lack of self-confidence, inflicted on us by others with words like "can't you do something useful", "stop playing, learn", "that won't give you money", "why don't you write/draw something else?", "what are you doing? shouldn't you be (insert)". We think what others might think of us, of how they will evaluate what we're doing and we lose faith. I know I do :/ But I'm stubborn as hell too Biggrin

Pikachu42's picture

Embodiment

have a little notebook. I bought it to write ideas about my "calendar" shop. It's actually how I wrote the first chapter to my story. I still have it, but do to bad handwriting I stopped using it. And yeah, I never get any work done while on the internets. I say I'm not going surf, and then someone will IM me. Or I'll check my email and get trapped in stumble upon world.

MeiLin's picture

Most High

Sometimes I have to shut my connection off to get work done.

seia's picture

Devotee

I usually do this when I want/need to write something but lack any real inspiration to do so:
Take every single idea you have and write them down on a piece of blank paper (all over the page, not like a normal text). Using differently sized letters for the things you think are important may help, but it usually doesn't really matter. Draw some lines between the ideas that you could combine, and start writing little bits of text from that. Make them a bit longer each time and you'll eventually have enough to work with.

I hope you have at least a few ideas left, otherwise this won't work.

Pedes's picture

Postulant

That's interesting... I wouldn't go about writing like that, because my writing usually stems from questions "who, what, how, why, when? er...?" (Then again even my DREAMS often have backstories of their own Wink ) that stem from a single situation/dialog/dream.
I love how people do things differently Biggrin

Pikachu42's picture

Embodiment

but I've never been much for formal writing. Who knows perhaps need to change my style.

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