Writer’s block is “a usually temporary condition in which a writer finds it impossible to proceed with the writing of a novel, play, or other work” (Dictionary.com). But we all know what writer’s block is, right? It’s an annoying wall that builds itself brick by brick and before you know it, you’re stuck. There are no doors, no windows. Your characters and plot are on one side and you’re stuck on the other.
When does writer’s block occur?
Whenever you close your mind.
Why does writer’s block occur?
Writer’s block can come from anything: lack of motivation, lack of inspiration, lack of time, etc. Sometimes you just get into a funk and say to yourself, “I don’t feel like writing today.” You don’t have the motivation to sit at your computer for a couple of hours and type up of a few pages. Maybe your characters are no longer speaking to you (did you kill off anyone lately?), thus no inspiration is coming in. Sometimes we lose track of time. There are dishes to be done, you have to go to your day job, maybe you have to sleep… there are so many reasons.
How do I get rid of writer’s block?
That’s easy! Force your characters to talk to you, find a way around that wall–break it down if you have to. Make time, not excuses. Open a blank page on the computer or in a notebook and just write about anything. What did you have for breakfast that morning? What is your favorite color and why? What’s a funny story that happened to you in the past week? Write about how one of your co-workers may secretly be a superhero. The possibilities are endless.
Does writer’s block really exist or is it all in my head?
Of course it’s all in your head. We’re writers, aren’t we?
This is the writing prompt I used to help me get out of my writer’s block. This is not my best work, I have to say…I’m not all that thrilled with it, but I do find it a little amusing. After all, if it helped me get back into a groove with my writing, how terrible can this story be?
Prompt: Everything is Ruined Because…
“Everything is ruined because of you!”
“Sweetheart, darling, pumpkin!” I pleaded while dodging a glass vase being thrown at my head.
“Don’t call me pumpkin!” she screamed.
“Sweetheart, darling…” I obeyed her request. “I don’t understand why you are so upset. Please talk to me…”
“Oh, you make me so…so…angry!” she was frantically looking around for something else to throw at me. She seemed very determined to not miss again.
I lowered myself on the ground to pick up the shards of glass. “Don’t come any closer, dear. You’re not wearing any shoes or socks.” I smirked as I watched her feet dance around the room. “Did you get a pedicure, my dear?”
“Yes, ma’am,” I swallowed.
Oh, this was not a pretty picture. This was not one of the finest moments of my wife and I. Although, I should probably explain everything from the beginning, huh? Maybe together you and I can figure out why she found it amusing to chuck her favorite vase at me…among other fragile objects.
Yes, the man picking up the glass pieces is yours truly, Dexter Humphrey. The woman—you know, the one with smoke coming out of her ears—is my wife, Lacey Humphrey. As you can clearly see, Lacey is angry. She is angry at me. Why? That is what I don’t understand. She says that I ruined everything…I don’t know what that means.
Let me rewind to the morning and hopefully I will find something during the day that will make me realize what I did to upset her so much.
“Good morning, my darling!” I cheerfully entered the kitchen upon waking up from a wonderful night of rest.
“Good morning,” Lacey smiled. I kissed her on the cheek before sitting down at the table opening the newspaper.
“Um,” Lacey sighed. “I took the day off from work today.”
I looked up from the paper for a pause. “How sweet, you wanted to spend the day with your loving husband.” I never work on Friday.
“Well, of course.” Lacey chuckled. “Why else would I bother to take the day off?”
“Well, we need the money, so I have no idea why else you would take off a random Friday.” I shrugged my shoulders.
“Random Friday?” she whispered.
I have no idea why she repeated that.
“Dex, isn’t there anything you want to say to me?”
I looked up from my paper once more. “Ah, yes. What’s for breakfast, my darling?”
Lacey frowned again. “Would you like to go out? You know, since it’s the 31st…of July.”
I scrunched up my face. “No, dear; we only go out for breakfast when there is a special occasion.”
“Yes,” Lacey looked hopeful.
“Glad you agree,” I cleared my throat. “What’s for breakfast?”
She did not answer me as she began to cook…yet, I did hear a faint growl coming from her direction.
Lacey followed me out of the kitchen after breakfast. “When I finish cleaning up, what would you like to do?”
I scratched my belly. “Video games? All of my colleagues have beaten Skyward Sword and I am still puzzled on that one damn part.”
“Video games?” Why was she repeating everything I said?
“Yes, dear; I do this every Friday while you are at work.”
“Well, I took the day off because I thought you and I would do something…together.” Lacey took a deep breath. She looked as though something was troubling her.
I grinned. “You finally want to learn how to play video games! Oh, joy! We shall start off with something easy…Mario Kart!” I dashed out of the room to go get the game. But as I ran away, I could feel her glaring at me behind my back.
“Let’s go out for dinner!” Lacey announced with a smile. “Maybe that will jog your memory…”
“Excuse me?” I looked up from the TV putting the game on pause. “My memory is top notch, thank you very much!” I had no idea why she was making fun of my memory.
“Obviously,” she scoffed. “You forgot something important today and still haven’t realized that you forgot something!” her anger was growing.
“I never forget a thing. You must be mistaken.” I laughed.
Lacey sat down on the couch and began to sob. “This whole day is ruined…”
I rubbed her back. “Darling, nothing is ruined. I shall help with dinner, if that is what you wish.”
She jumped off of the couch and shouted. “Everything is ruined because of you!”
Then…oh, we’re back to where we started. I am still on the floor attempting to pick up the pieces of my wife’s shattered heart…metaphorically speaking.
Then it hit me like a glass vase!
“Honey, I know what has been bothering you.” I stood up with my arms stretched out. She calmed down, but only for a moment as I wrapped her up into a big hug.
I said she was only calm for a moment. I was soon shoved off of her as she screamed, “It’s our anniversary!”
“I’m sorry, darling…I will make it up to you. That is the funny thing about anniversaries, you know. They come once year. There’s always next year!”
And that was when she threw the book at my noggin.
So I realized that I haven’t really talked too much about my writing on here lately. I can’t really say that things haven’t been going well, but I guess they haven’t really been going all that great, either.
Ever since I got stuck with my novel Cybertra back in July for Camp NaNoWriMo, I’ve been kind of stuck on all of my writing. I’ve been trying, but I don’t really know what to do with myself.
I went on vacation for a week in July and that was one whole week that I didn’t write. I played Pokemon instead. So that also slowed me down a bit, too. But I can’t complain because I think I needed a break from writing for a little bit.
But when I came back from vacation I realized that I really needed to get back into the swing of things. I have three young adult novels completed, why aren’t I editing them? I have three other novels started, why aren’t I finishing them?
Kris and I went to Barnes and Noble together last week. I took out my laptop and was beside myself. What was I supposed to write? I had no idea. Kris found a cool writing prompt app on her phone in which we both downloaded. She wasn’t too sure what to write, either, so we each picked a prompt. Mine was, “Everything is ruined because…” Again, what was I supposed to write about?
In the end, I wrote a small short story that was about four pages long. I’ll post it on here tomorrow. It was probably the dumbest thing I had ever written in my life. I wasn’t too crazy about the way I had written it, the story line was kind of weird, and the characters were just…odd. It certainly was not my best work.
But it was soon after that that I began to write again. That same day at Barnes and Noble, I whipped out my Hunter & Comet story and wrote a little bit of that. Then, for some strange reason, I got into the mood of writing one of those cliche high school drama novels. I have a couple of ideas for those and ended up starting one. It’s called Union Academy. I have no idea what the plot really is…it’s just one of those drama stories where things never seem to go right for a group of high school girls.
The time we went to Barnes and Noble after that, the latest time we’ve gone, I ended up writing that. And I got a good chunk done, too. So I think I’m over my little writer’s block. Not only that, but I actually started editing Hunter again.
It just goes to show that whatever writing you’re stuck on, just write something, anything. Even if it’s terrible. And it will help.
Let’s begin with last night: I wrote some more of Take Over, but only 2,063 more words of it. I planned on writing as much of Take Over as I possible could up until midnight. Then when midnight came I was going to start writing Saving Each Other for Camp NaNo. That didn’t happen. I got tired of writing Take Over and my fingers felt as though they were going to fall off. I was in bed at 10:30. Yeah.
But that’s okay because I woke up this morning and got started on Saving Each Other right away. I am happy to announce that I have written 6,350 words for Saving Each Other so far. I was going to continue on, but I wanted to post on here first because I have to go to work soon.
That picture is a sticky note. I tend to glance down at the bottom left-hand corner to see how many pages and words I have. I put the sticky on the screen blocking it so I wouldn’t look at the words. Then I set my timer to an hour so I only got to check how many words I got written every hour. It helped because I tried to get more and more words each hour trying to break the previous record.
According to my Camp NaNo stats, at the rate I’m going I should finish on April 8. I have no idea if that will actually happen or not, but I do have a lot of time this week. I got lucky this year: I only have work today because my class was cancelled. Tomorrow my class is usually 10:30-2, but my professor has a funeral so class tomorrow is going to be 12-2. That gives me an extra hour and a half to write. Then I have work in the afternoon. Wednesday I can write before class (which is 9-10:15) and after class, before work. I have work at 2. Thursday I can write before class (which is 10:30-11:45) and then before I babysit, which is 3-6. Friday I have work 11-6, but I don’t have school that morning so I can use that time to write. I have all day Saturday and all day (after church) on Sunday. I think I can get a whole lot done.
I hope I get a lot done because I plan on writing the entire Saving Each Other part…not just 50,000 words of it. On top of that I want to finish Take Over. I’m going to finish Saving Each Other first and then finish Take Over. I am also going to include whatever words I write for Take Over into my word count for the month. But I’ll write 50,000 words on Saving Each Other first so I’m technically not cheating.
I hope everyone is off to a great start just like I am! We have 29 more days to go!
2013: 88,129/365,000 Words Written
2013: 1,749/18,250 Pages Read
So this is kind of like a follow-up on yesterday’s post…
I’m going to explain to you what I think I have. It definitely is not writer’s block, I can tell you that much. If I had writer’s block, I would not have a total of 120 story ideas. Now I have two scripts finished, two novels, and two children’s stories completed. Completed, as in written…not done-done. Anyway, I have ideas. What do I do with them? Clearly, I actually stuck with six of them, but what about the rest? This is where the A.D.D kicks in.
I have 12 ideas started. I may have written only one chapter, I may be half-way through the novel, or I may only have one or two chapters left to write; either way, I have not finished any of them. I have ideas for them. I know how they are going to play out. I’ve written the beginning, I have some middle to it, and I know how they are all going to end. Yet, I have not been able to sit myself down and actually write them. Why is this?
I can’t tell you the answer because I don’t know the answer. All I know is that when I get in the mood to write, I sit down and stare at the list of titles I have and what do I get done? Nothing. Why? Simply because I don’t know what to write. I think that is my problem: I have way too many ideas.
Now common sense would say to finish the 12 you have started before going onto anything else. How do you choose which one of those 12 that you want to complete first? Put all the titles in a hat and pick one from random? Sure, why not? Or maybe pick the one that is the closest to being finished or the one that is farthest from being finished. Okay, we can do that. But do we actually do any of that? No, of course not.
Ideas are all around us. Well, they’re all around me, anyway, I don’t know about you guys…but my point is that whenever I go out I see something or I hear something and I just have to write it down. No questions asked I just need to write it down so I have something to play with later on. Even though I should be playing with my already started story ideas. But take the other day for example:
My sister and I were getting dinner. I was sitting in the car while she ran into Subway. It’s around 6 PM, still light out, I’m sitting in the car alone, it’s quiet. So I talk to myself. I always do. But as I’m getting into a riveting conversation with myself, I notice a woman dashing through the parking lot with a two-year-old boy in her arms. Looking back at the stores, she could have either come out of Chuck E. Cheese, Subway, or Dunkin’ Donuts. I’m going to assume Chuck E. Cheese. She’s all dressed up as though she just got out of the office. She was wearing a white, shiny blouse which was tucked into her black pencil skirt…with sneakers. Awkward. She was walking so fast that she looked as though she was just going to tip right over. She kept looking at the baby and then glaring at the space in front of her, back to the baby, back to glaring. Judging by the look on her face, she was not a happy camper. That sucks. She gets to her silver car, which is parked almost in front of me, but about two spaces over to the left. She puts the baby down, puts her black purse down, and then stares at the baby. She looks up and puffs out her cheeks as though she was letting out an angry sigh. While she rummages through her purse and unlocks her car, I watch the baby. He just stands there in the next parking spot with a blank expression on his face. Clearly, he has no idea what is going on and why should he? He’s two (possibly). Then I take a closer look and what’s this? A sling on his right arm. Interesting. He gets scooped up by the woman and they both go into the back seat as she straps him into his car seat. Her purse still lays on the parking spot next to them. Huh. She gets out, turns around and looks at the back of her skirt. She rolls her eyes and throws her arms up in the air frustrated. Alright, then. She closes the door, tosses her purse in the front seat, closes that door, and walks over to the other side of the car. She lights a cigarette and makes a call on her cell phone. Her lips were moving quickly as she spoke and her facial expressions showed she was clearly angry at something. Someone?
Look at that last paragraph. Just by observing one little scene in real life, you can come up with a whole lot. What store was she coming out of? What was she doing there? Was there someone else there with her? Why was she wearing sneakers with a dressy outfit? Why was she angry? Who was she angry with? What happened to the boy’s arm? What relation did she have to this baby? Why was she in such a rush? What did she sit in? Or did her skirt just get a hole in it? Who did she call? What if someone ran right up and grabbed the purse as she was busy with the baby? Or worse, what if someone ran right up and grabbed the baby as she was fighting with the car keys?
Only one thing caused all that to happen. However, there are so many possibilities you could come up with before learning the truth. As a writer, you can come up with so many different ideas for something like that. You can make your own twists and turns and you can write and rewrite one certain thing because there is so much you can do with just that one scene!
Why am I telling you all of this? Well, that’s because I’m not quite sure writer’s block even exists. It may be all in our heads. I mean, that’s okay. We’re all writer’s, we’re all insane. But all you need is an idea to get rid of writer’s block and all ideas come from something, someone, or somewhere. You just need to keep your eyes wide and ears open.
So, with something like that, you could easily write a short story or make a whole plot out of it for a novel. Use it as a prompt, even. Either way, it will get those rusty gears in your mind turning once again and your fingers will take it from there. Once you get into the swing of things again, you can get back to work on those unfinished novels.
Wait, we couldn’t decide which ones to work on first, right? Well…that’s another story for another day.
All These Characters in My Head Won’t Sit Down and Shut Up….
What is writer’s block? Basically, it means that a writer has run out of new ideas. They cease to write for a little while due to lack of idea, inspiration, whatever you want to call it. This could happen in between writing books or it could happen while you’re in the middle of writing a book. It can happen anytime, anywhere, to anyone. To put it simply: it sucks.
What is A.D.D? Attention Deficit Disorder. You may have impulsive actions; you may have a high hyperactivity level, or lack a high attention span.
The difference between writer’s block and A.D.D is that you can be diagnosed with A.D.D and…Let’s face it; writer’s block is all in your head. My point is if you’re a writer, how can you tell what you have? Regardless of being diagnosed with A.D.D or not, we can pretend to diagnose ourselves (if we assume that we have it).
Anyway, writer’s block means that you’re fresh out of ideas, correct? Well, I don’t have that problem. If you read the Writing tab at the top, you would know that I write young adult novels, middle grade novels, children’s books, and I have a few ideas for scripts. Now…if I had writer’s block, would one think that I would have ideas for 7 scripts (5 being movies and 2 being TV shows), 5 children’s books, 10 middle grade novel (but it’s a series, so there will be more planned), and 98 young adult novels? No, I don’t think so.
Now, I self-diagnosed myself with A.D.D a long time ago, but I was never tested for it. I don’t know for certain if I really have it. So, let’s assume that I don’t have it since I was never tested for it…18 out of 120 ideas I listed above have been started. Only 6 of those 18 ideas have actually been completed…two of them are children’s books, two of them are young adult novels, and two of them are movie scripts. The sad part is that one of those children’s books would have never even been thought of if I didn’t have to write a children’s story for my Child Development class in high school.
Now finally on to my point…how do you know if you really have writer’s block or A.D.D when it comes to writing? The answer? You don’t. In one case, you could be in the middle of writing one story, but stop and move onto the next because you may have ran out of ideas on what to do next. Then you would have writer’s block. In the other case, you could be in the middle of writing one story, but stop and move onto the next because you lost interest in the story. The plot is moving too slowly, you hate your characters, or you simply have an idea on what to do next, but you don’t like it. Or you could be writing a scene and from that scene a whole new plot unfolds in your head for a completely different novel. That happens to me a lot and I cannot stress enough when I say a lot. That would probably be A.D.D. Either way, that novel is not getting done.
So, what is it exactly that I’m trying to say? Whether you have writer’s block, A.D.D, or your pen just ran out of ink…that novel is not going to write itself. Ideas or no ideas, new ideas or old ideas, keep that pen flowing or those fingers typing because believe me; once that first draft is done, a huge relief of accomplishment will surge through the veins in your body.
It took me nine months and seven days to complete the first draft of my young adult novel. It was the very first novel I had ever finished (aside from the two children’s books). I felt so relieved that I had actually finished something. Sure, it was just the first draft and it was crap, but now I get to look forward to editing it and then finally kicking it out the door to get published. I have edited it a couple of times and believe me, it still needs a lot of work. The other young adult novel I completed took me two months and three days. That one turned out even worse than the first novel I finished. However, I got it done regardless of if I had ideas or not. My main goal was just getting it done…which is why the first draft is so crappy. Now when I edit it, I will catch errors, plot holes, and come up with new and better ideas for the story. Believe me, it’s a lot easier working with something crappy than it is working with nothing at all.
Now, most people say that some novels can take up to a couple of years to write. I believe that, but even though my first novel didn’t take me a year to write, I found that I felt much more accomplished with the novel I wrote in two months than I did with the novel I wrote in nine months. So, it may be better for some people to write their novel slowly and carefully. But, if you stay in character, keep the plot moving at an okay pace and actually have a beginning, middle, and an end; I think writing a novel as quickly as possible is the best bet. Sure, editing will be harder than actually writing the story, but that’s how it should be. When you write, have fun. Say what’s on your mind and write whatever ideas pop into your head. Then when you edit, you can curse all you want…what better way to take out your frustrations on a novel than to scribble all over it with red ink?
Don’t get frustrated because the novel isn’t finished; get frustrated because the finished novel isn’t polished to a sparkling shine.