Writing Advice: Writer's Block

Writing Advice: Writer's Block

A Story by Ann Elise Monte
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Writer's block is a pain. Here's some advice, some I received from others and some I discovered for myself, on how to deal with it. You don't have to follow the any of this if it doesn't work for you.

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Writer’s block. It happens to the best of us. While some people do not believe it is a true affliction and merely the result of a lazy, whiny writer, I disagree with this point of view.


In my admittedly limited experience, there have been times when I have experienced writer’s block. My mind went blank and the words left my pen about as easily as if they were pieces of concrete being squeezed from the tip. It was slow, arduous and endlessly frustrating. However, the problem is temporary, especially if you actively seek solutions.


Over at the Teens Writing For Teens blog (http://teenswritingforteens.com) one post discusses how this may be a result of not knowing some of the characters in your story well enough. In a nutshell, though I do suggest you read the TWFT post if you can find it, when a writer tries to make a character do something out of character there may be a rebellion. Look at any character information you have, or write some up, and consider whether any personality traits conflict with what you what the rebel(s) to do. For example, an A student who loves to learn won’t skip school just because he or she can so the author can have this person meet someone by coincidence who will start the story flowing. There must a reason for such an act.


There are other causes for writer’s block such as not doing enough pre-planning or writing too much so you lose all enjoyment. For the first problem, go back to the drawing board and figure things out. In extreme cases, you might have to scrap parts of the story…but don’t burn or delete them! Anything you cut out would be best kept in a special place like a separate folder on the computer or in a plastic pocket in a real-life folder.


If you have the second problem of losing enjoyment, take a break from writing. Do something else for a while so you can return to your keyboard or pick up your pen with renewed vigour. Just don’t procrastinate for too long or you mightn’t come back.


For other writers, the problem is perfectionism. Writers who are perfectionists think that golden prose should be flowing from their pen or fingertips and if it isn’t, there’s something wrong. In a first draft, this will not be the case. I know that I am a fusspot and change things as I go, especially my spelling. I’m a stickler for spelling, and my hands are often faster than my brain so I trip over words while writing (and speaking).


Perfectionists must learn to write and not edit extensively while in the middle of it. Turn off your quality control and declare “I give myself permission to write a dodgy draft” if it helps. The first draft is not the finished product and cannot be treated as such. Save the fuss for when you review your writing and for revision after the book is finished.


I remember that once I was having trouble writing a scene where my characters had to steal from a supermarket to survive. I didn’t want to write it because my brain went into stupid mode and wasn’t helping me. I reminded myself that I knew what the outcome would be and wrote it down, never minding the quality of the work. I haven’t looked back at the section yet as I am still writing, but I know it will require extensive editing when I do. It’s okay to write some stuff that’ll make you cringe later. I have.


I hope you found this helpful and informative. Remember: nobody is perfect and don’t expect yourself to get it right the first time. Published authors make it look easy, but we know better.


© 2011 Ann Elise Monte



Author's Note

Ann Elise Monte
I originally posted this here: http://coldfirewriter.wordpress.com/2009/12/06/writers-block/

I don't know why my author's comments said I'd deleted the blog, since I clearly haven't...

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I liked this... Your advice is good.. I especially like the last line "Remember: nobody is perfect and don’t expect yourself to get it right the first time. Published authors make it look easy, but we know better." that motivates any writer alot

Posted 7 Years Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

I wish I could have read this earlier.

My attempt to fight writer's block was to write a poem on it, funnily. Could say it worked: http://zainabuf.blogspot.in/2012/06/poem-songs-of-my-blood.html

Thanks for the lovely advice. :)

Posted 5 Years Ago


thank you for this

Posted 5 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

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ATG
This was very well written and very informative. You explain things perfectly. I am was reading this and making note of stuff I already do when I have writer's block so I know a good chunk of the information here does help. If I hear someone having trouble with writer's block, I will tell them to read this.

Posted 6 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

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r
This helps. A lot. I guess it does anyway. Thank you for posting it. (:

Posted 6 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Thank you for this informative advice.

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

This was really informative, for someone like me who's a young writer i get so easily frustrated when i cant think of ideas or hit road blocks and its somewhat incoraging to see taht even those who have been writing for a while come into the same problems. Thank you very muhc x

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

I liked this... Your advice is good.. I especially like the last line "Remember: nobody is perfect and don’t expect yourself to get it right the first time. Published authors make it look easy, but we know better." that motivates any writer alot

Posted 7 Years Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.

This is really good and very helpful advice. Well done, I must say.

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

I like this, found it helpful

Posted 8 Years Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.

Thanks, this helped a lot. When I get angry or very emotional I don't feel like writing at all and this helped me to just get over it, and that it's normal really.

Posted 8 Years Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.


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WHAT AM I?: Nephilim
WHAT AM I?: Nephilim
A teen boy gets killed, but trades his soul for another chance. He changes. A girl notices the new boy with silver eyes.

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Shelved in 3 Libraries
Added on July 24, 2009
Last Updated on October 18, 2011
Tags: advice, writing, article, help, writing help

Author

Ann Elise Monte
Ann Elise Monte

Fantasyland, beside a mass grave of dead story ideas, Australia



About
I write Young Adult fiction and my longer works tend to contain strong fantasy and romantic elements. My shorter works have more variety because I find it easier to maintain non-magical stories for sh.. more..

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