Friday, April 29, 2011

When All Else Fails

Writer's block is hell. Every writer enters that hell at some point or another during their life. At times I come across a block in world building. Nothing I write down is a good idea. I always return back to the beginning and work my way down the options. Again, it isn't what I want so I research more. The cycle continues, I give up and work on a new idea. One time I decided to use the white board I wrote on during my early days as a writer and suddenly the block was no longer there.

The freedom of writing on the board helps to break through. The board is a bigger space for my ideas. In some ways, it expands my mind to fit the space available for me to write on. No matter how much I erase and start over again, the wall is broken down sooner rather than later. I draw out diagrams and when I'm satisfied I copy it down on paper. Creating names and places are easy on the board. I even brought easel pads to write on because they have lines to keep my notes neat.

I resist the urge to write on the walls in my room because getting rid of my rambling may not be so easy. Plus I may be kicked out of the house if I ever did that. My dream is to have my wall covered with a white board so I can write on it as I world build. It would be a beautiful sight, and I can leave information on the wall until I'm ready to write it down and erase it.

My question to you, is there a method you use to break through a block of any kind?


Ciara said...

I like to do something physical, listen to music, or drive. It gets my creativity working again. Great post. I'd never thought of working through writers block that way.

Margaret Fieland said...

I just tried disconnecting my right brain from my left, putting my fingers on my keyboard, staring off at the green grass and new leaves on the trees surrounding my yard, and just starting to write, to let the words flow from my fingers onto the screen (virtual page)
and see what comes out.

Eeleen Lee said...

Will try your method with the board. It really depends on the type of block I have but I've found that time away from your WIP helps you gain perspective. Even if you look back on something and think, 'OMG why did I write that?!' it's a start!

Tiyana, aka "Yoyo" said...

Neat idea with the whiteboards! I'm similar to Ciara in that sometimes driving can help. I’ll come up with sections of dialogue while commuting without the radio on, talking to myself as if I am my characters having conversations. Might make me sound crazy, haha, but it works! because by the time I get back home I'm just itching to write entire scenes. (Voice recorders can help here, too.)

One thing I've found that really helps me get out of a rut, though, is journaling. Usually I find I’m having trouble writing a scene because I don't understand the layout of the setting, or because I don't have a proper understanding of my characters and their motivations. Sometimes it’s the function of a certain organization that I haven’t examined closely enough.

So if I go off and journal for a while, asking myself questions related to my issues, I usually come up with some answers leading to even deeper questions. It's that constant question-and-answer cycle that gets my brain juices flowing, and suddenly I'm connecting things that didn't seem to be related before and generating compatible solutions to my story’s problems. :) (Not all of my journal info gets into the story, though, but it's still worth the effort.)

Melanie said...

I'm encountering writer's block for the first time, seriously. It's only a problem because I am doing something for the first time, writing a novel this way. I'm discovering that writing things out the way Yoyo does helps me. It may have helped me all the other times but I didnt think of it the same way.

I work for a family whose parents are working musicians. From time to time I think about how they pursue their art and craft. Currently, I'm thinking about practice, about how musicians practice, about how musicians in different genres of music need to practice differently.

I'll let you know what I come up with. I'm beginning to believe that thinking about writing as performing opens us up to lots more tools.

Ella Gray said...

All hail the glorious white board, LOL! I use mine a lot and my husband is so jealous because he doesn't have one. Yet.

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