Writer’s Block Personified

A couple days ago, I was hit with writer’s block.

It didn’t stem from lack of content or direction: I know how I want my scenes to play out and where the story is headed.

Yet writer’s block dropped itself on me all the same.

It usually takes me a few days to overcome writer’s block, days filled with note taking and cerebral pushups to get myself ready to write again.

This time I thought I’d try something different. I’ll write a short bit of fiction that personifies my writer’s block. Hopefully the process of writing something unrelated and more freeform than my novel will help me get back on track.

 

Laptop under my arm, I decide to work on my novel in the living room that night. I build a makeshift computer desk using a wooden dinner tray and top it with an old desk lamp.

I open up the work in progress, my fingertips hovering over the keys, when a stranger saunters into the room. His boots thump methodically against the tiled floor. He’s more shadow than flesh, a black hole given the silhouette of a man.

When he reaches the middle of the room, the stranger pauses and nods toward the desk lamp.

“You mind?” says a raspy voice.

I just lean back in my sofa and stare at him.

He grunts and retreats to a darker part of the room. He drops hard into a chair and crosses his legs.

“Garbage,” he says.

“Excuse me?”

He waves a hand at the laptop. “That . . . whatever you call it. It’s trash.”

“Of course. You’d know since you’ve obviously read it,” I say.

“Don’t have to. You’re green; how good can it be?”

“We all start somewhere.”

“ ‘Every great journey begins with a single step,’ eh?” His laugh is a short, sharp dagger that digs into me. The tip must have been poisonous; I feel doubt spread into my mind.

 

Hmm, I actually do feel a bit more motivated now. The fiction above doesn’t have a “happy” ending, but it doesn’t have to. It was the act of writing something out that helped.

So tell me: how do you fight writer’s block? Or artist’s block? Or musician’s block?

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25 comments on “Writer’s Block Personified

  1. Nicely done! Never thought of doing something like that, but I am actually pretty motivated just from reading it. lol. Think I might do some writing tonight. Thanks!

  2. Working with another medium, or changing the pace, or maybe starting a new piece, actually my blockings come more on in progress works that somehow I feel they are going nowhere or at least not where I want it to go…occasionnaly I’m telling myself I will work on a completely different subject, very rarely I will do it, most of the time I work on the same type of subject, but probably in a different approach or medium..of course doing something completely different for an hour or two may work also…

    • I like the idea of working with a different medium on the same subject.

      I can imagine how much that would help with drawing. Maybe I can apply it to writing as well, try different styles or forms of writing about the same subject. I’ve done that in the past, and it’s actually helped me get over my blocks.

      By the way, I love your latest paintings. 🙂

      • Thanks Mike, for the painting and the feedback, another medium I like to ‘shake’ things up is collage, taking old life model sessions sketches, pasting them on canvas and painting over with acrylics, usually those are quick paintings, compared to my other works, and usually it does the job…:)

  3. Lol on the writer’s block coming to life. Haven’t thought of it that way yet, nice one! How do I fight it…hmm…walk away, take a shower, eat some chocolate 🙂 Usually an idea hits me when I’m most relaxed. Oh, and don’t force it!

  4. It seems that by just letting our minds go to wonder off on it’s own, we find our way back to the main page. (Pun intended.)
    I really love how you materialize your Writer’s Block into a living being, almost like a darker form of ourselves that is constantly trying to halt our progress because it believes that the attempt to continue on is futile.
    I might have just inspired myself…

  5. My method for fighting writer’s block: Go to store, get a diet Pepsi and chocolate pretzel M&Ms from obliging store personnel, and consume. Repeat steps as often as needed. Or…take a break and come back to writing later.

  6. I’ve written poetry recently to overcome WB, and it has helped. I also did something similar to your exercise – I wrote a poem ABOUT WB, tackling it head on I guess, or trying to.

  7. Pingback: La femme à la valise…encore et changement…. | Bienvenue sur ma page de peintures/Welcome to my paintings page

  8. Pingback: Woman with a suitcase and a change of pace… | Mon Blog…in english…broken english

  9. I had a high school poetry teacher who started each class with a physical activity. She was on to something. I always get ideas after a workout and usually in the shower- both ending up in a lot of wet soggy paper.

    I like the detail about the boot thumps. Nice!

    • Hmm, physical activity is a great idea. I used to do Tai Chi and Yoga in the morning (back in my Kung Fu days). Maybe that’s what I’m missing.

      Oh, and don’t forget to keep your follower posted on the quest to slay interviewers in your J. Lo power armor. 🙂

  10. Sooo… I don’t believe in writer’s block. I think there is an internal resistance to writing that we could call writer’s block, but it can be overcome by sitting down and writing. (I imagine there will be people who read that comment and jump up and down and insist I’m wrong… but hey, this is my opinion.)

    It’s true to say sometimes you might not *feel* like writing. If we all sat down only when the spirit moved us, some of us would take a nap, go outside and play, or do other things – anything in fact – other than write.

    Don’t allow yourself to call this resistance “Writer’s Block” and give it a name. If you want to take a break from your writing for a few hours, or a day, then give yourself permission to do that. But don’t give yourself permission to say “I have writer’s block and I don’t know when it will end…”

    Many authors who develop regular writing habits don’t have this issue. It takes personal discipline, and it’s hard sometimes, but you have to push through it.

    And to that point Mike, you DO have regular writing habits, I know this because of the frequency with which you update your blog!

    Remember: YOU make the decision about when to write, not some invisible force called “writer’s block.”

    • Yet another reason why I’m grateful to have you as a blogging buddy, Carol.

      Thanks so much for your perspective. I’m familiar with the schism between those who think there’s actually writer’s block and those who don’t.

      Maybe it’s just a semantics issue. What one person calls reluctance or resistance, the other labels a condition like “Writer’s Block.”

      It’s funny that you mention blogging as a regular writing habit. It’s very true, and I’m sure it’s true of many others who talk about having Writer’s Block: they still update their other writing frequently.

      Discipline, discipline, discipline. I need to get more of that for my novel writing. Got any extra cans left? 🙂

      • Haha, I’m not perfect either Mike. I can sense when I don’t want to sit down and write.

        I have some mental tricks for overcoming that… and you know, I should probably put up a blog post about it… (I’m always on the alert for a potential new blog post topic…)

        Okay, I’ll let you get back to it my friend – keep on keeping on. It’s what we do!

  11. Well, I like writing fanfictions a lot which is where I recreate an already published series. I enjoy making fanfictions for Harry Potter. There’s so much you can do! Sometimes what helps me get out of writers block is to either listen to music, dance around, just have a bit of fun, OR sit down in my movie room with a bag of popcorn and watch a Harry Potter movie…. 😀

    What have you done? I know some people listen to music, just take a break, so on…

  12. I agree with Carol Deminski.

    A writer can not have a block.
    Even if you would stop writing for one year, it would be too much,
    to call it a block.

    What to do if you still think you have a writers block?

    I have no idea. And … I hope I will never have a WB.

  13. Pingback: Overcoming Writing Resistance…but not writer’s block – it doesn’t exist « Cdeminski's Blog

  14. By the way Mike, since I created my post “Overcoming Writing Resistance…but not writer’s block – it doesn’t exist” today based on your inspiration, I added a Postscript to the end of the post referencing this one, with a link back to you….

    🙂
    C

    • Aww, thanks Carol. That was very sweet of you. 🙂

      By the way, what are you currently up to? Your last couple of blogs (Neverending Story and your Blog Birthday) didn’t mention what you were working on.

  15. Within the last week or so I wrote a few new flash fiction pieces, and I went back and re-wrote the ending on a story that had been above flash length, but now after cutting it back it is a flash fiction piece.

    In the case of the third item, I’m pleased (no jinx!) with the way it came out and submitted it to a swanky high end journal (that does not allow sim-sub, btw) in the hopes that the editor will like it. If you want to say a prayer for my story, I won’t mind… let’s light a candle or two while we’re at it.

    And of course I continue to drive myself bonkers on submitting. I’ve currently got 52 submissions out on 17 unplaced pieces of work, but some of them are driving me insane by being soooo far over the time for a normal response, AND I already queried AND they told they’re still considering those pieces. ARGH! This is multiple pieces by the way, so it makes things fun for me, hahaha.

    Did I just share too much? Was that TMI? I could be rambling Mike… but that’s what is going on.

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