Recently on a writers’ forum I belong to, someone posted the question: Is there such a thing as ‘writer’s block and do you ever have it’? What writer has not stared at a blinking cursor, willing the words to appear on the screen and they just don’t come? What causes the logjam and how do you break through it? First, you have to understand why it’s happening.
One block to writing productively is not being 'in the moment'. IOW, distractions. I have this 'thing' where I have trouble writing if my husband is at home. The children are easy to chase away or threaten into silence. The spouse, not so much. His woodworking shop is right under our bedroom where my desk is. Try writing when the power saw is going on and off at random. Argh! At that point I might as well pack up and take the laptop to the library. Tough to get into 'the zone' when I'm constantly being yanked out of it.
Not being in the right emotional frame of mind to begin with is another biggie. When I can, if I'm in some intense emotional state, I skip to a scene where that applies and use the mood in my favor. If I'm feeling blue, I write the scene where all hope seems lost, a lover has been jilted, or someone has just died (with Gregorian chants playing on the CD). If I'm mad at someone or feeling vengeful, battle scenes are cathartic.
But the biggest 'block', for me at least, is often self-doubt. Another rejection letter can kick it in or a critique that knocks the wind from my sails just when I was in need of a boost. Suddenly, I ask myself why I even bother. I tell myself I'll never succeed, I can't finish this, my writing is crap. But then I realize that by not writing, by giving in, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. It's easier not to write - to fail - than to chisel away and forge ahead, to hope, to dream, to invest the time and take the risk. Give into it, and the pressure's gone. But so's the possibility of achieving that dream.
So, do any of you have writer's block and why?