A blog about writing, reading, and the road to publication. Oh, and family. And prosecution. And living on the border in the middle of a drug war. And other random stuff too. So basically, anything I want it to be about.
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Anyone who has written regularly for a period of time has likely experienced it.
That feeling of dread when you know you should be writing, and you are desperately looking for something else--anything else--to do instead. Laundry gets done, pots shine, and floors get mopped. Offices get organized, cars washed, vacuumed and waxed. Even toilets get cleaned, all while the manuscript you should be working on lies there, waiting unfazed. The guilt looms closer.
What causes writers block? Is it simple procrastination? Is it just a need to spend some time apart, only to come back and find writing effortless? Or is it something you can power through, if you just sit down and begin to type?
I think it depends.
On what? Well, I think it depends on why the writers block is well, blocking. I've identified a couple things that cause my writing to become blocked.
One, my story doesn't make sense, or my characters don't have motivation. This is a big one for me. If either of these things happens, everything grinds to a halt. I simply cannot power on through this type of block, until I identify the problem, and fix it. Once the story makes sense, or the characters have believable motivations, goals and conflicts, the writing comes easily again.
Two, I'm emotionally empty. I find that in order to write, I have to have at least a tiny bit of emotional energy left in me by the end of the day. Sometimes, that doesn't happen. This kind of block is short term, and is more exhaustion than block. Having a long bath and going to bed early goes very far towards making this kind of block go away. Sometimes we have to take care of ourselves. Sounds simple. But, with little kids, demanding day jobs and demanding characters, sometimes we don't take decent care of ourselves.
Those two reasons cover most writers block in my experience. Of course, there is simple procrastination. Sometimes writing is hard. Its work. Its hard work. Then, procrastination often plays a large part in my failing to sit down and write. This though, is the easy thing to deal with. It's essential then to sit down, and start typing. Power through. Commit to ten minutes. Likely, you'll look up an hour later, amazed at where you've gotten and want to continue on to.
What do you guys think? Have you ever had writer's block? Did you figure out what caused it? How do you overcome it?