JB's Aphotic Scriptorium

...My writing sanctuary...

So, your sitting there, in front of your computer, looking blankly at the screen. You're mind forms the word you've dreaded since your story first started taking form. Your palms start to sweat, your pulse rises; ringing in your ears, and the palpable feeling of panic starts to build in the room.
Writer's Block.
It's definition: a usually temporary condition in which a writer finds it impossible to proceed with writing a novel, play, or other work.
And lets be realistic and add to it that we all go through it. Every writer has had it; every writer will.
Perhaps you are sitting there, reading this, in the middle of it. Well good. What I've got to say should, with any luck, steer you in the proper direction.

So as is seemingly the tradition, I'm going to open up with stuff about what I've gone through and done to get out of it.
So you all know that I had the idea for the book I'm doing now for years. And you also should remember that it took me a long time to get going on it, and finally start writing. (and if you didn't remember I just said it so you're good). One would think that that would lead us to the present day of me writing away, but no. Now, what I didn't tell you (because I was waiting for this topic), was the time in between those two points. And it was rough. Really really rough.
So I started at what I believe to be a November, but I can't exactly recall. So I started writing some things down: character bios, family trees, summaries of plot, sub-plots et cetera, but with quite a lot of self doubt and nervousness. Those feelings were well founded because I had never done anything even close to writing a novel.
So, you'd expect me to go full-speed ahead, right? Well, not exactly.
For maybe three months or so I would write here and there; nothing really solid, and never for too long.
Then I hit the biggest Writer's Block in my history.
It lasted for more then nine (yes, count them; nine) months, and almost reached the tenth month mark. From January to August I wrote not a word for my story; nothing.
Perhaps you're asking"Well why didn't you? What was the reason?", but change the question around a little and ask yourself "Why have I stopped? What is the real problem?".
Okay let's do some self-searching. Look at the list below, and analyze each one to see if could/is a factor in your Writer's Block. I'm going to be specific, but if you need to (and I encourage you) change it around as you see fit.
1) task seemed to big so you gave up (whether you realized this consciously or unconsciously)
2) felt like idea has been done before, so no point was seen
3) no ideas came to mind/every idea tried just didn't fit
4) tired of writing

Now I will attempt to take on these problems and finally win the battle over the dreaded Writer's Block!
1) Okay, let's not beat around the bush here: writing a novel is a big task. A very big one. Naturally this reality is going to catch up with you so time or another, but remember that an impossible task and a big task are two completely different things. So what if it's a challenge? That's part of the experience, and you'll be all the better for it if you embrace the troubles that come along with writing than giving up on it altogether. Why? Because if you give up, your story will never be written. You will never get that euphoric feeling of elation when you finally finish your final draft. Above all, you need to try, and follow through with it and not be paralyzed in the fear of what's ahead of you.
2) News Flash; everything has been done. Name any book and I can promise you that the topic has been broached before. Perhaps it has been done in a slightly different way, but all in all there are no new topics to do. Don't let that make you feel down though; on the contrary, you should feel a sense of freedom now. Now you don't need to worry and compare you writings to other stories that hold similar ideas/topics/themes. But DO NOT steal the exact same ideas/character et cetera from someone else's work. I'm not going to write about a girl named Alison that falls down a hole into another world and chases a black rabbit that is obsessed with time, and then call it my own idea. Do you see the difference then me writing about a boy named Adam falling into a well that is a portal to another dimension where time runs backwards? Finding another world and the theme of time and dreams have been done, but remember to make the story your own, not just copy someone else's.
3) I put these two together because they encompass the same basic idea; things just aren't working out. To be honest, it happens. Sometime characters or plots throw you a curve ball and you've just got to take it as they come. My advice on what to do next: go read a book, watch a movie, talk to people, watch television; anything to that could spark your interests. I know, the advice is simple and nothing innovative, but sometimes you need someone else to tell you (which is where I come in). Often you will be focusing too hard on our story and what you want to happen, that you won't see all of the other wonderfully creative ideas around you. So take some time away, and put it out of your mind. Give your mind some time to build up those creative juices again.
4) I like this one. Why? Because the answer is the easiest. STOP.
Yes, that's what I said: STOP.
You've hit the point where you just don't want to do it anymore because you don't like it. Why though? You've most likely over-written yourself. I need a break from writing sometimes because it can help me to refocus and let you find that passion again. Getting tired is a way of showing you need to rest and take a break, so follow that instinct, and leave for a while. Remember though, that's only half of it, coming back and starting to write again is the other part to it, so don't forget.

Conclusion: Writer's Block is beatable. It's takes some patience, yes, but eventually you will get through it (and chances are it won't take you almost ten months, so find some comfort in that!)

Happy Writing

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About this blog

This blog is devoted to the art of writing. It is here where I will post about my writing life and my novels, as well as give advice to other aspiring novelists. Remember to start with "On Writing: Aspiring Writers..." then work your way up.
Enjoy :D