Author Topic: Poll: What gets you past writer's block without fail?  (Read 1406 times)  

Offline dgrant

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Re: Poll: What gets you past writer's block without fail?
« Reply #25 on: October 12, 2017, 06:37:10 PM »
Road trips. My husband loads me in the car, and then he gets to spend hours with no internet access, no distractions, nothing but the other sparse traffic and the plot wheels grinding in his head.

And then he has to put up with me dragging him around the zoo and trying to get him to eat cotton candy, or around the faire and trying to get him to eat an elephant ear or Something On A Stick. When he gets home, he'll disappear into the office (or for a longer trip, I'll rack out on the hotel bed and wake up to the sound of typing, pull his pillow over my head and go back to sleep.)

I'm okay with this, because zoo! Faire! Museums! (They don't have food, but there's always a caf nearby.)


Offline sela

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Re: Poll: What gets you past writer's block without fail?
« Reply #26 on: October 12, 2017, 06:39:25 PM »
Deadlines.

Editor deadlines.

Preorder deadlines.

I find that deadlines get my butt into chair to finish the dad blamed thing.

Without deadlines, I can dilly-dally away weeks. A little more research, a little more self-editing... Maybe a new character? A plot twist?

Nope. A deadline kills my writer's block like nothing else.

Offline KateDanley

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Re: Poll: What gets you past writer's block without fail?
« Reply #27 on: October 14, 2017, 11:51:12 AM »
So, a buddy and I met up at a coffee shop to get some work done (amazing how much a person can do when the distractions of laundry and dishes are not calling from the other room.)  We were discussing focus and she recommended binaural beats.  I was like, "What the heck is that??"  So, listen, I don't know if it is a bunch of hooey or placebo effect or what, but it is TOTALLY working for me.



I stream it through my Echo as I'm writing and suddenly, words are flowing.  It's like getting all the ideas you usually only get in your car when you're away from your computer, except you're at your computer and you can capture them all.  In the past seven days, I've mowed through two full-length novels with story plots that had me baffled for, literally, months.  It's pretty crazy awesome.

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Offline Anarchist

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Re: Poll: What gets you past writer's block without fail?
« Reply #28 on: October 14, 2017, 11:54:08 AM »
Deadlines.

Editor deadlines.

Preorder deadlines.

I find that deadlines get my butt into chair to finish the dad blamed thing.

Without deadlines, I can dilly-dally away weeks. A little more research, a little more self-editing... Maybe a new character? A plot twist?

Nope. A deadline kills my writer's block like nothing else.

This. Hard deadlines. And consequences for missing them.

Works (for me) every time.

Which implies that writer's block isn't a lack of ability. It's a lack of discipline.


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Offline DonovanJeremiah

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Re: Poll: What gets you past writer's block without fail?
« Reply #29 on: October 14, 2017, 01:30:13 PM »
I'm another "do the dishes" person.

Also, I use a technique I learned from somewhere I can't remember now. If I find that I'm stuck, can't get around where I'm spinning my wheels, I type "the mountain collapses and everyone dies", save and close it. Then go do the dishes.

My mind rebels at leaving it there and does its machinations to get me out of the tight spot.

new person!  be gentle :D

Offline brkingsolver

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Re: Poll: What gets you past writer's block without fail?
« Reply #30 on: October 14, 2017, 01:48:41 PM »
Usually just writing the wrong words makes the right words pop up eventually. I've stripped 50,000 words of useless drek from novels before, but writing the useless stuff helped me find what was essential.

I never write a novel until I know the end. That is a biggie. If you know how it will end, it's just a matter of getting there. Not knowing where you are going is a killer.

This.

Just write. I've left so many scenes, chapters, whole plot lines, on the cutting-room floor. The problem is not-writing. Torture your characters. Turn your sweetest character into the biggest *itch and have her torture small children. Have the love interest do terrible things. Make your villain wear pink.

What doesn't fit gets cut. But knowing what doesn't fit, what doesn't work, helps to figure out what needs to fill that space. Started this morning with a scene I wrote yesterday that not only didn't go anywhere, it was boring to boot. Cut three-fourths of it out and then wrote a chapter that moved the story.

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Offline CarolynVMurray

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Re: Poll: What gets you past writer's block without fail?
« Reply #31 on: October 14, 2017, 01:54:42 PM »
I'm realizing that some of my writer's block was coming from getting too enmeshed in world events and social media.  My brain was so wrapped up in what was going on, I wasn't able to focus on my story.  I recently installed StayFocused.  I set it to turn off my internet at 9AM every morning for a couple hours and to only allow me an hour on all of my favorite time suck websites (Facebook, Twitter, NY Times).  It's been working wonders.
Kate - you took the words out of my mouth. World events are ... mesmerizing!  :o  Social media is frighteningly addictive. Throw in youtube and pinterest travel fantasies, and there's precious little time left for writing. I'll have to take a look at StayFocused.

Oh,  I just saw your post on binaural beats. I'm really looking forward to giving it a try.
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Offline Brevoort

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Re: Poll: What gets you past writer's block without fail?
« Reply #32 on: October 14, 2017, 02:27:20 PM »



A long time ago I was chatting with Lawrence Block (if you don't know him, he is a writer's writer) and he highly recommended Jerry Mundis' "Beat Writer's Block Now"

At the time, early 90's, I was doing script doctor work for a Saturday morning type kid's animation show that had a pretty fair stable of writers. In asking around I discovered that they almost all had used the book, in some cases to overcome very severe Writer's Block attacks.

It is a remarkably clear and effective book. I just checked and it is available as an ebook.

Of course, the very best way of avoiding the problem in the first place is to hire out as a journalist in a serious goat-feeding newsroom staffed by specially bred fire breathing editors
Rick Grant
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Offline Bellamy Black

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Re: Poll: What gets you past writer's block without fail?
« Reply #33 on: October 14, 2017, 02:29:48 PM »
I step away from the computer and grab a notebook and pen. Then I jot down a couple of questions regarding the scene, kind of talking to myself on the page. "Why would Character X go here? Why now? Why hasn't she asked Character Y for help?" Things of that nature. Writing this stuff out longhand forces me to slow down and really process my answers, discarding ones that don't fit and finally landing on the stuff that excites me.

Online Guy Riessen

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Re: Poll: What gets you past writer's block without fail?
« Reply #34 on: October 14, 2017, 02:32:15 PM »
Shower, then go to the library, hook up to brain.fm. Almost always works...even in the craziest times. The only problem I've had was last year due to depression from my mom dying, it was hard to motivate enough to do those three steps.

Luckily, although there's no way to write anything down that I come up with in the shower, that's (so far) been fine. My brain continues to chew on the ideas while I get the rest of my situation prepped.

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Offline Dpock

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Re: Poll: What gets you past writer's block without fail?
« Reply #35 on: October 14, 2017, 02:38:15 PM »
A bender followed by a good cry usually works.


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Re: Poll: What gets you past writer's block without fail?
« Reply #36 on: October 14, 2017, 02:39:06 PM »
I have to add music here, I have been procrastinating all day and finally turned on some mood music and now feel a million times better about getting back to work.
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Offline Mark E. Cooper

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Re: Poll: What gets you past writer's block without fail?
« Reply #37 on: October 14, 2017, 02:59:29 PM »
For me it's doing something other than writing. Usually reading something outside my genre. If that fails, I drag out my old WIPs and try a bit of free writing in one of those for a while.

Online Rosie A.

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Re: Poll: What gets you past writer's block without fail?
« Reply #38 on: October 14, 2017, 03:08:43 PM »
For me it's doing something other than writing. Usually reading something outside my genre. If that fails, I drag out my old WIPs and try a bit of free writing in one of those for a while.
All of this for me but especially the part in bold. The idea is to just keep writing--something, anything. If I'm really really stuck, then it just means I may not have let that particular idea marinate long enough to be cooked (written) fully.

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Offline Going Incognito

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Re: Poll: What gets you past writer's block without fail?
« Reply #39 on: October 14, 2017, 04:49:00 PM »


A long time ago I was chatting with Lawrence Block (if you don't know him, he is a writer's writer) and he highly recommended Jerry Mundis' "Beat Writer's Block Now"

At the time, early 90's, I was doing script doctor work for a Saturday morning type kid's animation show that had a pretty fair stable of writers. In asking around I discovered that they almost all had used the book, in some cases to overcome very severe Writer's Block attacks.

It is a remarkably clear and effective book. I just checked and it is available as an ebook.

Of course, the very best way of avoiding the problem in the first place is to hire out as a journalist in a serious goat-feeding newsroom staffed by specially bred fire breathing editors


From the book's look inside:
"Pick a room in which to read this book that is psychologically pleasing to you, in which you feel comfortable and able to relax. If you live in a small studio apartment or a dormitory room, then pick the chair or area that most lends itself to these feelings. If possible, make it a space you also associate with potency or effectiveness in yourself."

I can't decide. Should I stay in the bathroom avoiding everyone until they realize mom escaped for a few minutes of peace? Or crawl out the window and lock myself in the car with the darkest windows?

Offline Going Incognito

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Re: Poll: What gets you past writer's block without fail?
« Reply #40 on: October 14, 2017, 04:50:52 PM »

From the book's look inside:
"Pick a room in which to read this book that is psychologically pleasing to you, in which you feel comfortable and able to relax. If you live in a small studio apartment or a dormitory room, then pick the chair or area that most lends itself to these feelings. If possible, make it a space you also associate with potency or effectiveness in yourself."

I can't decide. Should I stay in the bathroom avoiding everyone until they realize mom escaped for a few minutes of peace? Or crawl out the window and lock myself in the car with the darkest windows?

Sigh, never mind. I've been found.

Offline Laran Mithras

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Re: Poll: What gets you past writer's block without fail?
« Reply #41 on: October 14, 2017, 04:52:49 PM »
snort

Move your coffee cup to the other side where you normally place it. You'll magically write twice as many words.  ::)
 

Offline aejotz

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Re: Poll: What gets you past writer's block without fail?
« Reply #42 on: October 14, 2017, 06:30:03 PM »
I take a break and try to implement the secret to a good golf swing: stop caring if the next attempt is "good."
Nothing blocks me like trying to write as well as I can instead of just writing.

Online Rosie A.

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Re: Poll: What gets you past writer's block without fail?
« Reply #43 on: October 14, 2017, 06:54:29 PM »

From the book's look inside:
"Pick a room in which to read this book that is psychologically pleasing to you, in which you feel comfortable and able to relax. If you live in a small studio apartment or a dormitory room, then pick the chair or area that most lends itself to these feelings. If possible, make it a space you also associate with potency or effectiveness in yourself."

I can't decide. Should I stay in the bathroom avoiding everyone until they realize mom escaped for a few minutes of peace? Or crawl out the window and lock myself in the car with the darkest windows?
What's weird is that I've discovered sitting in the walk-in closet surrounded by walls of junk and shut out from the rest of the world has helped my word counts tremendously. Who knew?

Rose Andrews | Rose Historicals

Offline KateDanley

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Re: Poll: What gets you past writer's block without fail?
« Reply #44 on: October 14, 2017, 07:26:37 PM »
What's weird is that I've discovered sitting in the walk-in closet surrounded by walls of junk and shut out from the rest of the world has helped my word counts tremendously. Who knew?

Annie Dillard actually talks about this phenomenon!  Well done stumbling onto it on your own!


(Annie Dillard won the Pulitzer for her book Pilgrim at Tinker Creek)

So, her proposition was that as writers, we should be writing in cinder block rooms with no windows.  She said that if the space around us is boring and bleak, we will naturally find ourselves turning inward to create a colorful world of imagination.  The Writing Life is quite a book if anyone needs some inspiration.  Mine is covered in highlighter marks and I wish I could tattoo the whole thing into my brain.

Kate - you took the words out of my mouth. World events are ... mesmerizing!  :o  Social media is frighteningly addictive. Throw in youtube and pinterest travel fantasies, and there's precious little time left for writing. I'll have to take a look at StayFocused.

Oh,  I just saw your post on binaural beats. I'm really looking forward to giving it a try.

RIGHT???  It's like... every day there is some crazy, bonkers, life altering something that has exploded in the news and until I did this hard reboot on my life with the SiteBlocker, I was scared to look away.  I was starting my day with a simple "Well, I'll just check the NY Times while I finish my coffee" and eight hours later...  The SiteBlocker and the zen of the binaural beats have changed everything.

ALSO!  I stopped watching home decorating shows!  I know... this will sound bizarre...  but we have these things called mirror neurons in our brains that cause us to experience something we're watching as if it is happening to us (it's why people get so wrapped up in sports and why horror movies are scary.)  So, all of my creativity was getting used up in these home dec shows.  I'd feel like I had just designed a house and then I'd sit down to write, and suddenly find myself tapped out.  So... yeah.  There's another tip!

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Offline Going Incognito

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Re: Poll: What gets you past writer's block without fail?
« Reply #45 on: October 14, 2017, 08:00:57 PM »


A long time ago I was chatting with Lawrence Block (if you don't know him, he is a writer's writer) and he highly recommended Jerry Mundis' "Beat Writer's Block Now"

At the time, early 90's, I was doing script doctor work for a Saturday morning type kid's animation show that had a pretty fair stable of writers. In asking around I discovered that they almost all had used the book, in some cases to overcome very severe Writer's Block attacks.

It is a remarkably clear and effective book. I just checked and it is available as an ebook.

Of course, the very best way of avoiding the problem in the first place is to hire out as a journalist in a serious goat-feeding newsroom staffed by specially bred fire breathing editors


Ok, I'm coming back here to say thank you. Thank you for this book recommendation. I learned something big about myself working it and at first I was sad. But now I feel kind of... freed.

What's weird is that I've discovered sitting in the walk-in closet surrounded by walls of junk and shut out from the rest of the world has helped my word counts tremendously. Who knew?

I can see that, actually. Enclosed. Undistracted. Like she says below.


Annie Dillard actually talks about this phenomenon!  Well done stumbling onto it on your own!


(Annie Dillard won the Pulitzer for her book Pilgrim at Tinker Creek)

So, her proposition was that as writers, we should be writing in cinder block rooms with no windows.  She said that if the space around us is boring and bleak, we will naturally find ourselves turning inward to create a colorful world of imagination.  The Writing Life is quite a book if anyone needs some inspiration.  Mine is covered in highlighter marks and I wish I could tattoo the whole thing into my brain.

RIGHT???  It's like... every day there is some crazy, bonkers, life altering something that has exploded in the news and until I did this hard reboot on my life with the SiteBlocker, I was scared to look away.  I was starting my day with a simple "Well, I'll just check the NY Times while I finish my coffee" and eight hours later...  The SiteBlocker and the zen of the binaural beats have changed everything.

ALSO!  I stopped watching home decorating shows!  I know... this will sound bizarre...  but we have these things called mirror neurons in our brains that cause us to experience something we're watching as if it is happening to us (it's why people get so wrapped up in sports and why horror movies are scary.)  So, all of my creativity was getting used up in these home dec shows.  I'd feel like I had just designed a house and then I'd sit down to write, and suddenly find myself tapped out.  So... yeah.  There's another tip!


I may be thanking you soon for that book, too.


And yeah, life is stranger than fiction right now. It is fascinating. Hence the need to write in the closet. Your NYT is my forums. It's all so important, dontcha know? And relevant! What's going on minute to minute at Amazon effects my livelihood, after all.

Hard reboot, huh? No forums til after words? No 'just for a minute,' cause yeah. It's never just for a minute is it? Then it occupies space in your brain.


Thank you all for this thread.
« Last Edit: October 14, 2017, 08:03:05 PM by Going Incognito »

Online Herefortheride

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Re: Poll: What gets you past writer's block without fail?
« Reply #46 on: October 14, 2017, 08:07:29 PM »
Never had writer's block. I'm more curious how one gets it.
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Online Pandorra

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Re: Poll: What gets you past writer's block without fail?
« Reply #47 on: October 14, 2017, 08:42:05 PM »
Ironic, my house used to be my escape and I have always been strict about who I invite into my private space, but since my brother moved in, I have found I need a new escape more than ever.. I HATE having my world invaded like that, so I just duck my head and stay in my writing, finding its the only the way to get away from everything else I don't want to deal with.

I don't have to hide in a dark room to get away from visual distractions though...*laughing*

As for keeping the writing going, I started a second book I can play with that is so far outside of my original genre there is no way not to want one or the other .. lol
I have been switching between them so I don't get burned out on the series and always have something I can work on. I suppose if I need more motivation I will just split again and try for three!! (I am surprisingly enough keeping an even pace with the word count for both AND getting more words in a day (2-5k on each) which can only be great practice for if/when I go back to one right?)
« Last Edit: October 14, 2017, 08:50:10 PM by Pandorra »
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Offline Gentleman Zombie

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Re: Poll: What gets you past writer's block without fail?
« Reply #48 on: October 14, 2017, 09:31:06 PM »
Doing dishes.

Nothing makes the ideas flow better for me than hand scrubbing a sinkful of dishes. I invariably have to stop partway through and jot down a bunch of notes.

Works every time.


I do this too! Sometimes breaking for household chores really helps.

Offline EC Sheedy

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Re: Poll: What gets you past writer's block without fail?
« Reply #49 on: October 14, 2017, 10:21:37 PM »
Never had writer's block. I'm more curious how one gets it.

Oh, oh . . . careful! You're tempting fate.

I never had it until recently, and it's been driving me nuts--or rather it's like me driving down a fog-bound dark road with no GPS. Hate it! I'm blaming a recently acquired addiction to the news cycle, too. Weaning myself off now, and managed a thousand words today. I thought for sure there would be fireworks in Madagascar!

Yes, to BrainFM and any other trick you can pull out of a hat. Mostly, turn off the effing news and retreat to your own headspace.  8)
 

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