Wednesday, December 5, 2012

What Is Writer's Block, Anyway?

I've seen a lot of articles on how to cure writer's block, and most of them don't help me at all. I even tried a few of the proposed solutions and, like I expected, they just didn't work. It was like trying to fix a leaky engine by doing a brake job.

Then I found "What to Do When You're Stuck" by Kiley Couillard and finally got a clue.

Kiley recommends, essentially, writing out your plot, otherwise known as outlining. Then you'll know where the story is going, so you won't be stuck wondering. It's great advice. I've been stuck like that sooo many times, but now it never happens anymore because I figured out that I should do, basically, what Kiley says. 
Nikita T. Mitchell

But I don't call that 'writer's block'. When I experience writer's block - and it happens often enough - it's a lot like how I killed my first car. The oil leaked out and the poor engine couldn't move smoothly anymore, but I kept driving it anyway until it locked up entirely. In other words, I need to learn to follow Nikita T. Mitchell's advice, and take breaks.

The problem Kiley addresses isn't what I tend to call 'writer's block', but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be called that. Maybe saying, 'I have writers' block' is a little bit like saying 'Something's wrong with my car': it's a general term that covers a lot of different problems, and the solution will depend on which one you have.

And it all starts with a diagnosis. I love Charlie Jane Anders' article The 10 Types of Writers’ Block (and How to Overcome Them). Kiley's type is number four, but mine doesn't seem to be listed. Maybe it's just too obvious: take a break already! 

1 comment:

  1. Writer's block from Anne Wayman's perspective: