Friday, March 20, 2009

What's Square and Occupies Your Mind?

by G.Parker

For my blog last week I mentioned the movie Inkheart. I talked about how the author wanted to disappear into his own book. Something else snagged my attention during the movie. There was a part where he was trying to write something into the book, and was having a difficult time. We've all experienced that at one time or another.

It's called writer's block.

I sat there and thought to myself, "Oh come on, just write something! It's your story, you know everything about it, just change something!" I was really frustrated with him.

The young girl in the story asks him if he has writers block, and then suggests that she could help him. He remembers that she mentioned wanting to be a writer, and all he can think to tell her is that it's a lonely life. I thought that was a sad commentary on writing.

So -- Writer's block. What causes it? Pressure? Frustration? Stress? I think it's anything and everything. We are (for the most part) social people. We live with others, we work with others, and generally, write about people. Life tends to get in the way, jumble our thoughts and make things stall.

The biggest thing I've found to help me are mad writes and editing. Mad writes (sometimes known as mad libs, or flash fiction)get the juices flowing; and editing gets them working on the particular story you've become blocked with. I have been fortunate in not experiencing writer's block very often. But then there is the whole avoidance issue...

There are also classes at local schools and colleges, online classes, and critique groups. We've talked about our various critique groups several times, so there shouldn't be any doubt as to how beneficial they are. Have you found one yet? There are also lots of contests to enter for free. Sometimes writing something for a contest can get the brain going as well.

If you have other suggestions for writer's block, let us know. I'd like to see how you overcome the brain freeze.


Heidi Ashworth said...

I have to admit I thought the answer to your titular question was pictured---he looks like the nice, clean, up-right, not to mention good-looking, square kind of guy that would occupy MY mind!

Heather Justesen said...

I find when I have writer's bock it is usually caused by either 1) me trying to make my characters do something against their nature without enough motivation, or 2) not having enough conflict to carry the story. When i figure out what's wrong, things generally start to flow again.