How I deal with Writer
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A couple of weeks ago, one of our writers popped in a blog entry concerning "writer's block." The writer seemed concerned that his creativity had disappeared and was unsure as to how to get it back. I have a few suggestions that may help him out.
Firstly, don't feel unique. There was this composer of music by the name of Beethoven who once took a five-year break from composing. When he returned, he came back with a vengeance. His last three symphonies, sketches for a tenth symphony, his later string quartets, piano sonatas, and some very fine string trios comprised his output before his death. They are all considered excellent and ahead of their time.
Secondly, there was a very fine writer named Asimov. He wrote science fiction. He took a three-year break upon the birth of his son. When he returned to writing, his first publication was "The Foundation." Enough said.
Thirdly, there was this writer of horror by the name of King. He took a one-year break when he found out that he was losing his eyesight. When he returned, "The Tommyknockers" was published.
So, my friend, you are not alone. Every painter, sculptor, writer, composer, and artist has gone into a funk at some point in his or her activity.
Now, how does one deal with it? I wish I could give you a hard and fast answer. I don't have one. What I can give you is a basic idea as to how I deal with it. And I have been writing for twenty-five years. I know this works for me.
When I begin a story line, I work from an outline. My goal is to tell the story in fifteen hundred to three thousand words. That goal is almost never achieved, as pretty much anything I have posted shows. I begin by expanding the outline. As I expand the outline, I make changes. This part gets moved here, that part there, etc. Usually the expansion grows to where I am actually writing prose very quickly.
Now, every so often I get blocked. Things just aren't working. This character seems out of place. That setting is wrong. The plot isn't making sense anymore. Don't panic! And don't worry. It will resolve itself. What you need are a few things to clear your thought processes and get your creativity unblocked.
I usually am working on two stories at the same time. I just move to the other story. Sometimes that works. Sometimes it doesn't. No matter.
When I write, I visualize a character. I usually go to the web and download a picture to help with the visualization. For instance, in my vampire story, the visual of Jack is taken from the PC game "Vampire-Bloodlines-Masquerade." It may be that my visual is wrong. Sometimes downloading a different picture helps clear the block. Sometimes it is the name of the character. A simple name change can make a world of difference. No one can possibly picture Ebenezer Scrooge saying, "God Bless Us, Everyone."
Sometimes I re-order my chapters. Once again, introducing Jack in my vampire story made a world of difference. The story originally began with the introduction of the detective, Gregory Bates.
If none of that works, I read. Yes, I read an awful lot. But I sit down, put some music on the hi-fi, and read. What do I read? A stereo equipment magazine. A classic. Something new. Anything that pops into my hands is fodder for my eyes. I may even watch television or rent a movie. That is how my review for "The Polar Express" took shape. Usually, after a few days, the solution to the problem pops into my brain.
Then it is back to the keyboard for the hard work of utilizing the solution. After some pushing and shoving, I am over the block.
So, my fellow writer, don't panic, and don't worry. The very fact that you are posting on The Den means you have some creative talent, and the courage to express it. We all burn out at times from different things and for a variety of reasons. Be patient. It will come back to you.