Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Wall

Hadrian's, I believe.
From The History of the English Speaking Peoples.

I have never been sure that there is truly such a thing as Writers Block.

I suspect that wall is as often composed of exhaustion/expectation, panic/deadline as anything.

Most of the coping advice entails four methods.

(1) The wild barbarian: attacking the wall over and over - sitting down at the computer and writing: anything, nonsense, garbage, whatever. Just keep those painted warriors coming.

(2) Sapper, engineering stuff - cleaning the office, checking, sorting and tossing old files, shelving that pile of research books, finding and installing a new toy, critiquing someone else's stuff.

(3) Change of battle tactics - finding an unmanned or weakly defended gate. Read favourite authors, poetry, go to an art gallery. Mufti may be necessary.

(4) Pirates of the Cerebellum - sail around the sucker, by writing something in an entirely different genre. Or your memoirs. Or letters to the op/ed page.

Brainripples had an excellent post yesterday on coping with that stale, flat feeling of ennui. For when February has PMS.

Grin: Coffee. Chocolate. Men...Somethings are just better rich.


anna said...

Love the grin!
I think writer's block can be cured by simply plugging away. So many articles say the quality of writing is the same whether the writer is inspired or not. Myself I can only blame pure and simple laziness

As for yesterday's dark man - spent quite a few minutes trying to respond.
BLOGGER definitely improved my profanity vocabulary

Bernita said...

Thank you, Anna.
Think the solution is to just try various methods until one works.
So sorry blogger's been giving you grief.My server was down for a while. I was afraid I'd somehow screwed my PC.

December Quinn said...

Yep, excellent grin.

And I agree with Anna--just keep plugging, eventually you'll get your stride back.

Although #4 often works for me, too. And anything with pirates in it has to be good.

Sam said...

I get writer's block a lot, and my response is to just sit down and write - even if it's in my blog, a grocery list, or a new synopsis and outline to clear my head.
Often the block coincides with a snag in the plot, characters not listening to me (Hey, you were supposed to Die!) or a personal problem I have to deal with.
But I've written some great stuff while in the throes of writer's block - so it is probably best to adapt numbers 1 or 4.

Bernita said...

Don't think I've ever had ia true block, December. When I feel that empty feeling coming on, I go and do house work.

I think a personal problem would be the thing most likely to cause a problem, Sam. It's a genuine diversion of emotional resources and energy.

Ric said...

Having trouble getting past the "Just sit your ass in the chair and get it done." Though, I'll admit to #2 and #4 - way to often than I want to.

Jaye Wells said...

"Pirates of the Cerebellum"--Now, that's funny.

In my limited experience with this, it was the result of overthinking. Sometimes you've just got to get out of your own way.

writtenwyrdd said...

I love the battle metaphore. Now I can think of attacking the blank page and have the pleasant image of Mel Gibson painted in woad, sword raised and wild eyed. I love that scene!

The grin was a good one.

Bernita said...

Grim determination has a lot to be said for it, Ric.

Thank you, Jaye.
Sometimes you've just got to get out of your own way. is an acute observation about the condition.

Bernita said...

Yes, Written!
Ta-ta-ta-TA! Charge!
Get the keyboard smoking.
Wonder if playing bagpipe music might get one in the proper frame of mind.Or Sousa marches.

writtenwyrdd said...

I usually play kitaro or goth rock. Loud stuff with a serious beat has me twitching in the chair too much, lol.

btw, when writing, sometimes I love to listen to www.pandora.com a free streaming radio station. You give it a few suggestions and it comes up with some good music.

bunnygirl said...

My strategy is more "retreat and regroup." I'll go back to a previous work and do tweaks and edits until I get inspired. It keeps me in a creative mindset and keeps me immersed in my fictional world.

My Diana's Diary blog was a sort of response to writer's block, too, although I wasn't so much blocked as harrassed by a character who wouldn't let me move on. When a character won't shut up and let you write something new, "blog your way out" can be an effective technique.

Nancy J. Bond said...

In the past, I've always been a Pirate, I believe. Great post...and very nice blog which I've marked for regular reading. :) (Nancy in NS)

Bernita said...

Bunneygirl, I think blogging is most beneficial. Keeps those wheels turning.

Thank you, Nancy. Nice of you to drop by!

Bonnie Calhoun said...

Writers block...how do I cure writes block...LOL...I get off the friggin' computer and do some writing!!! LOL!

Bernita said...

Bonnie's plume du guerre.

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