Posts tagged ‘writer’s block’

Burnt out Writer: Hating your Love

This might seem ridiculous, but I haven’t had the urge to write for a while. I’ve thought about it, to be sure; I’ve never stopped brainstorming. But I haven’t been able to bring myself to write ever since I poured myself into my last major project: my senior portfolio in college. It’s been a few months since then, but I still haven’t been able to creatively put words on a page–and enjoy it.

Maybe I’m the only one experiencing this, but it seems that if I push myself so hard on a writing project, when it’s all said and done, even if I’m happy with it, I’ll just be burnt out. Out of fuel. And I begin to hate what I love. I’ve been working towards forcing myself to write, but when I don’t have the desire, the result ends up being less than satisfactory.

I’ve heard that this should wear off this fall, when I would have been starting classes if I were still in school. I’m just not sure I want to wait that long. Have you ever been burnt out to the point of hating to do what you used to love? Was there any way to fix it, besides waiting for it to go away? And when I don’t care, you won’t get much of anything good on here, either. And that’s rather annoying for you all, I suppose.

Any suggestions? I am really tired of hating what I love.

Pretty much sums it up right now.

Musings on Writer’s Block

Sorry for the long silence in the past week or so. Finals. What else can I say? But thankfully, summer is now here, and I finally have time to

Kind of what writer's block feels like, huh? La Brea Tar Pit, courtesy of http://www.justabovesunset.com.

process some of my thoughts more fully.

Only to find… I don’t have many thoughts at all. Maybe my mind is burnt out. I have thinker’s block. Like writer’s block, only for my brain. Which (contradictory enough) brings up a thought: What are some of the most effective ways to escape writer’s block?

The way I see it, there pretty much isn’t one guaranteed way for every writer to pull themselves out of the tar pit. Just like there isn’t “one way” to write that works for every author. Sorry to anyone out there who has written a “The One Way to Writing” type book. But since there are many ways in which to get stuck on your work, there are probably many ways of getting out. Here are a couple that I’ve found to be helpful.

1.) Go back to previous work and start editing. Not much will give you a better perspective on what you want to write than by going back and fixing what comes before it.

2.) Pick a character upon which the following scenes will focus and pull into focus their motivations and goals. Usually, a character will try to bring his/her plans to fruition. Unless (s)he’s a dead fish. Then you might want to fix your character before you try to continue your plot.

3.) Ask for help. This has been of immeasurable value to me to have friends and fellow writers who can fire ideas back to me after reading my work. Sometimes it takes an outsider to really suggest changes or ideas that would make your story come alive again.

4.) Don’t be afraid to cut. Let’s face it; a plot can change as you’re writing it. And if/when that happens, you need to be ready to cut out something that was truly great, but doesn’t fit anymore. Save it for later, perhaps. But if it doesn’t fit with the new direction your story is headed, it needs to be laid to rest. At least for a while. Hopefully it won’t become a zombie if you resurrect it, though.

5.) Work on a different project. Take a step back, reevaluate, leave it be to simmer while you stir another concoction. Take a breath. You’d be surprised what kinds of ideas can bubble to the surface in your absence.

What are some ways that you have pulled yourself out of writer’s block? Any suggestions?

5 Indications that Your Plot is Sinking

We’ve all probably read bad writing at one point or another. Most often, it is the result of stagnant plot. Here are some things I noticed seem to kill a plotline*:

  1. Creating purposeless drama. Far too often, an author will have a character experience twenty million disasters just so their character has to struggle. Through EVERYTHING. In short: No one is that unlucky. If you want to bring your character to a climax/breaking point emotionally, one catastrophe should be enough. If it’s not, you’ve either created a nihilist or a vegetable.
  2. Refusing to pitch your babies. These are scenes you can’t chuck because you’re emotionally attached. But scenes like that act as a parasite. They will choke you and your story. So if they hinder your character or take away from theme, then they probably need to go die in a pit. Sorry.
  3. Trying to make something unrelated fit in. You know that spark-of-genius scene that you just know has to go in your story? It doesn’t. It might be the goose that laid the golden egg, but if you’re writing about ducks, keep the geese out of it. Save it for when you write about geese.
  4. You are absolutely stuck. Something’s gotta give. If it’s not your characters, it’s probably your plot. A bad plot will suck even your characters dry, leaving you with dust-bunnies in a desert of boredom.
  5. It wouldn’t happen in reality. Even in the case of fantasy fiction, if it wouldn’t happen to you, it probably doesn’t have a place in your writing either. Always write from the perspective of a real person, remembering to not stretch it too far to accommodate melodrama or cheesy resolutions.

 *As I disclaimer, I want to emphasize that this is by any means an exhaustive list, and it doesn’t mean that you can’t break these rules for the purposes of parodying, creating unreliable narrators, etc. And I’m speaking from experience, so I’m not immune to these either.

 Please add your own as well! I’d love to hear them!