Thursday, 29 July 2010

Block Off

I just realised I haven't posted since Sunday, I actually though it was more recent than that. I've been distracted this week by a mixture of personal distractions and creative ones as well as the Mother of all Writer's block which has moved over from one particular troubled writing project to encompass all of them. Annoyingly this seems to include my blog also but I'm going to work through it by posting today on the subject of writer's block itself and hopefully by doing so it will free up my creative flow.
In 2004 writer and Neurologist Alice W Flaherty argued in her book The Midnight Disease: The Drive to Write, Writer's Block And The Creative Brain, that literary creativity is a function of specific areas of the brain, and that block may be the result of brain activity being disrupted in those areas. Sounds believable to me as someone who has suffered brain damage it would make sense that it would corrupt my creative process from time to time I just wish it wouldn't do it when I'm on a role with my latest story.

Reason For Writer's Block

1. Lack of Inspiration
2. Distracted by other tasks that need doing first
3. Poor planning
4. Depression
5. Physical Illness
6. Sense of failure both personally and professionally
7. Intimidated by a previous success
8. Stress
9. Boredom
10. Lack of energy

Cures For Writer's Block

1. Outline your story fully
it's amazing how many people don't outline I for one never outline unless I'm writing a script but it can be a valuable resource to come back to later in times of writer's block.

2. Remind yourself that the first draft doesn't need to be a work of art it is just a blueprint for the many that follow.

3. Switch off the phone put on some music to chill out to and relax your breathing take long deep breathes and close your eyes.

4. Stretch as many muscle groups as possible as a way to relieve your body of stress, sounds stupid but is recommended by a very reputable writer and psychologist.

5. Force yourself to write down your thoughts no matter how poorly worded, this is helpful to distinguish between a creative block and a block for another reason such as depression or self doubt.

6. Talk over your project with someone whose opinion you respect not a family member or someone who can't give you creative feedback someone who will tell you straight. This is often said to be the worse thing you can do but I have found this helpful in the past.

7. Break the writing into smaller steps
If it's a novel don't think of writing the whole 90,000+ words think of the first 500 it's a less scary proposition and we all know we got 500 words in us.

8. If it's boredom you are suffering from take time to do something else you enjoy and always remember to break your writing time down into manageable chunks of time to stop boredom creeping in.

9. Lack of energy is usually down to lack of sleep take a break relax and come back to your writing later when you feel refreshed as there is nothing worse than sitting staring at a blank screen and you can barely keep your eyes open.

10. Sometimes if you're working on an assignment and the subject is just not talking to you maybe what you need to do is look at it from a different angle and find something in the genre or subject matter that you can relate to and if the assignment allows go with that.

Anyhoo I'm back writing again so I guess this post has helped me and I hope something in here will help you guys.

Thanking You
The Housebound Writer


  1. Funny I wrote a bit on the Ho Hums of creativity .. i.e. writers block and over the years of painting I would say don't freak about it, the more nervous you make yourself the worse it seems to get .. at least that is my advice about it from experience. The hardest part is letting it go so you can begin again. Great Post Andrew as always.

  2. Thank you Beth it’s always great to hear from you and I think that your advice is pretty spot on.

  3. Emma Murty29 July, 2010

    Another great post babes you seem to have a knack of being able to lend your voice to any kind of writing be it fiction, personal, movie reviewing or now self help. I think you have a gift with words and hope to spend some more time around them, love you babes.

  4. I could use all the hints to cure writer's block. It happens to me more often than imagined. =)

    Kisses Andrew!

  5. You wouldn't know by how prolific you are as a poet Kenia but I'm glad I could help.

  6. Very good post on writer's block.... There are days when I sit in front of the keyboard staring at my screen like "Duh.... which way did he go, George?" and have no clue what to write. Which drives my "friend" crazy 'cause he's always waiting to read my posts as soon as I write them. LOL Oops. Hope you're no longer blocked. :-)

  7. hahaha very funny Antonia and yes no longer blocked thankfully, I've changed format with the story I was blocked on from a short novel to a screenplay and it seems to fit better.

  8. Thanks so much for sharing your breaking through writer's block tips. They are excellent and I appreciate they way you have presented them.

    I keep a "writing ideas checklist" & rely on it when I need to and these are some resources I use for new ideas:
    1. Our stats provide a record of search terms that readers used to locate our blogs and it's an excellent resource for new ideas.
    2. Reader feedback in comments made on posts, and responding to reader questions is also a means of inspiration for new posts. Canvassing comments my readers have left on earlier posts has also brings to light possible topics to blog on.
    3. News in my niche as well as news in social networks, and by subscribing to the RSS feeds of the blogs of several leading bloggers in any niche may provide inspiration for new posts. Reading the comments received on those posts frequently produces inspiring new material and new angles to explore on how to present older material.
    4. Checking my daily Google Alerts for key words, phrases and concepts is helpful, and performing searches for related blogs and like-minded bloggers has also helps me turn up some ideas for new posts.
    5. Recording potential “blog fodder” I experience in everyday life events in conversation, and by reading books, newsletters, ebooks, ezines is also a helpful way to find inspiration for creating new posts.

    I hope my tips will be useful to you and your readers too. Blog on Andrew!

  9. Those are great tips TITI, it's always great to hear from you. I have quite a few times reviewed movies on my blog after readers have asked me to, that kind of interaction is always welcome on here and I hope my readers check out your comment above as it is incredibly insightful as always.

  10. Emma Murty31 July, 2010

    These are great tips TimeThief I've past them onto my sister who is starting a blog about dancing. She now thinks I'm a legend so tah very much and Drew has given me the name of your blogs to pass on aswell.

  11. Great Post, very helpful. And Agapi reminded me of what Red Skelton said about beginning painting:"At the beginning, everything will come out dark, black even. Don't give up."
    Thanks for visiting my blog; glad you liked the post. You know, I'll send it another way. Sweet tides,Linda

  12. Hi- I found this post via Time Thief's blog, and really enjoyed it. Something that I do is jot down ideas in the notes section of my cell phone as they come to me. I never carry a notebook, but I always have my phone. :)

  13. Hi it's always great to meet new readers and using your phone to take notes is a great idea I often use the little note feature on my IPod.

  14. i can relate to writer's block number 1,2,9, and 10 .. However, i seem to be able to write more when im a bit depressed lol

    Thanks for visiting my blog .. and greetz to your piece of puzzle :)

  15. Hi, thanks for stopping by and it was a pleasure to visit your blog it's incredibly well written.

  16. Andrew, I can never figure out why people worry so much about writer's block. Why not just write when you're in the mood? Is writing that important? After all, there are so many other things one can do.

  17. Hey Marty, It's great to hear from you, I did this post as a way to cure my own writer's block. My writer's block is directly linked to my depression and the only way out of my funk at times is to write so for me life stops when I am not writing I can't speak for others.

  18. I like the 10 Reason For Writer's Block. :)

  19. I was experiencing the writer's block thing the other day. I even had an outline to reference what it was I was trying to write. I seriously could only write a couple sentences (and the majority of my entries are very lengthy) and was like, "fuck it! I am going upstairs to watch South Park!" I fell asleep within a few minutes, so evidently I was experiencing the block due to being tired, but didn't realize it.

    Btw, GREAT post!

  20. Hey Rico, yeah I get writer's block from being tired all the time I think it's probably the main cause it's always good to take a break and watch some toons, lol.

  21. Hey up Drew! I just came from TT's site and indeed, what a beautiful gesture of her to recommend your blog. I can truly see why she would do that. You're a beautiful writer.

    I never thought of writer's block, although I've heard of it countless of times. I write when I please. The problem for me would be time. Now in summer, I have plenty of opportunity to do just that but come winter, I drown in my work. Another thing, I have too many interests and blogging is just one of them. I love to spend time in different interests I have. Your tips are great and I know now that when I do get writer's block, I know where to go.

    I just read a few of your posts and I'm delighted to have come across your blog. I will definately be coming back for more.

  22. Hi Funkkeejooce, It's always great to welcome a new reader to my blog. It was an awesome compliment from TT to recommend my blog and I'm forever grateful to my friend for doing it. I hope you enjoyed the other posts and I hope you come back again as it's always great to hear feedback from talented bloggers such as yourself.

  23. This is sooo helpful for writer's block. I am going to bookmark it for future reference. :-)

  24. Hey Multi, thank you for visiting my blog and for the kind comment, it's always great to hear from a new reader.

  25. Thanks for this.

    thanks great stuff.

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