Friday, March 2, 2007

Pink Elephant: Writer's Block

You know there are some things that you just don't talk about in polite society. Like sex. Well, yeah, I'm not a member of polite society, so I talk about sex. And anyway, Stephen King says if you want to write, your days as a member of polite society are numbered anyway. I'm glad I got it out of the way early.

No, what I don't talk about much is Writer's Block. I don't believe in it. I believe I've said before that I don't believe in writers block unless you lose a hand or something. I don't believe it even when I have the classic symptoms. You know...whining, moaning, feeling like I can't write, lying back all dramatic on one of those fainting couches...

That's perfectionist's block, procrastinator's block, refusing to just type out the words so I can continue to be a prima donna block. But none of that sounds as glamorous or sexy as writer's block. Sure, the words I write, they might be shit. But if it's the crap draft, who cares? I can fix it later.

If it's revisions...well revising a novel is a big ass and not necessarily linear project. You make a big ole list about what you're going to do and you fix what you can when you can and don't spend hours obsessing over what you can't yet fix. It'll all come about in time.

Now some days I believe I am just exhausted. If you write several days in a row and feel tired, take a break. But call it a break. Calling it writer's block only serves to set it up in your head that such a thing exists, that writing isn't a choice, but something that flows magically from the gods. It's not a very empowering way to go about.

Of course this could be a quirk of me. I don't believe I get colds. I mean I believe they exist but I refuse to acknowledge if I get one. If I get the sniffles, I call it allergies and move on. Now the flu is something quite different, that I can't ignore or deny. But writer's block is sort of like a cold, even when I have the “symptoms” I call it something else and move on.

8 comments:

Liz Kreger said...

You? Not a member of polite society? Gasp!

I’m with you, Zoe. I really don’t believe in Writer’s Block. I’m a member of Procrastination Block. Although that doesn’t sound quite as elegant as Writer’s Block. LOL

Don’t think I’ve ever had Writer’s Block. There is always something I can be working on. If I’m not feeling creative or not feeling well, I go in and edit, or I’ll work on something else. My writing time is too limited and too precious to me to allow something as weird as a "Writer's Block" to infringe on it.

Zoe Winters said...

hehe Liz. I know... *shudder gasp* Right? hehehe.

Procrastination block isn't as sexy lol.

And I mean yeah...I think sometimes a story has to percolate some. Like sometimes it's stronger if you wait and let your subconscious roll it around a bit, but you can always work on something else. Or conversely, you can just write it anyway, even if you aren't "feeling it" because usually that's when the inspiration comes, WHILE writing. And then if it's wrong...well it's the crap draft and you can fix it later.

spyscribbler said...

Oh, Zoe! We're a lot alike! I don't believe in Writer's Block, either. I do believe it exists, but ... um, I also refuse to believe it exists. Once you say the words, "I have writer's block," you're pretty much screwed!

I don't believe in colds, either. Mostly because there is nothing I hate more than a stuffed nose. I don't do stuffed noses.

Zoe Winters said...

hehehe Spy exactly, once you admit you have writer's block, it's ALL downhill. You must resist.

You know, I think you and I are a couple of Scarlett O'Hara's "Oh I'll think about that tomorrow." ;)

Edie said...

I'm another one who doesn't believe in Writer's Block. One thing you haven't mentioned is depression. If I'm feeling depressed, I don't have as much physical and creative energy as when I'm happy--or even okay. I'm lucky that doesn't happen to me often.

My usual reason for getting stuck is because my plotline is going down a dead end road and I need to find the right one.

Zoe Winters said...

Hi Edie. Depression and also Anxiety can be very difficult to work through and I agree that they aren't the same thing as "writer's block" though they might as well be sometimes.

If you can't drag yourself out of bed, how do you expect to write?

Ditto on panic attacks.

Karin Tabke said...

i don't believe in writer's block either. for me when i can't write it's due to one of two things. I'm just being lazy or my story sucks and my subconscious knows this, and is forbidding me to write more dreck.

Zoe Winters said...

lmao Karin.

I agree to an extent. (but you know me...I always have to be all different pfft)

Like I think that "writer's block" COULD be an indication that my story sucks. But it only means it sucks RIGHT NOW. I can always go back and fix it.

I used to be the type of person that if I thought it sucked I stopped writing it. Now I go through the crap to get to the good stuff. Eventually I get there, then I revise til it all matches.