Archives for November 2012
Phillip Pullman doesn’t pull any punches. Do plumbers not plumb? Do accountants not count? If we are professional writers, then we need to write. Period. I’m posting this and going back to my manuscript.
“Writer’s block…a lot of howling nonsense would be avoided if, in every sentence containing the word WRITER, that word was taken out and the word PLUMBER substituted; and the result examined for the sense it makes. Do plumbers get plumber’s block? What would you think of a plumber who used that as an excuse not to do any work that day
The fact is that writing is hard work, and sometimes you don’t want to do it, and you can’t think of what to write next, and you’re fed up with the whole damn business. Do you think plumbers don’t feel like that about their work from time to time? Of course there will be days when the stuff is not flowing freely. What you do then is MAKE IT UP. I like the reply of the composer Shostakovich to a student who complained that he couldn’t find a theme for his second movement. “Never mind the theme! Just write the movement!” he said.
Writer’s block is a condition that affects amateurs and people who aren’t serious about writing. So is the opposite, namely inspiration, which amateurs are also very fond of. Putting it another way: a professional writer is someone who writes just as well when they’re not inspired as when they are.” — Philip Pullman
(thanks to Flavorwire for posting this great list of writers unblocked.)
Well I found Orson Scott Card (whose Ender’s Game I absolutely love) talks about blockage being related to the story itself. When you work out the problem in the story, you’ll find yourself writing again.
“Writer’s block is my unconscious mind telling me that something I’ve just written is either unbelievable or unimportant to me, and I solve it by going back and reinventing some part of what I’ve already written so that when I write it again, it is believable and interesting to me. Then I can go on. Writer’s block is never solved by forcing oneself to “write through it,” because you haven’t solved the problem that caused your unconscious mind to rebel against the story, so it still won’t work – for you or for the reader.” — Orson Scott Card.
(Thanks to Flavorwire for compiling this great list of writers unblocked)
Neil Gaiman was pretty inspiring on the subject of writer’s block…
“Suggestions? Put it aside for a few days, or longer, do other things, try not to think about it. Then sit down and read it (printouts are best I find, but that’s just me) as if you’ve never seen it before. Start at the beginning. Scribble on the manuscript as you go if you see anything you want to change. And often, when you get to the end you’ll be both enthusiastic about it and know what the next few words are. And you do it all one word at a time.” – Neil Gaiman
(Thanks to Flavorwire for compiling this list of writers unblocked.)
I live in southern CT in a coastal town. Sandy hit us hard with 85% of the town without power. Fortuitously we didn’t lose power for more than a few hours at a time. But with the kids home from school and our compulsive listening to the news, I got nothing done. And I have deadlines that must be met! Now that the kids are (finally!) back to school, I’m still not working. Luckily I came across an inspiring set of author’s describing their remedies for the dreaded writing block. Let’s start with Maya Angelou:
“What I try to do is write. I may write for two weeks ‘the cat sat on the mat, that is that, not a rat.’ And it might be just the most boring and awful stuff. But I try. When I’m writing, I write. And then it’s as if the muse is convinced that I’m serious and says, ‘Okay. Okay. I’ll come.’” — Maya Angelou