Tuesday, February 25, 2020

What is Writer's Block and How to Defeat It

Writer's Block
Image by Lukas Bieri from Pixabay

What is Writer's Block and How to Defeat It by J.Q. Rose

Writer's block. Everyone talks about it, but what is it???
Writer's block appears when a writer sits down to write, but can't think of anything to put down on the paper. I have never suffered from a severe case of writer's block. That sounds like it must be a disease. But it isn't. 

Writer's block is not a physical problem like a broken arm. Although, you may get a headache or upset stomach when facing the blank page/screen.

Writing coach Jeff Goins says it is an "excuse." An excuse not to write, not to work on your project. Do you suppose any other worker in the world can blame his/her inability to work on an invisible force? No. You go to work. (But please don't go if you have a virus or fever!)

Writer's block is what people say is keeping them from writing, but Goins maintains there is no such condition. Instead, Goins offers the real cause of writer's block:
  • Fear
  • Exhaustion
  • High standards (which is basically fear of failure)
  • Imposter Syndrome (fear of rejection)
  • Perfectionism (fear of not being good enough)
  • Busyness (fear of not having enough time)
  • Laziness (or is it really fear?)
  • Lack of structure (fear of not knowing how to start)
Think about it. Do any of the reasons apply to you? Fear of rejection and perfectionism certainly niggles in my brain when I am working on my WIP (Work-In-Progress). 

I would also add Comparing my work to another author's work. Comparison can really knock you down. Face it. Someone can write better than me. Someone can also write a lot worse than me. But no one can write the same as me. I am the author and that is what makes my writing special. 

Click here to read more of Jeff Goins's excellent article on writer's block. 

So what can you do to get rid of writer's block? Face it head-on and knock it out of your head by focusing on the cause of the block. Could it be from one of the causes listed above? Do you have another reason for writer's block invading your space? Please leave a comment below to help others knock out writer's block.
Deadly Undertaking
by J.Q.Rose

romantic suspense

I must admit I had a difficult time writing my romantic suspense novel, Deadly Undertaking. The main character is the daughter of an undertaker. I am the daughter of an undertaker. The setting is a funeral home based on my Dad's Victorian-style funeral home. 

I discovered I couldn't write the story. So many memories of those growing-up years flooded over me as I wrote. I had to put the story away until I could separate the real me from the main character. Then I could write the fictional part of the story and allow her to face and overcome the conflict in the novel. And did I ever give her lots of problems--boyfriends, family, and a shadow man. Whew!

Click here to download the ebook copy of Deadly Undertaking on sale now at amazon for $2.99
Click here to order the paperback copy of Deadly Undertaking.
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Melissa said...

For me, it's usually exhaustion or perfectionism. But sometimes it's that I'm struggling with the direction of the plot or with a scene that is not dramatic enough to inspire me. When I struggle, I question whether the scene or part of it is necessary and contains all the necessary scene elements. Being blocked can sometimes indicate that a scene is boring or unnecessary.

I do many things to get unblocked. Sometimes I get up and do chores. Ideas will often pop into my head while I'm loading the dishwasher or folding clothes.

If it's more of a block with wording rather than overall scene/plot, I'll pull up a random sentence generator and click through some silly sentences. It's like Mad Libs, in that the words are the right parts of speech but don't really go together. It almost always works to get my brain going and get me out of my wording ruts. I think it's because my mind tries to make sense of the silly sentences and comes up with words to make them make sense.

Taking a break and reading some well-written fiction for pleasure can also help. And sometimes, we just need a break. If that's the case, I give myself permission to take one, then it's back to BICHOK.

Great post!

J.Q. Rose said...

Melissa, thanks so much for your helpful ideas to beat the block. I haven't heard of the mad libs trick. Actually sounds like fun. I really never thought about how the scene or words I already wrote could be the problem!!! Isn't it odd how some days your fingers just fly across the keys and words flow, but others there's nothing? That's when I quit. But middle of the night or in the shower seem to be the times I get great ideas! And no way to make notes on them. hee hee. Thanks for stopping in.

Susan Bernhardt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Susan Bernhardt said...

I've never experienced writer's block. I have experienced not sitting down to write. When I do eventually sit, the words do come. I just have to get to that first step.

Marsha said...

Hey, J. Q. So I didn't read this post. I'm very susceptible to suggestion. LOL Knock on wood, things are going well for me with the words. Not taking a chance of focusing on this. If/when I hit the wall, I'll check back with your I'm sure very helpful post. :)

J.Q. Rose said...

LOL--I like your thinking. Don't worry. Basically, it just states there is no such thing as Writer's Block.

J.Q. Rose said...

Yes, nothing gets written if we keep putting it off to do the laundry, shop, clean out that closet!. You gotta sit down and write. Good point! Thanks.

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