Monday, April 19, 2010

Trying to Paint a Person Without Seeing His Face

I have Blogger's block today. Yeah. How pathetic is that? My sis emailed me and asked if I could do today's post. So I put a movie on for the kids and gave them each a substantial pile of chocolate chips. And now I'm sitting upstairs staring at the computer and waiting for inspiration to hit. And it hasn't. So now what? Writer's Block post. Yep. Might as well, right? I mean, I'm experiencing it at this very moment!

Do you guys ever get this--writer's block--when you're writing fiction? I do sometimes, but mainly when I don't have a clue where my plot is going... sort of hard to write something when you don't know what it is, right? Like trying to paint a person without ever seeing his face. Yep. Nearly impossible.

So what's the solution? Fill me with inspiration guys! Because you are all brimming with it. I see it every day in your blog posts.

45 comments:

Michelle H. said...

The only time I get writer's block is at the beginning, when I have so many different projects in my head that I don't know what to start first or how to start it. I've never had problems with middles or ends or coming up with plots. Weird.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

See my post from Friday. I posted the strategy of Robert Crichton. :-)

Lindsay (a.k.a Isabella) said...

If I get writers block I listen to music. If I'm struggling with a scene I find certain songs help.

As for blog posts, I'm always searching around the internet or books looking for ideas to spring out at me. Or - if all else fails - a really funny video on youtube:)
Sometimes though the inspiration hits when I least expect it.

SonshineMusic i.e. Rebecca T. said...

blech. Writer's block. Isn't it the worst? The way I usually get past it is by talking to someone about where I'm stuck. This is usually my sister, but also my mom, my dad, my coworkers, my brother's bearded dragon. Just getting the words started in the air somehow jumpstarts the words on the paper

Shari said...

When I get blocked, it's for the same reason as you. I do free writes, by hand. It helps me work out where I want my plot to go. It also empties my brain, which is actually a good thing.

Slamdunk said...

Running helps me clear my head and usually I'll get an idea. With my kids and the responsibility it is difficult to run though.

Janet Johnson said...

Reading is my strategy. Think about someone else's work for a while!

I try really hard not to get writer's block though. ;)

Carolyn V. said...

Yeah, I get writer's block. I usually start writing something blah and then the block will leave, but it's a pain. =)Good luck I hope your writer's block leaves soon. =)

Southpaw said...

I do get blogger block quite often.

ERIN COLE said...

I like to read poetry - it is infused with imagery, emotion, experience, etc. and I almost always find a direction and a better way to say it!

OfficeGirl said...

Hi Bethany! Writers Block...lets see. Well, for me its a chronic affliction that I have. I mostly just mentally bash myself until I'm forced to write by my own inner evils. Also, If I have time to write and nothing is coming out I load up on candy. What? Candy? I know its crazy. But there is nothing like surgar rush to get you excited about writing, get your brain moving...its proven to work!! Go ahead...eat some candy!

Elana Johnson said...

I rarely experience writer's block. For me, I get in my own way with my lame moods. Like, "I don't want to write today because it all sucks!" That kind of stuff.

What helps me to always have words inside: I stop writing before the scene is over. Sometimes I stop writing in the middle of a sentence. That way, I always ALWAYS have something to write when I come back the next day. Even if it's only ten words to finish a sentence. And by the time you've written ten words, you might just have ten more inside. And then ten more...

:)

Lydia Kang said...

I had this yesterday. Needed to rewrite a scene with a fresh idea, and I ended up locking myself in a dark room and just thinking till it hit. I was lucky. It only took five minutes!

SM Schmidt said...

I keep a host of one line post ideas thrown into my drafts sections for days when I can't think up a topic. When that runs empty I trawl twitter and iTunes for inspiration.

Stephanie McGee said...

I had this issue with my current WiP over the weekend. I knew that I needed to move things along. Be it the central plot or the love triangle. I had an inkling I needed to go back to my antagonists and show what they're up to, but I wasn't sure. I was stuck staring at all that blank space underneath "Chapter 12."

So I turned off the computer and ignored it overnight. I'm still struggling but I ended up getting a page and a half of writing done the next day. Letting it sit and stew was far more helpful than anything else I might have thought of at the time.

Angie said...

That's such a funny picture. I love it. My best remedy for writers block is daydreaming, and lots of it. Also chocolate never hurts.

Mary McDonald said...

I have writer's block right now with my current WIP. So, what I'm going to do in the next few days, when I have off work, is do some serious outlining to see where I need to go with my plot. It's really hard to get to the destination if you don't have a map.

Bish Denham said...

Get out your notebook and do some free writing. Write whatever comes into your head, doesn't matter if it means anything or not. Scribble away for five minutes, 10 minutes, time yourself. You may find that you suddenly have more to say. Where you are stuck in your plot may suddenly come to light and the log jam will be releases.

Free write!

Brenda said...

As Slamdunk said above, running helps. And I listen to music while I run that is related to the emotion of where I am in the WIP (MC feeling angsty, angry, euphoric), which also helps. Except if MC is wallowing. Then running turns into a stroll and a stop at Starbucks on the way home.

Angela said...

My first approach to writer's block is to walk away. I just leave the MS alone until I get fresh ideas. However, if this drags on for more than a few hours, I go back and reread what I've written and force myself to write something, even if it's something I'll eventually delete, just to get me back in the groove.

Liza said...

When I'm stuck for a blog post (which I was today) I just sit down and start writing. Something always comes out. As for a manuscript...well I'm a novice here, but so far it tells me where it wants to go. Each time I sit down to work on it the story surprises me.

Cheree said...

When I get writers block I often put on music or a movie, just anything that will take my mind off it and offer a little bit of inspiration.

Caleb said...

I find that not writing is a great cure for not knowing what to write.

Jen said...

Ahh Writers Block Hell, hard to get rid of at times isn't it! I hate it when it moves from fiction to blogging... and then to how you speak. It happened to me over the weekend and it was awful!! I couldn't even ask my husband to grab me the pitcher, because I had forgotten how to say the word... pitcher, shouldn't be that difficult one would think but when your mind has run completely out of steam you'd realize otherwise.

Do the crazy dance, grab a rice krispie and sing aqua's I'm a barbie girl... trust me it works everytime!

Jemi Fraser said...

I'm actualLy pretty lucky - I rarely get writers' block - did I just jinx myself?? When I do it's usually because I messed up the previous chapter and I need to delete it!

ChristaCarol said...

I usually get stuck when I'm forcing my characters into a situation they wouldn't have allowed in the first place...or forcing the story to go a direction it doesn't want to go. I've learned when I get stuck, to "talk" with my characters and figure out what wrong step I made, back track from there, and scrap the wrong path. Always works for me.

Robin McCormack said...

If I get blocked its because I'm not listening to the characters and trying to take them in a direction they don't want to go. So I stop, open my mind, day dream and free write and see what happens.

Koala Bear Writer said...

I think my writer's block right now is a consequence of not feeling like I have time to "get into" the story. Like if I start writing, my two-year-old will be yelling, "Mommy Mommy Mommy" in five minutes, and I'll totally lose the characters/setting/mood of what I'm writing. Not sure what the solution is yet... call Grandma? :)

Dominique said...

Well, something others seem to favor is to throw rubber balls against the wall.
Me, I tend to just do random stuff and let the idea strew.

Bethany Wiggins said...

My two cents, even though I did write the post!

1. A good night's sleep
2. A brusque walk/run with the ipod
3. Washing dishes by hand
4. Inspirational blogs

Those are my curealls for writers block. Thanks for the inspiration, dudes!

Jackee said...

Everyone had such great ideas!

Mine is usually facing the problem--that not knowing where the plot is going. This means I outline and reoutline. And boy do I LOOOOOVE to outline!

:o)

Jon Paul said...

I jump ahead and write some scene in the future that I already have a feel for. It usually comes out pretty bad, but it's enough to get the ball rolling, and I can come back and fix it up later.

If that fails, I take the day off.

Angela said...

I'll read, write a scene that is related to my WIP book but won't be a part of it or I'll journal. It might take a few exercises, but it gets me back on track. :-)

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I'm with Slamdunk. Exercise helps me everytime. My mind starts drifting to my wip, and since I'm not forcing myself to write (and I'm nowhere near paper and pen if I'm running), the ideas start to flow.

Sheri Larsenッ said...

Candles, music, and a breath of fresh air. Psst...chocolate sometimes helps, too.

Zoe C. Courtman said...

There was a point when I started getting Blogger's Block, but then I realized it was because I had nothing to say at that time. I decided then that I'm not contributing to the blogosphere unless I really do have something I'm itching to share. Something that's going on in my life - AND something that's really indicative of who I am, and what makes me different. As for real writer's block! SHHH!! I can't know that it exists!! LOL. Great post!

Natalie said...

I get writer's block daily. I usually just make myself write something. A lot of the time I have to delete it the next day, but at least it feels like progress.

G said...

I lucked out for the past couple of months by not having writer's block while writing the first draft to my novel.

Unfortunately, I'm going through a tiny slice of it because I re-wrote the ending twice and now I'm stuck on writing the last paragraph. Grrrrr....

Anywho, as for the blogging part, sometimes just putting up one pic and going off on a tangent about the subject can do wonders for blogging block.

Marjorie said...

"Like trying to paint a person without ever seeing his face. Yep. Nearly impossible."

Not at all. You could be inspired by the sound of the person's voice and the meaning behind the person's spoken words.

Did you know that a blind artist won a photography contest in NYC?

check it out:
http://www.disaboom.com/blind-and-visual-impairment/blind-artist-wins-new-york-city-photography-contest-exposure

I am inspired daily by my memories. I am addicted to nostalgia. One Frank Sinatra song usually does the trick. And looking at old family photos helps as well.

Marjorie said...

Oh, something else. You could feel the person's face. You could use your hands and run your fingers over the person's facial features. You would feel the texture of the face; the smooth parts and the rough parts. This sensory attention to detail might help you create a beautiful painting.

All it takes is a little creativity. The cure for writer's block is the imagination.

SAMUEL PARK said...

I really do think the best cure for writer's block is to read--whenever I read, it makes me want to write. Great picture, by the way. How in the world did you get that pencil through your head? :)

Laura Pauling said...

I have to walk away and get involved in something else! And then ideas flow faster.

Gail said...

Reading everyone else's blog inspires me and usually sparks an idea for mine.

L.T. Elliot said...

I have everything block right now. Sadly, I feel like I have nothing to help you break out of it but I'm going to read the comments to see if someone else does!

Marjorie said...

If you liked my above comment... perhaps you will like the humor in my new blog:

www.marjorie-cartoons.blogspot.com

Please let me know what you think.