Do you ever experience writer’s block? What do you recommend to help overcome writer’s block? Any foolproof tricks that always work for you?
I live writers block… i think it comes from some deep place of self hate as I noticed that when I get some rather weird feedback I tend to stop. I once wrote a story about a young girl getting molested by an adult as part of a series of reflections on things that are not part of the beautiful like I want to
pretend believe exists.
I had a writerly friend read it and the feedback I got was that it was “too porny”, which was the last thing in my mind that I was trying to go after. That comment sent me in to a tailspin. I haven’t even revisited that project, mainly for shame of trying to describe what it is like to have an adult sexually molest a young child.
Yes, this is indeed heavy stuff, and some of the most powerful stories that I have read will often tell stories like these. It was a tough experience to even write, it was intense in a way writing has never been for me before. I was emotionally drained, physically exhausted, I was an emotional mess… but I went through it and wrote it.
Since then, it has been a year with relatively no writing for me… other than a woeful trudge through navigating my cancer diagnosis and trying to make sense of it.
But that experience is still in my mind, not the critique mind you, but how I felt writing that story. I think I have only let my writing be more like journaling because opinion is safe.
I think that for me, writers block is more about resolving some issues than a true inability to write. Those issues can be any variety of issues… from personal to literary.
So I love this prompt, and reading what everyone else wrote… I may have to go get some vodka as one person suggested.
I won’t hat tip another participant post, this post touches on some serious themes and they may not want to get associated with it.
DAY 3 PROMPT
What kinds of classes, programs, or workshops have you taken to hone your skill as a writer? What sorts of exercises did/do you use to improve? Have you ever taught a writing class or workshop?
I have avoided classes, programs and workshops – mainly because I am still reeling from that comment made by a teacher in college (see here). I hate being judged in that way. My mother, at least, is prone to telling me “what works”… though she leaves out the meat I want which is the “what doesn’t word” and “what isn’t clear”.
Lately, I have been doing a mind exercise where I try to talk about the details that get missed when I write stream of consciousness. So, for example, “she walked in to the room” might turn into “the orange glow from the lamp beside the door cast a long shadow as she walked past the door frame” (yikes, what a poopy example!).
But it is about noticing more than the singularly obvious… things that set the tone to the story or some such.
So that is what I want to work on, and to be rather frank – it is terrifying. I am crappy at getting down the details!
The fact that I am so bad at it in terms of writing my story is that it is somewhat shameful for someone who has a background in ethnography, something where attention to and description of detail is vital and important. But it is hard to translate that skill into writing! What are things you do?
I do a lot of technical and scientific writing. It is interesting to mix the two; scientific writing vs. writing for pleasure (though I admit they can be one and the same at time, I hope you will indulge the separation of them). One is defined by clear and specific text while the other has much more leeway. As I try to write more that is not dependent on a precise data set, I find myself worrying that it is too muddled, not clear… Do any of you have this problem? What do you do?
Today my hat tip goes to The Quirky Philosopher for this post. As an armchair philosopher I loved the title of her blog, but found some really good things to think about regarding the prompt o’ the day!