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Writer’s Block May 13, 2011

Posted by sarahsfate in My Own Personal Trials, PostADay2011, Thoughts on People, Writing.
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People of the world have various no-no subjects. They don’t talk about abuse, or drugs, or the devil. They don’t talk about interracial relationships, or sex, or the end of the world. And perhaps its weird, when compared to these other life-effecting subjects, that some people won’t talk about writer‘s block.

WRITERS BLOCK.

Big no-no subject. At least it is for writers. When I stare at a blank page desperate for the fledgling of an idea to take root…to grow legs and become words on that blank page, I never ever refer to my issue as writer’s block. No, I’m just thinking. Brainstorming. Waiting for the right way to express my thoughts. It’s not writer’s block. *shudder*

But why isn’t it? Why do I sit here spending my ‘thinking’ time coming up with excuses for why I can’t put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard, as it were) instead of really coming up with the story? I would like to think it’s the amount of pressure we put on ourselves as writers — especially if you have ever taken a writing course or attended a writer’s group. We know how important that first paragraph is…indeed the first sentence of your story could mean the difference between overwhelming success…and a dusty manuscript in an equally dusty box in a ridiculously dusty attic. So we stare at the blank page waiting for some absolutely fascinating sentence to appear there.

They say when you begin to write your story you should write as the words appear in your mind. Drawing a picture of the images, of the characters, of their trials, so that readers can see what you see. After your manuscript is complete then go back and edit it for perfection’s purpose. How many people manage to write this way? I couldn’t tell you. What I can tell you is that I wrote a 850-page manuscript that is accumulating dust in a box beneath my bed. Why? Because I wrote it as I felt it and saw it and thought it. Then I went back and edited it. And edited it again, which is tiresome. And eventually…it is boring. So I set it aside and, taking with me all that I know now about the right way to write a novel, forged ahead.

Forged onward to the next story that can be written correctly the first time around with few editing and changes necessary afterwards. It’s a great idea in theory. So…a great theory (because they’ll tell you in the writer’s group that you can remove the ‘idea in’ and be more concise. But I’ve sat in front of my bright white computer screen now for a month watching the cursor blink, blink, blink at me blankly like a deer in the headlights. And instead of writing that opening sentence, I’m staring off into space thinking about writer’s block

I’ve read books about how to get past this anomaly, which I find humorous…writing a book about how to write a book when you can’t write a single word. But it isn’t really an anomaly at all…in fact it’s pretty damn common. But the suggestion for moving past the blinking cursor is to start typing. Type anything because as long as you’re typing, the story will shape itself and you can go back and edit it later. I like editing almost as much as I despise its necessity. 

How boring a book would it be if I began it in the same manner most of my childhood books began? How must dust would that manuscript accumulate? Tons. No one wants to hear “once upon a time…” because well, obviously it was once upon a time and you’re really not supposed to state the obvious. So, what isn’t obvious? “Jane Doe turned out to be Sara Crawford, who single-handedly ran the city prostitute ring for almost 50 years, and was probably recognized the moment she was brought into the morgue but her body decomposed for two weeks because no one wanted to admit they knew her face.”

Fine. So I can type nonsense. 

So, which is worse? Writer’s block, or typing nonsense?

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