10 thoughts on “There’s no such thing”

  1. Yes, perhaps Terry is tight, but the human condition is wide and complex, and pulling apart the connection between skill (ability) and motivation (drive) that is driven by idiosyncratic traits that underpin our personality.

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  2. From Harvey’s Dictionary…

    writer’s block, n. imaginary. 1. just another excuse, a trick of the conscious, critical mind to keep the writer from writing, and in that way to keep him or her safe from the ridicule and embarrassment that might result should s/he actually finish a story and submit or publish it. 2. an imaginary affliction, the evocative name of which was created by someone who wanted to offer, for money, his or her method of getting past it.

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    • Perhaps…

      Having given it some thought, I think writers block is real and driven by two factors.

      1. Anxiety
      2. Depression

      The only way to fix these problems is to address what is causing the anxiety and depression, and that anyone who offers quick fix methods is probably wrong.

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  3. “You have to have written something to have writer’s block. Otherwise, we all have it.”
    –Bea Arthur on the Golden Girls.

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  4. I have never experienced writer’s block per se. Brain fog in general, however, is a pernicious barrier.

    If I have a scene that “doesn’t seem right”, all I need to do is avoid it for a while. My subconscious (especially overnight) is a wizard at diagnosing the problem and suggesting solutions that would never have occurred to me deliberately — it’s so much better than my waking mind at some things. 🙂

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  5. I can’t find the article I read in the 90s, but one way to think of writer’s block is as writer’s “gap”.

    – You have come upon a stream and you have to get across. Start bridging that “gap” with stepping stones.

    A Valid Path
    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/1/11/A_valid_path_original.jpg

    Mind the Gap
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mind_the_gap

    – You build those stepping stones by briefly focusing on sharp details around the character, or within the character, then looking across the “gap”. You will either have your stepping stones, or see that the “gap” is not there anymore, or can be stepped over.

    Another source of problem is having a vast Story and you don’t know where to start because you can’t “see” small enough parts to start with.

    – In fact, the Story is so vast that you don’t even “see” that it is even there.

    That’s the classic from Robert Pirsig’s Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Repair or Anne Lamott’s Bird By Bird.

    – Pirsig had a student that could not write, so he told her to sit at a coffee shop and describe the hotel across the street, brick by brick.

    – Lamott had to write a school report on birds. Her father said to start bird by bird.

    A way to do that with Story is see a person getting dressed in the morning. The act of describing the bedroom, closets, and what they are getting dressed for will open up the character and their world.

    Another is, have someone stepping off of a bus and describe in detail what they “see”.

    – A school bus, a gleaming new city bus, or a bus ready to be retired, an airport shuttle bus, etc…

    – Why are they getting off the bus, where are they coming from, where are they going to, etc…

    Just fill pages with everything that you “see”, and at some point the rest of the Story will start coming in to focus.

    Look at The Silmarillion:

    – That was assembled from many working notes.

    – Each is a synopsis for a larger story.

    When you get to the pages describing LOTR, the whole book will come into focus as you realize that those few pages describing LOTR — a half million words — that today would be 1.5m million words.

    – That each of those synopses also describe a 1.5 million word Story.

    At that point, you pick and choose which Story to uncompress first, then keep going.

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