Monday, 27 June 2011

Words don't come easy

I've read and asked many writers if they have writer's block.  Some say there is no such thing.  Others say it comes and goes.  Some suggest to just write whatever you can write and it will flow.

I don't have problems with writing.  I have learned to use prompts, for example reading a book, a magazine, writing in my journal, writing how I feel, etc. My problem is finding time to sit and write.  When I sit down in front of my computer to write, I just tap away.  Eventually of course I do find the time to write...then there's another problem - after finishing a few chapters of my first draft, I am usually not satisfied with it...is that even normal?  After finishing the whole first draft, I sometimes re-write and re-write and I don't get anywhere.  I don't think there's enough "showing" or that the descriptive words are sufficient.  I don't feel the magic.  I don't feel as inspired.  Because of this, I have learned to listen to my inner voice for inspiration.  When I get inspired, words flow.

When does inspiration come to me then?  It is when it is least expected.  Words come when I don't force them to come oozing.  They come when I'm feeding my son or laughing with my husband about something hilarious while in a supermarket. Or when I'm in bed listening to music or about to fall asleep (it's a pain when this happens I tell you).  Or when I'm sitting on a bench in the garden doing nothing.  Or I'm looking out the window when it's raining. Or when I'm sipping a cup of coffee and eating my favourite cheesecake.

Words come when I'm at peace.  When I have no care in the world.  When I'm daydreaming or absentmindedly thinking of my characters and talking to them in my mind.

That's when they come.

When it happens, I have to grab my pen to write them all down.  I have to be armed with a pen and a notepad at all times.  Pens and notebooks have to be everywhere in the house - on the coffee table, in dresser drawers, on the computer desk, on the dining table (yes, I won't spare the dining area!) And under no circumstances must I go out without them.  It's crazy sometimes when they come when I'm trying to have a meal and POP!  An idea for a scene suddenly comes into my head or some beautiful words in a sentence.

But most times, words don't come easy.  I write rubbish. I write nonsense. I write riffraff.  I write baloney.  I write crap.

How about you?  When does inspiration come to you?  Do you experience writer's block?  What do you do to snap out of it?


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I found something on the net last year through blog browsing.  It might be useful to you.  It's an amazing tool to get writing prompts!  Try it, it's free!  Here's the link:   Writersparks

23 comments:

Theresa Milstein said...

My writing ebbs and flows. I can totally relate to this post because I don't know when inspiration will strike or when I'll have to hunt it down.

It's nice to hear how other writers deal with it, so we know we're not alone.

KarenG said...

I could have written this post! It sounds like we have the same kind of writing processes.

Michelle Gregory said...

maybe that's why the words won't come right now. i thought it was because i was tired from being in the midst of a move but maybe it's also because we're unsettled and there's no outer peace. time to go find some inner peace.

Michael Offutt said...

I don't have a set writing schedule. However, one thing that I do is I plot my entire story out before I write it down. The outline gives me a framework to work on and it helps plow through writer's block.

Shannon said...

Well said. Personally, inspiration usually shows up at the most inopportune time, like when I'm in the shower. I, too, have learned to always have a pen and paper within reach. :)

Old Kitty said...

I think with first drafts, I rarely get writer's block. I'm so excited, I just write and write. It;s when I start to re-write and notice so many plot holes and other bits n bobs that it all goes incredibly pear-shaped. I get whammed with Writer's Block, BIG TIME! I shut down and er.. bake. Or blog. And eat. And blog some more! LOL!!

I guess I also lack discipline! I think that's why I really enjoy taking creative writing courses. I am given deadlines and grades to work towards! Now I am just rambling!!

Good luck with your writing!!

Take care
x

Devin Bond said...

I write when I get the inspiration and when I just get bored. If I wrote when I just got the "OMG MUST WRITE" feeling, I'd probably never get anything done.

Michael Di Gesu said...

My last inspiration came to me in a dream. Most ideas pop into my head and I am fortunate enough to remember them.

I haven't had writer's block as of yet, and I hope I never do. I have four more books to write for my m/g-y/a fantasy series and I also have a sequel planned for my y/a contemporary.

Emily Rittel-King said...

My inspiration comes from my *cue music* heart. You can stop laughing, I'm serious! Whenever I follow my heart the words flow. Often I'm blocked because something is wrong in my story. I follow my heart, fix the problem, and I'm back in the game.
BTW, new follower here. I love your flowers!

Amanda Milner said...

I totally can relate. Inspiration hits when I'm driving, when I'm in the shower or, as you said, right before drifting off to sleep. Before i thought my muse had it out for me, maybe he/she wanted to drive me mad! But I think you're on to something, maybe i just needed more peace. ☺

Botanist said...

I can totally relate to the time element. More than that, I've found I can't write while I'm in critiquing mode -- which means writing as such is on hold right now while I push a novel through a critique group.

But when I'm free to write, inspiration usually comes when I have time to empty my mind, like sitting on the beach or at a campground (rarely) or (more usually) on a 1-hour cycle to work.

Deborah Walker said...

I ignore inspiration. It comes and it goes. I like to focus on wordcount. It's surprising what good stuff slips out when you're not inspired. But every writer is different, and if you've got a way that works for you -- that's cool.

Glynis said...

I rarely get a block. Like you,Len, I will be lying in bed and have a great idea. Or I will be at a dinner party and have to go to the bathroom to scribble an idea down. I need peace to let my mind flow. Happy Scribbling my friend.x

Susan Schreyer said...

First drafts are (of course) supposed to be c$@p! Sometimes--for me-- words flow and I can't type fast enough. Other times I get stuck and nothing happens. Those are the times I know there is essentially something incomplete with the structure I've created for the story. Once I fix the structure (usually the scene goal, but not always) things start to move along.

As a friend of mine once said, writing is a disciplined business. It is sometimes necessary to tie the Muse in a chair and give her a good jab with a cattle prod when necessary so she doesn't fall asleep on the job. You can always go back later and fix what she reluctantly coughs up. ;)

Margo Benson said...

Like you, I have to have notebooks and pens everywhere, at ALL times. Inspiration pops in from all over.

I haven't suffered from writer''s block (touches wood) as I have a ridiculous amount of ideas and situations to fill many stories right now.

I think we all need to be kind to ourselves, though. Many of us do other jobs/work alongside our writing and put purselves under too much pressure at times.

Talli Roland said...

It's very normal not to be satisfied with your writing, I think. I'm rarely happy. Even now when I read something I've published, I cringe!

Since writing is my job, I don't think too much about inspiration. I sit down and do it, because if I didn't, I'd feel like a slacker.

betchai said...

i don't write much creative stories, but i do write a lot of technical stuff work related and most of the times just to quench my thirst for advancement of knowledge, like you, it's hard to write if I am not inspired, and inspiration comes to me in solitude, when I am away from material world, in short, when I am out in nature, in wilderness with no internet connection nor cell phone, that is then a lot of analytical questions come to my mind and words starts flowing as our mind opens up to the well of wisdom we had stored for years but often times not tapped because of worldly distractions and temporary happiness that I admit I do enjoy and fall prey too.

Jen Daiker said...

Some have said they don't have writers block? That's nutso! How crazy. I wish I had that problem. I do have stints where I have blocked myself from writing. Either due to stress, lack of a scene not working, too busy. All those factor into my writing. If I'm stressed my writing is stressed. It's hard to break through the barriers sometimes.

Lucky for me the outlining helps. I used to be a panster but I found I get stuck far less when I write down my ideas!!

Jessica Nelson said...

I get writer's fear. LOL Inspiration hits me too, when I least expect it. Usually when I'm driving or I'll start daydreaming in the middle of doing something. But writing takes work and can be painful for me. Thanks so much for popping by my blog the other day! I appreciate your comment.

Kari Marie said...

I have high points and low points in my creativity as well. I try and go with the flow. However, stress or mental/emotional issues are often the culprits of my writer's block. As soon as I can clear that up, the creativity just pours out of me.

Ann said...

Thanks for the link to that site. I have it pinned on my laptop.

Like you words come when I am relaxed. I write best in the mornings before my mind becomes cluttered with the daily tasks and demands. But words have come as I relax in a bath or just as I drift off to sleep too. And yes that is a pain!

Deniz Bevan said...

Words come to me all the time [g] There was a period of about three years where they didn't come at all, and I worried that all my writing was over and done with. Thankfully, something snapped, and now I've got ideas galore. The odd thing is that I can only work on one project at at time.
It's not the writing that's the problem, it's the editing. So easy to procrastinate...

Regina said...

Most of my inspiration and words come to me when I am driving. I don't know why...probably because I can't write them down and they like to test me. :)