Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Writer's Block

Question: What is writer’s block?

Answer/Quote: “Discussions of writer’s block usually concern the flow of words and how to get words flowing again when the brain seems to shut down.” P. 32.

Question: How can writers overcome writer’s block?

> “Write yourself a newsy letter or telegram covering the high points; don’t bother with beginning, transitions or endings but just write chunks that turn you on.”

> “Begin…with ‘What I really want to say is…’ or ‘I have to tell you about….’ ”

> “Begin a difficult passage with a question you want to answer. Answer the question. Then delete the question itself.”

> “Do a ‘freewrite’ of unedited, unpublishable [material]…. No particular topic. Try to write steadily for a set time, 5 or 10 minutes, not stopping to look at what you’ve done.”

> “Don’t get hung up on a word. Write a string of x’s and finish the sentence.” Later, the word will come to you.

> “If you’re stalling on an opener, start anywhere, with anything—a piece of dialogue, a fact, a later incident—and build around it.”

> “End the day’s writing in midstream, with a passage that’s easy to continue.”

Comment: I think the suggestion about the missing word you’re looking for is good advice. This entire article with all kinds of exploration about the reasons for writer’s block is excellent and should be required reading for your student writers. RayS.

Title: “You Can Conquer Writer’s Block.” Arthur Plotnik. The Writer (May 2012), 32-34.

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