Writer’s block. Ask any writer and they’ll all give you a pained expression, knowing your pain if you’re experiencing this almost debilitating frustration.
So far, I’ve only ever experienced writer’s block twice. Once a long time ago, so long in fact that I don’t remember what I was stuck on – I just remember the frustration involved. The second is happening right now though and it’s really starting to bug me.
I’m working on, or trying to work on, a competition entry. The subject isn’t difficult – you are to write a poem, short story of descriptive piece based on a piece of art. I did have a feel of what I want to write, the art is really lovely and gave me an almost instant idea. Yet whenever I tried to write it down I got totally blocked and even have a sentence that I ended with “something something” because my brain just shut down mid way through. The piece of art is, as yet, unfinished and I’m wondering if that’s where my problem is coming from, trying to write a finished piece of prose based on an unfinished piece of art. But I have a feeling that the problem is me. The initial idea I had, I’ve decided against as it doesn’t seem to want to be written. So I started a different approach and I now have 250 words and feel as if I’m “done”, which isn’t satisfactory as the competition wants 1-2 pages.
The problem now is that I had an idea a day ago, after racking my brain for days on end, but it feels more like an idea for a YA novel waiting to be written and not actually based off the picture at all. I think all the brain racking is now just giving me plot ideas for new novels and nothing for the competition.
So how do I get past this block? Part of me wants to just pack it in and not enter, but the prize is one that I’d really love and that’s what’s spurring me on. Plus I’m stubborn and don’t like giving up on things. But now I feel like I’m just trying to force the ideas to fit with the image, when really they don’t at all.
“I’ve often said that there’s no such thing as writer’s block; the problem is idea block. When I find myself frozen–whether I’m working on a brief passage in a novel or brainstorming about an entire book–it’s usually because I’m trying to shoehorn an idea into the passage or story where it has no place.” – Jeffery Deaver
Jeffery, I totally agree. But how to get past it, I again have no idea.
That’s a great Deaver quote. Why not try a different piece of art and a different story. Maybe it’s not the right idea for you at this time. I know it’s a simple suggestion but sometimes it’s those we overlook first.
Well the piece of art is set in stone for the competition, but your suggestion has given me a bit of a tangential idea. I think I’m going to try to find a similar, finished, piece of art and see if that helps my block at all. So thank you 🙂
Hi Natalie, I’m one of those who thinks writer’s block exists, but it’s a catch all term for not being able to get words on paper. The important thing is finding a way around. Knowing the cause may help, or maybe not, but here’s my contribution which I hope is useful, as getting stuck sucks.
You want this prize, a lot and that pressure is what’s blocking you? I don’t know you well enough to know if that’s it, or a way around, but maybe trying to find the ‘fun’ in the writing again could help? How you’d do this? I’d ask those who know you the best… maybe get someone to tickle your feet while you brainstorm?