While browsing the Internet, I’ve read an expression that writing is the closest thing to magic. I totally agree with it. I think in one of my previous posts I compared a writer to a demiurg — a divine being able to create and change reality, and so does a writer; the only difference is that a writer does it on paper. So, you might ask me, can there be any obstacles or difficulties that such a power could face?
Unfortunately, yes. I don’t know about demiurgs, but a writer’s scourge is trivially called “writer’s block.” Generally speaking, it is a number of psychological conditions with the same outcome — a pause in the creative process. This pause can last for days, weeks, and even months, and feels like an inability to write anything, or doing it so bad that it’s not even worth trying.
Here are several symptoms of writer’s block:
- An inability to produce an idea worth writing about. I guess you have experienced a condition when you just thoughtlessly sit and stare at your computer (or a sheet of paper). Sometimes you write a line or two, and then erase it because it leads nowhere. Imagine that this lasts for days or weeks. Looks like a rather nasty symptom, doesn’t it?
- A lack of motivation. All of your ideas suddenly stop being so important to you. You write a paragraph or two, but cannot see the point of keeping it, and you drop your writing. It’s similar to a situation when you finally start doing morning exercises, but after waving your hands for a warm up, you suddenly feel bored, or say to yourself, “It just won’t result in anything.”
- An inability to work on your outlines. This is about myself, to some extent (as well as the first symptom). When I have writer’s block, I just can’t expand on my outlines. I have a ready storyline, I know what my characters will do or say, I know what is going to happen next – but I just can’t go beyond those brief points in my outline, and connect everything.
- Being unable to expand on ideas. Though it may look similar to the previous point, it is slightly different. Imagine yourself having a really great idea that you think you can write a trilogy about. Let it be something between “Dune,” “1984,” and “Game of Thrones.” Enlightened, you start writing eagerly, but after a couple of pages you suddenly understand that you have completely depleted the potential for your idea, and that there is nothing else to write about. Moreover, your writing is so crude that you don’t even want to make a short story out of your once great idea.
- Being stuck in a dead end. Actually, this is where a writer’s block can begin; it happens when you realize that you have given your story a wrong direction 200 pages ago, and now it’s too late to fix the story. Disappointed, you simply stop writing and don’t feel like holding a pen ever again.
These are just the general symptoms of writer’s block. Everybody has their own misfortunes and reasons that don’t let them write normally, and interrupt the creative process. The good news is that writer’s block can be dealt with, and my upcoming posts will be dedicated to the methods of bringing oneself into creativity once again.
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