My Block is harder then your Block! Like... Help!

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jonvision
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Mon Jul 25, 2011 8:58 am Post

Greetings, hope I will make myself understood since I am not of the English talking native kind.

Before in my life I was highly social, talked and talked and talked to friends and whatnot. But after some years with a son, who has a disability so that it is harder to be social with him since he lacks much of his independence. Wonderful boy though who I love very much. But it is what it is.

Separeted since a little more then a year and all that time I has also worked in other cities, which has made me sort of isolated since I haven't been able to reconnect with my social life, and over the years they have got their own families and so forth. Yada yada yada, you know the deal.

So to the writers block then.

My creative process has always been of the dynamic kind. I say A, someone says B and voila.. I got ABCDEFGH. And that I kan use and write. A week later I take ABCDEFGH and discuss and get a bit of feedback. And with actually going through the story verbally with someone solves a lot of story related problems. This was my life before.

How the hell do I regain this and able myself to do it by myself?

I still have ideas but not as many, working slower in my brain and not at all on the computer.

It feels like I am unable to structure the story, I get some ideas but when I am sitting down nothing happens. I have written som ideas just to not let them slip away.

I have pitched my idea and everybody says it is a good idea. I wrote two chapters and all that read it said they wanted more, those who read are bookworms so I don't feel they where just being nice.

So I feel I have stuff that want out. But out nothing comes. Very frustrating.

So where is my muse?

Any ideas or just words from you might help, don't know but I do care.

Thanks,

Jon
Just DO it! Stolen but true!

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pigfender
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Mon Jul 25, 2011 3:50 pm Post

Hey Jon,

The short answer you've already provided in your signature: Just do it.

The longer answer? Well... There are three possible approaches:
1) You find someone else to bounce your ideas off;
2) You become your own 'other person' - ie continue to use the bouncing ideas format, but just play both roles; or
3) You redefine how you work, and get used to working by yourself.

Pros and cons?
1) great if you can find someone, bad if you can't. You retain dependence on others which is a problem if they or you move on for whatever reason. You are stuck with someone else's timetable - great if that drives you along, bad if it slows you down.

2) perhaps not as odd as it sounds, although beware of developing multiple personalities on public internet forums

3) this is what Mrs Pigfender means when she says "man up". You be a little slower to start with, but once you form new habits and ways of working through repetition you'll probably be quicker. Possibly what you need is to be more confident in what you are producing. Give yourself permission to be proud of what you are producing. Trust in your own opinion.
Last edited by pigfender on Mon Jul 25, 2011 9:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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dr
druid
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Mon Jul 25, 2011 4:17 pm Post

Let's use an analogy. You want to ride a horse.
You once loved to ride horses, but now something's wrong.

You can't get a foot in the stirrup.
Or you can't swing a leg over and sit in the saddle.
Or you get there, but you can't convince the horse to go.
Once you could do all these steps in one smooth, easy glide.
Now it's not working.

Well, you have several options.
1. Go back over each of those steps and carefully practice them, one at a time.
2. Go do something else until you really, really want to ride that horse.
3. Quit riding altogether and decide that you love to walk, run, or drive.
4. Sell or set free the horse.

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jonvision
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Mon Jul 25, 2011 7:19 pm Post

pigfender, druid...

I'm going to get on the horse again!
Just DO it! Stolen but true!

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vic-k
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Mon Jul 25, 2011 7:25 pm Post

Hiya Jon,
you paint a picture of a lonely single parent, with the added resposibility of a son with a disibility. Parenting at the best of times can be extremely demanding. But then you go on to say:
"I have pitched my idea and everybody says it is a good idea. I wrote two chapters and all that read it said they wanted more, those who read are bookworms so I don't feel they where just being nice."
Are these not the people to be bouncing ideas off, and getting feedback from?

Life with kids can never be reconciled to life you lived before you had them. I have to ask, how important to you, is writing? Why do you write? Perhaps, now, is not the time for writing. Or is writing, respite from the pressures of single parenthood?

Perhaps you could modify your modus operandi a bit and forgo the computer and high yield expectations for the time being, and write short stories on paper, specifically for your son. I'm assuming that is a feasible proposition. I apologise if I'm appearing presumptuous.

From my perspective, the equation you've presented us with has many more variables for inclusion, than we've been made privy to.

My experience of parenthood, taught me to put my own wants and expectations, on to the back burner, until the kids were of an age, that allowed me the opportunity to do what I had to do.

I wish I could come up with the answers you're looking for, Jon.
Take care
Good Luck
Vic
As a professional, you, are your one and only asset. Without integrity you are worthless, but with it, you are priceless.

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jonvision
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Mon Jul 25, 2011 9:35 pm Post

Sounds insightful vic-k =)

Need to introspect myself a bit and you all has given me some things to reflect upon.

Actually wrote a thousand words (928 to be exact) with backstory to start laying out the ground. Hope to write bits and pieces until I reach critical mass and the story has to get out.

Slow is the key perhaps =)

thanks everyone.

Jon
Just DO it! Stolen but true!

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vic-k
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Mon Jul 25, 2011 9:41 pm Post

jonvision wrote:Slow is the key perhaps =)
P'rahps: steady as she goes! rather than , slow...eh Jon? :wink:
Take care mate
vic
As a professional, you, are your one and only asset. Without integrity you are worthless, but with it, you are priceless.

cr
crimewriter
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Mon Jul 25, 2011 10:33 pm Post

Jon, I have a lot of sympathy for your plight. If you're a writer, the worst thing in life is not being able to write, for whatever reason.

My solution is not necessarily yours, but I was warned when I started out that it was not good to share your writing ideas with other people. The problem is not that someone will steal them but that they will evaporate in the telling. Ideas are like seeds: you must hide them away in the dark and nurture them; it's not good to keep digging them up and showing them around to see what progress they're making. When you talk about your writing, rather than actually doing it, your brain tells you that you've already done that piece of work. So why are you trying to do it again?

I find I really need to keep my work to myself until at least I've finished the first draft. I have to find out for myself who these characters are, how they speak, what they're doing. Other people's input may be brilliant, but it dilutes and distorts something personal. In the end, anything of value I have to offer readers is my own personal take on life, love and death.

As to producing the words, well, I find that doing something repetitive that needs no effort of mind -- scrubbing the kitchen floor, cleaning the windows, ironing -- starts to fill my head with scraps of dialogue or useful scenes. I wrote my first book while training for a half-marathon. There's something about pounding out the miles through woods, across fields, even along city pavements before dawn, that fires up the brain and makes anything but writing seem unimportant. Silence is good, too.

My favourite pianist is Leif Ove Andsnes (Norwegian, I know, rather than Swedish). I heard him interviewed once and he said that every year he returns for a few weeks to the small island, east of Bergen, where he was brought up. He goes there for the silence since it is now so rare to find it anywhere else.

Maybe you'll have to wait a while until life is easier. I found that the emotional energy I used in bringing up my children (also on my own) was the same as that needed for writing. So the writing waited for a number of years.

Good luck.

cw
Some quiet night when you've shirked your work because of fatigue or distraction, open a window of your house and listen. Do you hear that distant clicking sound? That's one of your competitors, pecking away at his keyboard in Paris or London or Erie, PA

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Siren
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Mon Jul 25, 2011 11:58 pm Post

Hi Jon,
There are wise words in the advice and comments you have already been given, and there isn't much I can usefully add. But I would like to say something anyway, because your words resonated with me and I have often experienced frustration like yours.

I agree with crimewriter in that sharing my ideas at an early stage is a sure recipe for strangling them so that they never reach fruition. Some people thrive on bouncing ideas off other people while otherwise working on their own, some like to work in collaboration with someone else, and others are best left on their own to get on with it. I am definitely in the last category. From your description, it sounds as though you used to be in the first category, but is that still the case after the life changes you have experienced? Trial and error will help you decide which sort of person you are now.

Instead of bouncing ideas off other people, you could try using techniques such as mind-mapping or brainstorming (on paper or on the computer), or doing free-writing exercises just to get you started again. Experiment with different approaches to the writing itself -- for example, if you normally write off the cuff, try different techniques for developing the structure before drafting -- anything to shake things up and break out of the habit of not writing. Slow is indeed a good way to go, not least because it is infinitely better than not progressing at all! If you can build a daily habit of producing 1000 words (or even 500) you will soon build a sizeable chunk of work, and with regular practice you may find that you gain momentum and start writing more per day, or writing faster.

I'm afraid there is little remedy for having your writing ambition crowded out by parental preoccupations. Sometimes there is no room in our minds for selfish commitment to our own creative ambitions or desires, which often have to be pushed aside as we struggle to get through the day's work, look after the people in our lives and just do the best we can. It would be great to believe that all it takes is a decision to set aside a block of time for our own projects, but life is never that simple. And if we get too determined to make space for writing, there is a risk that our children will one day turn round and criticise our parenting skills! :-) Sometimes, I envy those aloof, dysfunctional, patriarchal writers of earlier centuries, who had the luxury of doing what they wanted, supported by households of servants and biddable wives...

But if I have to be a damp squib in some part of my life, I would rather it was in my writing endeavours rather than in the truly important stuff. The world isn't crying out to read my prose, but my family does need my attention and my time. Better an unproductive writer than a self-centred creative genius who sacrifices other duties on the altar of personal goals. :-)

Good luck with finding a happy balance between your responsibilities and your creative life.
Literature & Latte support team

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jonvision
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Tue Jul 26, 2011 8:47 am Post

Thanks Siren.

You're absolutely right that family has to come first, I kind of did that myself to get the result that became my son =)

I will try the concept of keep the story close and some what secret at this point.

/Jon
Just DO it! Stolen but true!

an
andersteig
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Thu Jul 28, 2011 10:47 pm Post

You can also check out this blog on terribleminds:
http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2011/07 ... ers-block/

Lykke til med skrivingen!

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jonvision
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Fri Jul 29, 2011 8:58 pm Post

andersteig wrote:You can also check out this blog on terribleminds:
http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2011/07 ... ers-block/

Lykke til med skrivingen!



Perfecto!

Have put on my readers list so it is just a click away on monday when I have my own time =)

Thanks! och Tack!
Just DO it! Stolen but true!

mi
michaelbywater
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Sat Aug 06, 2011 5:22 pm Post

I saw one of P G Wodehouse's novel notes. A vast wad of typing-paper. I reckon it was about 140,000ww -- this for a novel which would come in at about 75,000ww if that.

It was pure stream-of-consciousness. Algy comes into the room. Lavinia is playing the piano. Does Lavinia play the piano? She must do. Why is there a piano in the room? Where are we? Who IS Algy? Anyway here they are. Outside the French windows there's a commotion. No there isn't. -- that sort of thing.

When he'd finished, he just started typing away and out came the first draft.

He told an old friend of mine that he thought his secret was: he loved typing. He liked the clatter of the keys, he liked the bell and the skkkrriitchk noise the carriage made as you cricked its neck at the end of each line, he liked seeing the pages come out. He just... liked typing.

Not a bad secret, really. Worth a try? Remember Hemingway: "First drafts are shit".

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vic-k
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Sat Aug 06, 2011 6:07 pm Post

michaelbywater wrote:Remember Hemingway: "First drafts are shit".
Ah...yeah...but...wasn't he talking about the first couple of pints off a new barrel. He was...wasn't he? :?
As a professional, you, are your one and only asset. Without integrity you are worthless, but with it, you are priceless.

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jonvision
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Sun Aug 07, 2011 10:02 pm Post

michaelbywater wrote: He liked the clatter of the keys, he liked the bell and the skkkrriitchk noise the carriage made as you cricked its neck at the end of each line, he liked seeing the pages come out. He just... liked typing.


I have actually been looking for an old school keyboard, this slim apple one is pretty good looking but sounds just wrong, feels wrong. Need a good one, but with modern connections like wireless or at least usb. =)
Just DO it! Stolen but true!