Monday, July 13, 2009

writers block in action

I'm having a bout of writers block. Right now.

I'm staring at the screen, and it's staring back at me. I hear this voice in my head nagging, "write something witty, write something witty, write something witty... write something good" but I got nuthin'.

So I go to MS Word, and I open up my manuscript file. And it's staring back at me too.


This is what it's like.

My writers block is born out of a desperate need to please others, and a deep fear that anything and everything I write is and will be crap. Beneath that "write something witty" nagging is the thought: I want to make you laugh today. I want you to think, Ah, that Elisa. Such a witty one. So talented. So good at what she does.

But I fear you are really thinking, Where did I put my keys?

It's already noon and I haven't done a damn thing yet. (Ok, so I didn't get up until after 10:00. I had a little trouble sleeping last night.) What kills me is that the moment is going to come when I'm so busy I don't know which way to turn, and yet I'm going to be bursting w/ ideas, itching to drop everything and get it all down on the page.

But right now, I've got all day.

And I got nuthin'.


Sarah said...

i know that whole story about writing one word all day and having it be the right word, but here's the thing - there are days when that's what matters, and there are days when it doesn't.

some days all i write is one line and i'm totally pumped because it's a good line. but sometimes the pressure of having to write the "right word" is just too much and i have to break through by forcing myself to write. write crap, write anything, write everything, make a list, write a lyric, whatever. just write. just to prove i can. and yea, sometimes it's total crap, but sometimes it's just a bit of crap mixed in with some good, salvageable stuff. and in my book that's worth it.

(i also find switching meida helps. some days i just can't write on a computer. sometimes - being the artgeek i am - i have to write in color or on unlined paper or whatever.)

how do others deal with the block?

Elisa said...

Funny, I had the urge to write longhand today.

Thanks so much!

Anyone else? How do you handle it?

Rob said...

I know exactly what you're going through.

My advice:

Write for yourself first.
Write for the audience second.


if you prefer the Finding Forrester version, "No thinking - that comes later. You must write your first draft with your heart. You rewrite with your head. The first key to writing is... to write, not to think!"

Hope that helps :)

Elisa said...

Thanks Rob -- the first piece is the advice I always give to my students. Gotta learn to take it myself!!