Monday, October 10, 2011

Writer's Block or Word Vomit:Which is the worst demon?

writ·er's block (rtrz)
A usually temporary psychological inability to begin or continue work on a piece of writing.

Every writer I know has been subjected to writer's block. In that time frame they will moan, complain and just generally be mopey. It is a terrible affliction for any who consider themselves a writer to suffer.

So what happens when you have the opposite of writer's block? Do you jump for joy that you've got so much creative juices pumping through your veins? Or do you run and cower under your covers because you're going to subject your current piece of work to word vomit? Which is worse - staring at the blank cursor and getting nothing done or projectile vomiting useless ideas, over description and too many plots?

I can thankfully say that I have never undergone the terror of writer's block. When I begin to write a piece I see the entire thing in my head, beginning to end. I'm able to loosely outline all the details and get to cranking out the words. Sure I occasionally have to take pauses when a description doesn't feel right or a character isn't doing what I want them to do. But I've never stared at the blinking cursor on my computer's word program. Never for an essay and certainly never for a creative piece. This doesn't mean I don't empathize with those that do.

I struggle with a different issue, much akin to procrastination. I can never seem to finish a story. I will be on an amazing flow and then suddenly I just get bored writing it. I know all the directions it needs to go but the characters just stop "talking to me". I get "talked to" a litter differently than the authors I have had the great privilege to meet. Rather than floating around in my head all the time, I see my scenes and my characters while I sleep. So if that night I don't remember my dreams I lose interest in that piece.

Occasionally in a few days time the dreams come back and I get interested in writing again. But more often than not I will have a completely new dream and sit down and draft out a completely and totally new outline. Thus setting the old story away in  filing cabinet in my mind and it never gets reopened. The characters are left in limbo, not because I don't know what to do with them but because suddenly I am bored.

I currently have 3 longer works that have meet this terrible fate.

  • One is a story I began in 7th grade. It is over 200 pages of a young adult thriller that has not been touched since. Junior year of highschool I pulled it out and made some tweaks, a few more pages and then back away it went.
  • Another is an adult thriller that I sadly know has been laid to rest in a grave. The idea was wonderful and the characters great to write, but it is no longer the genre I wish to pursue and therefore has been put in a graveyard. 
Finally the last is a piece that I began in July. It was going to be the piece I finally finished. I had thought it so far through I had the characters for a three book series written out in me head - though only the plot for this one. I have been tediously pounding out a few chapters a week in my spare time.

And then....

Suddenly my mind tossed me an entire story in my sleep the other night. Every detail from clothing to shoe size, to the villian's tale. So now what do I do? I have sat down and outlined it in full as I was taught. But suddenly, the story that was going to be my first real work, is now not the most interesting to me.

Do I file this new one away and hope the juices return another day to finish it? Do I attempt to register and write in NaNo this year and do my best to return to the story that has held me for so long? Because that was not a bad, uninteresting story by any means. But sadly my brain has picked new characters to talk to me.

Now how to authors get only the character's they are currently working on to talk to them?

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