writer’s block: banging my head against a wall


In the life of the aspiring writer, writer’s block is an inevitable fact of life. I just have to ask why when I have no time to write (i.e. during a semester of school), I have tons of ideas, and then when I have all the time in the world, the well of ideas runs dry? I have all this desire and time to write, work on that best-selling book every aspiring writer wants to write, but no original ideas. I feel like the universe is laughing at me.

Working on the ideas I’ve already started, I feel completely insecure. Being kind of a book snob, I don’t want to write anything I would never consider reading myself, but can I really meet my own standards? Are these stories worth telling? Are they redundant or cliche? Has it all been done before? This is paralyzing me.

Just browsing through the website Writer’s Block Help has already at least made me feel better about my insecurity. Just reading the Creative Writing Quotes has encouraged me to keep trying. There are solutions on this site for almost every kind of writer’s block, whether you’re just terrified of not living up to your writing heroes (like me) or you’re idea tank is running on empty. There are writing prompts just to get you writing something, suggestions of where to go for inspiration, and even a list of creative writing contests.

My own usual remedies:

  • If my story were a movie, what music would be on the soundtrack? Listen to that music.
  • Read the books that make you want to write or the authors that are your heroes. I love Ian McEwan’s writing style in Atonement. He has a way of putting words together so they just look and sound pretty. The Chronicles of Narnia also help because the magic is in C.S. Lewis’ words.
  • Sometimes writing on paper the old-fashioned way instead of at my computer helps to. It’s good to feel the act of writing with a pen. It feels more intimate, like I’m a part of the writing process.

Whether your writing songs, books, poetry, or designing furniture, websites, ads, stationary or painting for your own pleasure, what do you turn to when you need an inspiration boost? What’s your creative Red Bull?


6 Responses to “writer’s block: banging my head against a wall”

  1. 1 onemeanmfa

    I totally hear what you’re saying about having ideas when you’re so busy. I think this happens because your brain is on go go go. My best ideas ALWAYS come write as I’m about to drift to sleep. I’ll hear a sentence and repeat it over and over and again. There have been times, I say this with shame and regret, when I’ve been too lazy to turn my lamp on, get out of my bed, and write that sentence down. That sentence could have been the start of something great. Now I’ll never know.

    I know for me having a blog helps keep me from having writer’s block. Also, writing through writers block; even if it’s some juvenile writing exercise. I tell my writing students that writer’s block doesn’t exist. I say this because I want this so desperately to be true.

    • Once in awhile I get an idea at night and like you I’m often too lazy to get up. We should keep notebooks bedside.

  2. Char, are you going to do NaNoWriMo this November? Have you ever done it before? It’s fantastic: http://www.nanowrimo.org

    • I tried last year and am ashamed to admit that I didn’t last very long. I definitely plan on a more successful go at it this year!

      • My wife and I completed it and are totally up for it this year. Get Ash to do it and we’ll all be writing buddies.

  3. I’m replying to your last comment down here, Joel…

    Oh my. I’ve never heard of that before. Holy moly, I have no idea what I would write a novel about! I’m so much more of a poetry and drabble writer than lengthy prose. Although it would be totally awesome to have an excuse to write more. Hmmm…

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