Writing Blocks

Water

“I love writing but hate starting. The page is awfully white and it says, “You may have fooled some of the people some of the time but those days are over, giftless. I’m not your agent and I’m not your mommy. I’m a white piece of paper, you wanna dance with me?” And I really, really don’t.”
Aaron Sorkin

A writer’s block is defined as an inability to write or produce new work.  Writer’s block is a well-known problem that has been witnessed over the centuries, with varying levels of intensity and time durations.  At some point, writers will experience the “joy” of staring at a blank piece of paper.  The good news is that others have experienced this phenomenon.   Ernest Hemingway said, “I rewrote the ending of ‘Farewell to Arms’ 39 times before I was satisfied.”  David McCullough said, “There’s an awful temptation to just keep on researching.  There comes a point where you just have to stop, and start writing.”

Writing blocks, while they may be painful, challenge us to advance and progress.  The career of a professional writer is not for the fainthearted.  It is demanding, capricious, disappointing and all-consuming.  The story, the idea, the discussion so clearly understood within our minds, must find a way to the outside world.  Sometimes words fail to adequately convey all that we would like to share.

Barbara Kingsolver’s solution is to “close the door.  Write with no one looking over your shoulder.  Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say.  It’s the one and only thing you have to offer.” James Thurber didn’t mince words, “Don’t get it right, just get it written.”

“Get it down. Take chances.  It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good.”

William Faulkner

 

32 Comments

  1. Gallivanta says:

    Our blogs give us lots of opportunity to take chances 🙂

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    1. Clanmother says:

      I agree! And I found that the blogging community is very gracious.

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  2. Gallivanta says:

    Writers’ blocks are building blocks?

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    1. Clanmother says:

      I was hoping that it would coming out that way…you are brilliant, of course!!!

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      1. Dina says:

        🙂 🙂 🙂

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      2. Clanmother says:

        Thank you, my dear friend!!

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  3. I stumbled on my block today, and had to keep reshaping it, till I was happy. Some days the ideas just roll out and go “tah dah!” Others, they hide and I need to hunt them down.

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    1. Clanmother says:

      Ah…that is a wonderful way of overcoming – you defined the block! Well said! Thank you so much for joining the dialogue…

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  4. Susanne Haun says:

    It’s difficult for a painter´, too. We always look on a white sheet of paper!
    I like it to hear in which way others solve the problem of the big white one!

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    1. Clanmother says:

      My dear friend, of all the creative endeavours, artists are the most mystifying to me. How you are able to take an idea and bring forth a visual representation on a “white sheet of paper” is as close to a miracle as I can imagine. As Aristotle once said, “The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.” I cry every time I go to an art gallery!

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      1. Susanne Haun says:

        That is a great quote, clanmother. I like it. I wish you a great sunday, greatings Susanne

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      2. Clanmother says:

        We have sunshine in Vancouver!!! Thank you for sending your good wishes!!!

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  5. Beautiful quotes!!!

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    1. Clanmother says:

      Your visits and comments are always a welcomed gift.

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  6. mixedupmeme says:

    You probably wouldn’t think so……..but I actually go over my little contributions and rewrite. lol
    Not so anyone would really notice, but I have become a bit more aware or critical of what I post.
    I realize it doesn’t have to be just right the first time or even the second time. 🙂

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    1. Clanmother says:

      Actually, I know that you go over your posts and put much thought into the words/music. You are telling a story behind it all!!! Since joining the blogging community, I have been overwhelmed by the collective genius and the willingness to share ideas and knowledge.

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  7. inspiring, thank you. I agree very much Barbara Kingsolver’s idea, very true.

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    1. Clanmother says:

      Did you ever read “The Poisonwood Bible?” A remarkable narrative!!!

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      1. oh no, haven’t heard of this book, I will check this out ….. thank you.

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  8. Ms Frances says:

    It would seem that “getting down” to real writing is not for the faint of heart.

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    1. Clanmother says:

      How well said…whatever the artistic endeavor, courage is a prerequisite.

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  9. Ed Spadoni says:

    Beginning is more than half the battle.

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    1. Clanmother says:

      Very true. And waiting to start doesn’t make it any easier. Sometimes it only takes one word, one memory, one photo….to move things along.

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  10. “Apply the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair”, can’t remember who said it but it sort of sums it up doesn’t it?

    I find writing inspirational poetry comes easily, perhaps because I don’t try to do it until I’ve got something that’s irking me so much that unless I write it out it doesn’t leave me alone. On the other hand I gave up trying to write anything else because it didn’t come easily. Probably a lesson there!!

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    1. Clanmother says:

      I have often wondered how a poet forms thoughts before writing the words. It is a special gift and one that mystifies and inspires at the same time. I so enjoy reading your poetry! Thank you for sharing your wisdom.

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  11. Pete Denton says:

    I’ve had some writing blocks in the past, but blogging really helps with that. Writing something else takes your mind off your blockage and gets the juices flowing again. Does for me at least 🙂

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    1. Clanmother says:

      I agree – blogging gives purpose to the moment which gives me a sense of freedom. It is first a conversation with myself and then a discussion with the community. I must confess that I do not consider myself a writer, but I love to hear the voices and the dialogue that swirls around me. I am delighted that you stopped by!!!

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      1. Pete Denton says:

        Thanks. I’ve found blogging to be a great source of motivation and inspiration. Long may it continue 🙂

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      2. Clanmother says:

        I am with you on that! So glad that we connected!!!

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  12. arjun bagga says:

    Hmmm. So what I understand is, break the big block. Understand them individually, Make a note of each one of them – shape, texture. Then, bring them together. That might look like a 200 page book, it seems.

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    1. Clanmother says:

      A fresh and insightful approach. I was amazed by the amount of research and discussion that centered on writer’s block. It seems to occur when the ideas become locked inside our minds. The 200 page book is a very real possibility.

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