Writer's Block


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peej
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Yeah I know, get a blog etc but...

I've got it. And I can't seem to break it. I can't seem to get back my writing mojo (if I ever had any) and it's getting worse. I've got three assignments prepped for this term and they involve elements of creative writing but I'm fucked if I've got any inspiration and even know where to start on the damned things.

The three assignments are (in their simplest forms):

1) Childhood Memories - Write a creative piece about a particularly poignant childhood memory.

2) Time Shift - Write 600 words, a story that contains elements of time shift and past, present and future tense

3) Turn a recent news report into a dramatisation (haven't even got a fucking CLUE where to start with this one! Eek).

Not really looking for inspiration on the writing assignments, just wondering what other writers here do when they get this mental block?
#1 at 10:58:42 - 02/10/2008
NewYork
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Like a true pussy-hippy, I write most when up a tree.
#2 at 11:02:49 - 02/10/2008
Rhythm
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I've had writer's block for 3 years now. It's why I stopped writing for RaceSimCentral & Boomtown and why content for here's been non-existant. :-(
#3 at 11:13:16 - 02/10/2008
Shivoa
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Cocaine is a great choice for getting through a block and doing some creative sentence construction, just make sure you wait until after the comedown before proofreading and sending.

In all seriousness though, I find jumping into something you're thinking about at the moment and letting that spew out is one of the best ways to clear the mind and get the fingers moving before jumping back into something you're blocked with. Just type out what's on your mind, a theoretical conversation you'd start if you were down the pub and wanted to fill the dead air with the sound of your voice for 20 minutes (have fun, write out the responses from everyone else there to this attempted monologue to make it really interesting).
#4 at 11:42:51 - 02/10/2008
Stevas
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Dead easy this, all you got to do, right, is imagine everyone present... naked. Course, that'll just be... um... you (probably), but don't let it put you off. Give it a try. Failing that, go the next logical step and GET naked - like, for reals - and if THAT doesn't work, imagine yourself fully clothed. Failing all THAT, have a wank. Handily, by that time you should be ready to go (lack-of-clothes wise - I'm not suggesting imagining yourself naked got you going) - just remember to imagine other people naked this time around.

Unless the whole imagining yourself naked bit did actually get you going, that is. In which case you're quite sick, but also fortunate in a way, as - wahey, etc, etc - easy-access pron any time you want it, kinda thing.
#5 at 11:44:15 - 02/10/2008
quedex
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Slack off to the pub and hire Stevas to ghost-write your stuff for you.

I agree with Shivoa's tactic - just write something, anything, like a random set of notes or whatever is buzzing around in your head at the time, and just let it grow into a finished article.
#6 at 11:49:26 - 02/10/2008
strangeed
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Yeah, some type of stream of consciousness might help, doesn't really matter if its banal or if the quality is crap at first. Try not to worry about content, at least, until you're back in the flow.

If it's serious you might also try a change of scenery, if possible. Some kind of weekend getaway? Scottish highlands would be a start. Wide open spaces tend to suck at the mind. Or the lake district, although cliché, is just one of those places which take your breath away.

You might also try reading something completely different to your usual taste. Might give you a jolt, either out of disgust (ie. christ, they wasted paper on this drivel? I can do better than that in my sleep) or out of a sudden interest.

Not sure if that helps. My main problems are laziness and a lack of confidence. My brain has been leaking out of my ears for the last few years.
#7 at 12:36:58 - 02/10/2008
peej
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Problem with coke as a solution is that all my sentences would be even longer than ever. Which is very long indeed.

I like the free flow mental brainspill onto a page idea a little better though, definitely.
#8 at 14:48:19 - 02/10/2008
Micro_Explosion
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I know of a writer who uses the techinque of just writing whatever comes into their head and not even revieweing it or looking back over it as they write it.

When they get to 10,000 words they stop and spend a day or two picking out sections that are useful or can be developed.

I've tried it for the first time on the last assignment I'm ever going to write - I repeated sections several times and 50% was complete bollocks. I think it's pretty good after two days of editing it down and expanding on bits I like.
#9 at 00:23:22 - 03/10/2008
kentmonkey
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I use a dictaphone (yeah I know, I should really use my finger) when reviewing and I've found that useful as I get real feeling that I may have missed out whilst scribbling down a note whilst screaming at the game 'I told you to fucking pause' or berating it for carrying on with a cut-scene while I'm trying to scribe.
#10 at 00:41:15 - 03/10/2008
ilmaestro
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peej said:
3) Turn a recent news report into a dramatisation (haven't even got a fucking CLUE where to start with this one! Eek)

Seriously? Most modern news reports are a dramatization of real life, so it shouldn't be that hard. ^_^
#11 at 00:53:13 - 03/10/2008
Hughes.
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I try to switch how I'm writing. I was sick of this damned keyboard so I got out all my old notebooks and transcribed all the scribbled on bits of paper and ratty old notebooks and re-wrote them in a nice, crisp, new notebook. After doing everything by typing for a few years now, getting back a tactile sensation from writing felt luxurious.

Or as Kent says, a dictaphone, or anything that changes how you approach working can freshen you up. Also, reading old stuff you've done, even if some of it is cringe making can inspire you, even if it's just inspiring in realising you can do a hell of a lot better than that now.

In desperate times I'll try to listen to all my music and find a song that triggers a kind of success state, and just leave it on repeat, for hours, or days. I always used to use OHMSS by the Propellerheads. Recently Jigsaw Falling Into Place by Radiohead has been tickling my bits. If you have any tunes that make you feel like you could invade a small country, single handed, that tends to be the good shit.
#12 at 01:13:20 - 03/10/2008
peej
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kentmonkey said:I use a dictaphone (yeah I know, I should really use my finger) when reviewing and I've found that useful as I get real feeling that I may have missed out whilst scribbling down a note whilst screaming at the game 'I told you to fucking pause' or berating it for carrying on with a cut-scene while I'm trying to scribe.


This is actually not a bad idea. If I can rig one to a headset this might be a pretty good way of getting stuff down rather than constantly pausing and scribbling. Cool stuff.
#13 at 09:48:31 - 06/10/2008
Shivoa
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Chances are if your mobile has a speakerphone mode then it can make quite a decent dictaphone machine.
#14 at 11:39:41 - 06/10/2008
peej
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My mobile is so old you actually have to hand-crank it and ask the operator for the number.
#15 at 13:42:15 - 06/10/2008

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