Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Bratty Little Writer's Block

My dear friend Robynn Tolbert, aka the Ranunculus Turtle, posted on her blog today about writer's block. I'm totally poaching her topic, so when you're done reading my post, please hop over HERE and read hers. Or read hers first. I'll wait on ya.

Robynn mentions that she mocked Anne Lamott for having three years of writers block, and is now feeling like she's getting payback for her insensitivity. Robynn, no fear, you are not alone. In writers block and in the mocking. I think they both come with the territory. It's sort of like parenting--when you haven't had kids yet, or you are a new parent, it's easy to judge. We've all seen a bratty little kid and said, out loud or not, "MY kid will never behave like that because I'll..."

And what happens? Your kid does exactly that bratty thing you said you'd never allow, and you find yourself powerless to stop it.

Writer's block is that bratty little kid. It comes along to make your life miserable at the most inopportune times.

But what causes it?

Sometimes kids act up because they need attention. Sometimes what they need is less attention--a nice little time out. I think writing is the same.

Writer's block can come along because you're going about your writing the wrong way. You're not really giving it the attention it needs. You go through the motions of sitting in front of the computer, but your heart's not really in it. In these cases, you need to refocus. You need to let go of the things cluttering your mind and put everything into your writing.

Other times your writing needs a time out. You do have a life, remember? Other things need you, too, and if you're trying to focus too hard on writing, those things sort of clog your creativity. So step aside from writing and take care of you, your family, your house, that stinky litter box. Or take some time to relax, go on a vacation. Read. (Remember reading? The thing that got you on this crazy ride in the first place! Get back to it, and it can push you right back onto the ride.)

Of course, the real problem is knowing WHICH reason is causing the block. On that, I can't help you. It's as difficult as figuring out the trigger of a toddler's temper tantrum, sorry to say.

The biggest thing to remember is to not let it stress you out. You are not Anne Lamott. Your livelihood is not dependent on your writing at this time. When you get to her level, when writing pays enough for you to quit your day job and it becomes your main source of income, then you can freak about it like she does.

(Yep, I'm laughing at that last paragraph, too....as I bang my head against the desk, unable to control my own bratty little writer's block.)

15 comments:

Caprice Hokstad said...

Vacation? What is THAT? Sure would like to find out some day, especially if it involves actually GOING somewhere further than the grocery store. Not holding my breath on that one. Not sure I'd need to write if I could actually escape for real. HA, worry not.

Kat Heckenbach said...

Ah, well, a virtual vacation? I know it's not always easy to get away, but maybe simply a vacation from writing, so you have time for other stuff. Don't know? Like I said, this is all talk--I'm still banging my head on the desk....

Caprice Hokstad said...

Well, when I am having a block, then there's no need to take a vacation from writing, because not writing is the problem, yes? If I'm not blocked, then taking away my computer is TORTURE, not a vacation. Vacation, as I understand the term (and I could be wrong because I have very little experience with the actual practice) is not having to do all the other JUNK of life that INTERFERES with writing, like dishes, laundry, running kids to all their church activities, grocery shopping, cooking, etc. I've heard there are even parents who have someone who will take their children for more than two hours so that higher brain functions are again possible. Some people even get to leave their homes and go away. I wouldn't know what this is like. Just a rumor that such things exist.

I've had writer's block before, and it's usually not a writing problem as much as a concept or plotting problem. Just not having a good direction to go in. I mean, at any time I am capable of writing a scathing letter if I just have a reason. Scold my daughter for hugging a girlfriend and watch what flows from my keyboard. (Yes, that happened.)

All I need, in most cases, is a cause, or in fiction, a plot. The more common problem I have is getting me to shut up or stop. LOL

Robynn Tolbert said...

Let's see. I've already used the "paper cut, lemon juice" quote this year... Oh, yes.

"You mock my pain! Never do it again! I died that day!"

That'll do, pig. That'll do.

Kat Heckenbach said...

Pigs eat turtle, you know.

Just sayin'.

Kat Heckenbach said...

Love you, Robynn! :D

Diane M Graham said...

Oh my, Princess Turtle quotes Babe. Now I know I love you. LOL

And Chicky does a face-plant. Hehehe...this is fun.

Love the screaming child and great post.

Kat Heckenbach said...

Ah...Babe. Didn't catch that. Haven't seen it. So, remember, my response to her comment was from the perspective of it being completely out of context. I took it in jest--I know Turtle would never say anything "hurtful" to me in any other way--but with this new bit of info I see that my response to her comment doesn't quite make sense.

Oh, well. The "Love you, Robynn"" stands :).

Robynn Tolbert said...

As...you...wish...

Kat Heckenbach said...

So the Vaulter was wrong! Hehe! Not Babe! Not Babe!

Inconceivable!!!!

:D

Diane M Graham said...

Nope, I was right. "That'll do, pig" is from Babe. I know for I sat through it about a hundred times when the kids were smaller. And now she quotes one of my all time favorites...The Princess Bride. That one I've seen a good hundred as well. :P

Kat Heckenbach said...

So she is mixing quotes, to throw us off her trail...evil turtle....

Diane M Graham said...

Exactly! Hurry, throw her a cookie. That will keep her in line for a bit while we think of revenge.

Robynn Tolbert said...

More cookies!
Babe is a great movie, Kat. One of my favorites. Avoid the second one. Too silly.

Killtan Roy said...

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