When a Writer Can't Write

Questions, skill improvement, and respectful critique involving game writing.
User avatar
Posts: 51
Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2010 4:24 pm
Organization: The Neotable

When a Writer Can't Write

#1 Post by brofisto » Tue Jan 31, 2012 9:43 pm

When a Writer Can't Write (ed. Mike Rose) is a book about writer's block. It contains multiple essays about disrupted composition, as well as the causes behind it and the psychologies that refer to it.
It's a very informative book, and one that I found very constructive when trying to get past my own cases of writer's block. It's not a self-help book by any means, but it's a good way of "getting to know your enemy," so to speak.
You can typically find it at a public or academic library if you were interested in giving it a read.

How do you usually cope with writer's block?
What usually causes you to get stuck in your writing?

User avatar
Eileen-Class Veteran
Posts: 1006
Joined: Thu Dec 22, 2011 4:26 am
Projects: Eternal Memories, plot bunnies that won't die.
Organization: HellPanda Studios
Location: United States

Re: When a Writer Can't Write

#2 Post by redeyesblackpanda » Tue Jan 31, 2012 9:52 pm

When I can't write, it's normally because I'm tired. I try to relax, drink some milk, some tea, rest my eyes, and avoid video games and computers in general. Sometimes, taking a shower helps. I feel that I'm able to write my best (both in terms of quality and quantity) when I feel refreshed. Getting enough sleep can help, but caffeine can too if you don't have time for sleep (eh... not the best advice, but it's what I do :lol: ). I've also found chocolate to be effective.

If I'm struggling over how to make something work (like make a characters actions make sense by building an emotional state), I sleep on it and try to talk to others to see if I can figure it out.
(All projects currently on a hiatus of sorts. I blame life.)
Tsundere VN
Not really checking the forums any more due to time constraints, so if you want to contact me, PM. I'll get a notification and log in. :mrgreen:
Also, I've been hit and run posting, which means I don't see many replies. If you want to respond to something I've said, also feel free to PM me.

NOTE: if you've got questions about vnovel or things like that, it's Leon that you should be contacting. Leon's been pretty much handling everything, but due to various reasons, I've had to withdraw entirely.

User avatar
Posts: 48
Joined: Fri Jan 20, 2012 1:47 am
Location: Narnia, Argentina

Re: When a Writer Can't Write

#3 Post by LeandroP » Tue Jan 31, 2012 10:03 pm

When I'm block I usually take a week or two to clear my head. Then, without even noticing it, the ideas just come out!

If you want something quicker, take a long shower or get a nap, the best ideas come when your mind is REALLY relaxed...
The least important things, sometimes, my dear boy, lead to the greatest discoveries.
Would write your VN for character's sprites.

User avatar
Posts: 210
Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2012 9:25 pm
Projects: Forgotten and Remembered, Scarecrow, I Will Be Waiting, Hidden in Spring, Juliette, L.O.S.E.R, The Sky Will Fall

Re: When a Writer Can't Write

#4 Post by silenteve » Wed Feb 01, 2012 2:40 am

When I have a block, I take time off the project. But then I completely forget about that project because usually I find something else to be completel ingrained in and when I eventually do go back, I forget where I was headed and completely destroy the project.

It's a VERY bad habit. I think the reasons for my blocks are due to me dedicated too much time to the project and it makes me frustrated and angry very easily. Therefore, I set time blocks for myself to work on them and STICK to them, no matter how much I want to continue. It's better that way.
My DeviantArt / Le Tumblr Development Blog
Current Projects:Forgotten and Remembered & Scarecrow
(Failed)NaNoReNo Project: Working on Hidden in Spring w/five lovely team members :D

User avatar
Writing Maniac
Posts: 3428
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2003 8:51 am
Completed: Metropolitan Blues, The Loyal Kinsman, Daemonophilia, The Dreaming, The Thirteenth Year, Adrift, Bionic Heart 2, Secrets of the Wolf, The Photographer
Projects: The Pilgrim's Path, Elspeth's Garden, Secret Adventure Game!
Organization: Tall Tales Productions
Location: Germany

Re: When a Writer Can't Write

#5 Post by Taleweaver » Wed Feb 01, 2012 4:33 am

When I can't write something, I usually

a) read
b) write something else

b) is especially effective, even if that "something else" is just a little distraction. I sometimes write short funny lists of things (I work as a moderator in a fanfiction archive, so lists of "the ten strangest XY fictions" are quick to make) or parody shorts of typical Mary Sue characters, and this quickly clears my head for more serious work.
Scriptwriter and producer of Metropolitan Blues
Creator of The Loyal Kinsman
Scriptwriter and director of Daemonophilia
Scriptwriter and director of The Dreaming
Scriptwriter of Zenith Chronicles
Scriptwriter and director of The Thirteenth Year
Scriptwriter and director of Romance is Dead
Scriptwriter and producer of Adrift
More about me in my blog
"Adrift - Like Ever17, but without the Deus Ex Machina" - HigurashiKira

User avatar
Posts: 31
Joined: Tue May 10, 2011 7:50 am
Organization: SJP
Location: Somewhere Over the Skittles Factory.

Re: When a Writer Can't Write

#6 Post by yukipon » Wed Feb 01, 2012 8:56 pm

If I get writer's block, I go to my living room and do a ritualistic dance to my patron writing god that may involve poles, loud music, and eggs. Once I have done that, the writing god blesses me with an idea that may/may not be related to what I was planning on writing. So, I go back to my desk and write that. (^_^)

Honestly though, for me, it's not so much a block but more like I'm just being really lazy. Once I get my pen/keyboard moving, I can easily go 2-4+ hours if food, sleep, and school weren't an issue.

What really stops me from writing is the constant studying I have to do for my weekly tests purely as a matter of priority. I wish it was more like undergrad where I could write and not have the upcoming test nag me in the back of my mind.
"How do you know my name? Damn, this can only mean one of two things: Either we have met, and you are telling the truth, and I just can't remember it, or you are a spy." ~Setou Kenji (Katawa Shoujo)
Status: Thinking. Planning. And playing Phantasy Star Online 2 JP.

Posts: 81
Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2011 12:09 pm
Projects: The Cave
Organization: Fudaki Productions
Location: Somewhere in space

Re: When a Writer Can't Write

#7 Post by Dakishimete » Sun Mar 18, 2012 3:48 pm

They are various things that stop me from writing, but I think that you're talking about artist block. I have it from time to time, especially when I have to write a part that even I'm not interested in, but it has to be done, so the story will have a sense. The story I'm writing now has politics involved, so I often encounter these less interesting parts to write, when I need to tell just facts, without any sign of emotions involved.
And there's one thing that helps every time. Each of my characters has their own songs, sung in voice that could belong to them and lyrics that match their life. Hearing such song even once makes me want to write about them again and it always works.

User avatar
Eileen-Class Veteran
Posts: 1430
Joined: Fri Mar 09, 2012 6:58 pm
Projects: Coming Out On Top
Location: United States

Re: When a Writer Can't Write

#8 Post by Obscura » Thu Mar 29, 2012 6:27 pm

I have struggled with this throughout my life.

For me it happens because of 1 of 2 things:

1) I start turning into a perfectionist about my writing. I keep thinking, this needs work, there must be some better way to say this, and end up spending an hour on a single paragraph or even sentence.
2) I'm just not that interested enough in the story or that part of the story (probably means that part of the story needs work)

I don't know any cure for it, maybe I should trying doing the pole and egg dance somebody mentioned.
Coming Out On Top - An Adult Gay Dating Sim

User avatar
Posts: 172
Joined: Sun Oct 23, 2011 3:09 am
Location: USA

Re: When a Writer Can't Write

#9 Post by Gambit74 » Thu Mar 29, 2012 8:33 pm

^ #1 definitely applies to me. I often spend too much time reworking a paragraph or a scene of a story when I should keep on writing and come back to it later for editing.

In my cases of writer's block, it's usually because I've run out of ideas to work with due to certain obstacles that prevent me from continuing. Despite being open minded about things, I'm one of those people who are obsessed with the Showing Your Work trope when it comes to writing (Though only if my setting is based on a real world place or a fictional Earth), even if it's something not well known or very rare like Lazarus Syndrome and Urbach–Wiethe disease for examples. I spend a lot of time researching actual medical conditions, actual theories and whatnot and half the time I don't even use some of them in the end.
Nothing to see here, folks. For now, anyway...

User avatar
Eileen-Class Veteran
Posts: 1261
Joined: Fri Mar 16, 2012 11:38 am
Projects: Rika
Organization: Solo (for now)
IRC Nick: Trick
Location: Tokyo, Japan

Re: When a Writer Can't Write

#10 Post by TrickWithAKnife » Wed Apr 04, 2012 1:48 pm

Writer's block? What's that?

I seem to have an endless flow of mediocre ideas. :wink:
"We must teach them through the tools with which they are comfortable."
The #renpy IRC channel is a great place to chat with other devs. Due to the nature of IRC and timezone differences, people probably won't reply right away.

If you'd like to view or use any code from my VN PM me. All code is freely available without restriction, but also without warranty or (much) support.

User avatar
Posts: 138
Joined: Tue Jan 11, 2011 7:48 pm
Projects: Our Crossing Paths

Re: When a Writer Can't Write

#11 Post by Twisted-Eva » Tue Jul 10, 2012 2:09 am

Oh god, I've been experiencing writer's block for a few months. I can't progress with scripting since I ran out of material to script with based on my work on another engine. Instead, I just illustrate the neutral sprites of my characters and then post them as a sign of update with some progress. But even getting all my 1st set of sprite expressions gets tiring, I'm taking college classes, and then finding a part-time job or internship. I can clearly picture the major events like the good and bad endings which are reinforced by listening to music. Over and over again, I don't forget those scenes. The problem is filling in the gap between major battles or events in the main story and then filling in the multiple routes. I can't seem to figure out what to write in between those major events to maintain immersion and progression through the story. Things like a few chapters depicting day-to-day life with progress in the story and avoiding mundane details.
Deviantart Account
Current Project: Our Crossing Paths [GxB] [Alternate History/Drama]

User avatar
Posts: 468
Joined: Thu Jun 14, 2012 2:00 pm
Projects: Cards of Destiny, Sky Eye
Location: Germany

Re: When a Writer Can't Write

#12 Post by Destiny » Tue Jul 10, 2012 2:30 am

When I can't write, then I stop with it ö__ö
But it's often that I have no real problems writing in general but writing on a specific story.
Three short novels are hanging because of my writing block at the moment (one reason why I try to race through the script to have it at least finished before the block, polishing is possible even after that).

In contrary to a painting block I also don't know anything effective against it.
When I have a painting block I just stop painting for a while, then start slowly again and then, one sunny day, I suddenly feel the urge again and just do it.
Sometimes it also helps to do a little picture errands (people asking me for a picture about something) that make me want to draw again.
Never happened with writing to me, kind of sad when looking at my unfinished novels .__.
Maybe I should read that book, if that helps.
Cards of Destiny (WIP) / Sky Eye (WIP)

Posts: 74
Joined: Sun Sep 12, 2010 10:32 am
Projects: The Aces

Re: When a Writer Can't Write

#13 Post by icebluehost » Tue Jul 10, 2012 11:06 pm

Usually I get writer's block when I find myself not knowing how to proceed with the story/plot. Like I'd have a general idea of what I want to do, but I don't know what to do in a specific chapter, or a specific part of the story.

To try and get myself out of my writer's block I usually read other books to get a fresh perspective or a fresh idea on how I should proceed with my story. Or play a videogame I still have. Or watch something. And when I get back to my own story, I try to keep myself from reading the first parts of the book again. I just read a current chapter, or read the current part where I'm stuck on and wait for some new idea to appear in my head.

Re-reading when your story isn't finished yet is a good way to slow you down further and I suggest not doing it when you're still early in the story. Tendency is the writer finds something wrong with it and edits it, then starts editing until you've completely changed your story and end up in the same spot where you had a writer's block. This isn't always the case of course but it's a risk because of the possibility.

User avatar
Posts: 95
Joined: Thu May 12, 2011 10:26 pm
Location: USA

Re: When a Writer Can't Write

#14 Post by LadyAvori » Wed Jul 11, 2012 8:12 pm

Ugh, Writer's Block :x

I have a couple things that I do.

1. I'll just write a different scene, something I do have an idea on or am excited about, just to keep writing. Sometimes I use these scenes and sometimes I don't, but it keeps me writing on the story. Or I do research for something I know I'll need later which sometimes produces an idea that gets me writing again.

2. I'll also read. Which can be a good or bad thing for me. It always results in a new idea, but not necessarily for the story I have a writer's block in. Sometimes it gets me wanting to write a whole new story and I hate doing that.

3. I also have a friend that I bounce ideas off of who also loves to write. We'll read each others stories (not proof read or edit them) to get an idea of where the story is going then offer ideas to help each other out of the block. Maybe one sticks, maybe not.

If that fails and I find myself sitting in a long slump, where day after day I'm staring at the computer screen trying to will the words to come, (This doesn't work btw. Words are stubborn.) then I just stop writing altogether for a while. I'll hang out with people, play video games, go on walks, swimming, camping, watch tv, the news, or a documentary etc. and hopefully I'll see something, hear something or do something that gives me a damned Idea for my scene. lol

User avatar
Posts: 373
Joined: Mon May 14, 2012 1:27 am
Projects: Driftwood, Ambassador of Sieubia
Organization: Wakagana
Skype: wakagana

Re: When a Writer Can't Write

#15 Post by wakagana » Wed Jul 11, 2012 10:39 pm

First off, I cook up some tooth paste and pizza rolls.

I think the biggest rule about writing is that if you don't have the lust to write about something in that particular time, write far ahead of the story or path line you're trying to write. Sometimes it's better off to write the ending first and find out what happens in the middle that makes sense with your ending, and vice versa. Writing doesn't always have to be linear and set to a plan that can get boring really quickly:

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users