Monday, May 26, 2008

Writer's Block - Lack of confidence?

Before we get started on today's article, let me just pause for a moment and remember all our brave men and women who've given so much to serve and protect us.


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We've all heard of Writer's Block, and as writers, we all dread falling prey to it. I have to say that I've never really had it (what I have is a total lack of time to write) but I've friends who have suffered from it.

For them, it's the inability to write, to conceive new ideas, or to believe in themselves.

I think that last one is the key issue. I think a loss of belief in our skill or ability to create a story is the culprit behind Writer's Block. That loss of confidence can often come about by rejections which are commonplace for writers (you can't please all the editors all the time). The only remedy I know is to make a razzberry in the general direction of the rejecting editor and go write another cover letter to include with the next submission.

A loss of confidence can also stem from bad reviews. What we have to remember here is that good, bad or indifferent, a review is publicity. Even bad reviews can spur sales because a lot of readers (me included) will automatically believe the reviewer is wrong, especially if it's an author you've already read. Oh, and just let me remind you, that even a crappy book can get great reviews. Not naming names but I've seen that happen too.

Finally (since I'm getting ready to put the barbecue on), a loss of confidence can arise when a writer goes a long time without a sale. This is particularly true if your support system (ie family and friends) only sees success in terms of dollar signs. The fact that you've completed several mss doesn't mean much to these people. Oh, I'm sure they mean well, but they don't understand what a grand accomplishment it is to actually finish a book.

The solution is to keep writing. If the words won't come for one project, move to another. Or do free associate style writing where you don't have a goal or purpose in mind. All you're trying to do is open the flood gates and let anything fall out. You'd be surprised how often that works even if you're only stuck on a particular scene.

Don't let the naysayers get you down, just keep writing.

-- Lynda

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4 comments:

Skylar Masey said...

Lynda~

Thanks for the nod to the troops and vets!

I think this is great advice, especially for new writers who haven't been in the business long. Writers want affirmation, but we don't always get that. It's important to remember that we can make our own destiny :0)

And reviews can really stink and still draw a huge crowd! I have friends who've been hit at Amazon, but a buzz is a buzz. One friend even had a RT Top Pick and her editor shrugged it off like no big deal. So just remember to celebrate every milestone, especially THE END!

Lynda K. Scott said...

Skylar, absolutely agree! We need to celebrate every accomplishment...I'm always ready to celebrate :)

Savanna Kougar said...

Wow! I find that rather amazing, that an editor would kinda shrug off an RT Top Pick. Wonders never cease.
Actually, my worst case of writer's block occurred after college. I had a professor who was actually outstanding as a creative writer teacher. However, one day he was speaking with me in his office, and he told me that my writing was old-fashioned and I would never be successful as a writer. Even though, he personally liked my writing. Which I could tell, he did. He would have me read it aloud often, and give me high marks compared to others. But, I was so shocked I analyzed it death. And years later I had to admit I wasn't writing because of that conversation.

Angela Verdenius said...

I have to admit to having just gone through my very first bad bought of writers block (as anyone who has read my whining blogs will know). After switching books several times, all I could do was keep plugging along.

Actually, I found that several things led to the writer's block - or so I believe. My personal life. If things get a bit overwhelming in private life, it can affect my writing. All those little things add up, including loss of confidence in oneself for as minor (to some) details as putting back on weight one has just lost, getting a big bill, having a sick cat and seeing all the repairs needing doing on the house. Not to mention the bad news in the TV news and every newspaper.

Lukcily, I have a couple of friends and my Mum who helped me sort through my writers block, and realize what was adding to it.

Now I've taken a step back and decided what is important and what isn't, identified those things I can do and those I can't, and now I'm getting back into the groove!

Great article.

Angela