Overcoming Writer’s Block ( abridged)


fresco - writingOvercoming Writer’s Block
(Thought.Com – Lifelong Learning)

Richard Nordquist has written an interesting article about the problems connected to writing, stating that its most difficult part is getting started, above all if facing a deadline. This is called “writer’s block.”, i.e. the frustration in front of a blank page.

Even novelist Ernest Hemingway, asked about the most frightening thing he had ever encountered, answered “A blank sheet of paper”, and Stephen King, said that the “scariest moment is always just before you start…. after that, things can only get better.”
Therefore, to help overcome writer’s block, Nordquist has listed  a series of quotes. Here are some:

1. Get Started

• “The easiest thing to do on earth is not write.”(William Goldman)
• “Writing is 90 percent procrastination: reading magazines, eating cereal out of the box, watching infomercials. It’s a matter of doing everything you can to avoid writing, until it is about four in the morning and you reach the point where you have to write.”(Paul Rudnick)
• “The art of writing is the art of applying the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair.”(Mary Heaton Vorse)
“One of the most difficult things is the first paragraph. I have spent many months on a first paragraph, and once I get it, the rest just comes out very easily.”(Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
• “The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.”(attributed to Mark Twain, Agatha Christie, and others)

2. Capture Ideas

• “I carry a notebook with me everywhere. But that’s only the first step. Ideas are easy. It’s the execution of ideas that really separates the sheep from the goats.”(Sue Grafton)
• “In writing, there is first a creating stage—a time you look for ideas, you explore, you cast around for what you want to say. Like the first phase of building, this creating stage is full of possibilities.”(attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson)
“Actually ideas are everywhere. It’s the paperwork ,,,  that usually does get to be labor.“(Fred Saberhagen)
“Never stop writing because you have run out of ideas. Fill the lacunae of inspiration by tidily copying out what is already written.”(Walter Benjamin)

3. Cope with the Badness

“You don’t start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it’s good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it. That’s why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence.”(Octavia Butler)
“People have writer’s block not because they can’t write, but because they despair of writing eloquently.”(Anna Quindlen)
• “If I waited for perfection, I would never write a word.”(Margaret Atwood)
“I think writer’s block is simply the dread that you are going to write something horrible. But as a writer, I believe that if you sit down at the keys long enough, sooner or later something will come out.”(Roy Blount, Jr.)
• “Lower your standards and keep writing.”(William Stafford)

4. Establish a Routine
“I only write when I am inspired. Fortunately I am inspired at 9 o’clock every morning.”(William Faulkner)
• “And I’m a slow writer: five, six hundred words is a good day. That’s the reason it took me 20 years to write those million and a half words of the Civil War.”(Shelby Foote)
• “I write 2,000 words a day when I write. It sometimes takes three hours, it sometimes takes five.”(Nicholas Sparks)
“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.”(Barbara Kingsolver)

5. Write!
• “If you want to write, write it. That’s the first rule.”(Robert B. Parker)
• “Planning to write is not writing. Outlining—researching—talking to people about what you’re doing, none of that is writing. Writing is writing.”(E. L. Doctorow)
• “If you are a genius, you’ll make your own rules, but if not—and the odds are against it—go to your desk, no matter what your mood, face the icy challenge of the paper—write.”(J. B. Priestly)
“To write is to write is to write is to write is to write is to write is to write is to write.”(attributed to Gertrude Stein)
• “The writer’s duty is to keep on writing.”(William Styron)
• “Read a lot. Write a lot. Have fun.”(Daniel Pinkwater)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s