Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Writer's Block

I've wondered if the term 'writer's block' is more harmful than useful. So many different things can cause it, that I don't know how helpful it is even to have a term for it. Oftentimes, it's a lack of imagination. Orson Scott Card says that it usually comes when we're being dishonest in our story, or to our story. I like that. I've also found that my biggest hangups happen when I'm asking the question, what should I do next. Wrong question. The question should almost always be, what should this character do next? Let the characters decide.

Writer's block can be as much about not knowing how to proceed as anything else. It's a craft, a skill, and often we are not sure how to do a thing, or we're fumbling with trying a new technique. If piano players are allowed to fumble over a new piece, and painters are able to ruin canvases and start over, why can't writers have their creative juices dry up when confronted with a tricky part of writing?

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