You can plead with Saint Isidore (Archbishop) of Seville, 560-636, invoked against creatix sterilitas (writer's block).

Writing a story is not inherently difficultpeople say that they don’t get ideas, don’t have ideas, but the fact is – they’re wrong. All you need to do to write a story is to get it started. Once you have an opening, the rest follows suitthe human mind is a wonderful thing in this respect.

Once you have the scaffolding worked out, you can go back and trim. You can cut, add, and do as much or little to the story as you want – one of the great assets writing has over sculpture. Come to think of it, you don’t really even need a good opening – your opening will probably change by the time you’ve finished with the story. No, writer’s block is largely a function of our society’s deep inner need to go from left to right.

Writers block exists -- though not necessarily in getting started. You may have your characters your beginning and your end but have no idea how to get to there from here.

I have a theory that most plot holes are caused by writers block. The author writes themself into a postition they don't know the way out of, then simply ignores the fact and takes the story where they wanted it to go even if it doesn't make sense.

I've been waiting for a long time. Behind and between and around everything that you ever wanted to express I have lived forever. The one day, the one moment when you need it most, your inherent beautiful creativity, I step forward and dash your hopes. Like a vice I exist only to preclude, to occlude, to destroy. Nothing but oblivion will come to you. But it slips, it slides away. My control wanes and I am defeated. The spring of creativity moves forward again, eternal. I step back, I bide my time. Once again, I am dormant. Until the next time.

I am writer's block.

The only thing to do is to read. Keep reading. Just wander around randomly, gobble it all up, and chew on it. Roll it all around in whatever that thing is between your ears. I've got one too (albeit dysfunctional): There's no shame in it. We've all got one. Sooner or later something will reach out of the fog and grab you. If it refuses to let go, you're all set. It might be the name of some loathsome popkultur monstrosity in Random Nodes, which reminds you of a song he sang; all of that may sit there and ferment for an hour, and suddenly burst forth into something genuinely weird.

Or it might be a line about tree sap in a Webster 1913 entry, which for some reason reminds you of the Faroes or some place like that. Or it might be something else entirely. The thing is to keep your eyes open and don't worry about it. Something which needs to be written is looking for you. Be there to let it in.

Writers block often visits me in these middle days of spring. Sitting at my desk with the instruments of my trade at hand, I stare out the open window letting my mind wander and scamper about with nesting birds and skipping squirrels. Through the open window I can smell the rich loamy after effects of a sweet morning rain. It's difficult to think of anything except the wonders of nature at a time like this, this time when writers block so often visits. I keep it on my desk next to the mallard decoy I received as a gift from my niece. I learned early on that its hard corners easily scratched the delicate wood of my desktop. At first I simply set it on a book or a stack of completed manuscript, but often as not it would fall over and eventually scar the aged pine. It was just last year that I started keeping it in a Crown Royal bag. The soft purple bag was just the right size to hold my writers block and prevented any unsightly furniture damage. These days of spring when it gets me the worst I keep it close so that I can softly stroke the supple purple fabric in one hand and absently twirl my pen in the other. I sit in my chair and wait. I watch the squirrels. I smell the earth. I listen to traffic go by. I rarely get any productive writing done in these days of spring. I wait, I watch, and I think. All the time, my block is with me, and the next time those punk kids try to toilet paper my tree, I'll be ready for them. Right out the front window from my old office chair, I'll bludgeon one of those trespassing little bastards with my writer’s block. If you don't think I won't, you’re welcome to sit on the sofa next to me, and wait, in these days of spring.
need to                   commit
                          this to paper
pressure                  running
                          through me
subconciously             I am eloquent
                          a poet laureate
hands                     don't move
cannot                    concede defeat
                          quit now?
pushing                   on the tip
                          of my tongue
drink                     eat
                          anything but this
but                       it still
                          won't flow

"There is no such thing as writer's block for writers whose standards are low enough."

That’s a little quote from somebody named William Stafford, an American poet. He offered up that little pearl of wisdom to a bunch of other budding poets who were having trouble getting started.

So what does it mean? Does it mean that I should have no standards and just write crap or does it mean that I should raise my standards and that maybe writer’s block is, from time to time, a good thing? As far as I'm concerned, I’m going with the good thing.

Look. most of us have probably been there more than a couple of times throughout our little foray into the world of writing. You sit there staring at a blank piece of paper or a monitor and the words, for whatever reason, just won’t come. Oh, maybe they dance and swirl around inside your head but for some God forsaken reason, when you commit them to paper, they just don’t sound like you intended them to. Pencils or pens are thrown down in disgust, papers are wadded into little balls and thrown in the direction of the omnipresent trash can and the delete button is only a click or two away.

So what’s holding you back?

Maybe it’s that little voice in your head that whispers to you that you really have nothing much to say. Maybe you’re afraid of actually letting somebody else read and criticize your work. Maybe you flash back in time to your third grade English class and the time you had to stand up in front of a bunch of people and recite the inevitable “What I Did on My Summer Vacation” and everybody in the room laughed. I mean, there you were, pouring your heart and soul out, maybe professing for the first time in public your first crush or rehashing the details of your little trip to Disneyworld or wherever and nobody seemed to give a shit. Maybe that was enough to cause you to say “Fuck this, that ain’t ever happening again.” Or maybe, just maybe, that little event lit a fire in you that needs to be re-kindled every now and then.

Where to start?

Well, if studies are to be believed then it’s usually in the beginning. Now, I don’t know how many studies have been conducted or who in their right mind would want to pay for such research, but it makes sense to me. So, if you cant find the beginning, what’s the alternative?

For starters, you could begin in the middle or the end and work yourself backwards. When you’re finally ready to post or publish that sucker, do you really think anybody is going to know that the inspiration for the introduction was the last thing to pop into your head?

Some tips for getting it down

Okay, your voice is crying to be heard but the feelings and the flow of words that you’re looking to express is lodged somewhere between your brain and the blank sheet of whatever that’s staring back at you. A tough place indeed but here are some things you might do to free them from their perceived prison.

    Try talking to an inanimate object. Yeah, I know that sounds nutty, especially if you live with somebody else or have pets but sometimes it works. After all, if it can’t talk back to you, it can’t criticize you either. You might get some strange looks from Fido though.
    Start with something easy. Words, if they’re written well, have a tendency to flow and most of the mightiest rivers in the world start out as a mere trickle. Once they begin heading downstream, they’ll pick up pace and rhythm.
    Ever hear of free style writing? Just start banging away on the keyboard or scribbling away on the paper. Disregard punctuation, spelling and grammatical errors that would normally make you winch like you were stuck with a needle and get those hands and thoughts moving.
    Get out of the house. Go talk a walk, bullshit with your neighbors, go to the grocery store, talk to a squirrel or scream at the sky. You’d be surprised what a cleansing effect the fresh air would have on you and it’s got to be better scenery than an ashtray full of cigarette butts or the clutter that adorns your desk.
    Take a shower or a bath. That’s right, if you’ve been sweating out a particularly tough passage for hours and hours, you’re probably starting to stink. Chances are, your writing might take on the same aroma. Just as in life, there’s nothing wrong with a clean start every now and then.
    Use another voice. Try and see the world or the topic you’re trying to describe through a different set of eyeballs. Take on a new perspective.
    Don’t be so freakin’ hard on yourself. Rome wasn’t built in a day ya know. I know that’s probably easier said than done but if you aren’t subject to deadlines, the world can and will wait for awhile.
    Call a time out every now and then. I know that’s tough to do, especially when the words are tumbling out and the paper is grabbing at them like they were meant to be there but you’d be surprised what good things can happen if you walk away for a bit.
    Write some shit. Yep, there, I went and said it. At least it’s something and shit has to be cleaned up or flushed. If you expect your first draft to be a masterpiece, you’ve set your expectations way too high.
    Go have a cocktail or two. Or ten. Booze often has a liberating effect (or so I’m told) and maybe it will help calm your nerves. Jot down some notes if you have a nice buzz on and try to put some thoughts around them when you’ve sobered up.

There you have it folks. Naturally there are probably thousands of other ways for you to break the ties that bind you. From personal experience, these were just a couple that I found worked for me.

To me, writing is a voyage of discovery. You have a voice, you have an audience and even though they might be a tough one to please at times, they have your best interests at heart.

Go discover.

Seek altered space (And not just the chemical sort). Crack an unusual book. Read a book backwards.

Challenge your assumptions. Challenge your worldview; break it down everything you've ever known or assumed or taken as fact and chuck it flaming from the nearest window.

Experience something unusual. Throw yourself into situations that may be life threatening, if not only strange and totally without prior context or subtext. Make music out of anything; DJ with your toaster, your washer, your bicycle, your shoes.

Develop and experiment with strange fetishes; Make a fetish of or make fetishes of uncommon things. Sexualize a tree, a rock, a blade of grass, a pile of excrement, a housefly. View flowers and fruit as sexual organs and then fantasize about them. Masturbate with something unusual. Insert strange objects into various holes in your body. Make new holes in your body. Experience real physical pain and turn it into pleasure with the power of your mind. Have a good friend or lover expose you to unusual textures or sensations.

Practice personal and interpersonal celibacy to the verge of insanity, then masturbate or copulate to orgasm as many times as possible in a 24 hour period. Use methods of physical restraint like locking/binding/restraint devices, or physical barriers like plaster casts if desired. Then push yourself into a rictus of transcendental hedonism, push yourself through any preconceived barriers of orgiastic limitations.

Wear your lover's clothes. Wear no clothes. Go about your normal public day in something you would never normally wear. Convince a perfect stranger to trade clothes with you in public. Invent an elaborate, functional costume for an unearthly fictional character, complete with fictional religion, taboos, habits, tools, beliefs and artifacts. Bonus points for invented languages and literature - especially if they bear no resemblance at all to any form of written or spoken earthly language.

Try new foods. Try new foods with other new foods mixed together in entirely improbable combinations. Eat the inedible. Taste your own excrement. Taste your own blood.

Make a silicon mold of your face or genitals, then cook a very realistic jello salad in it, and then eat it.

Challenge a complete stranger to a pointless argument. Take the opposite side in the argument that you would normally.

Spend the day "blind", blindfolding yourself. Spend the day "deaf" and keep the strongest earplugs that you can find all day. Hold a mirror under your nose and pretend to walk around the house on the ceiling, then step outside into the open sky. Put your shoes on the wrong feet. Put your underwear on backwards. Talk to bugs. Spend the day as one.

Invent and practice strange rituals or meditations that have meaning to no one but yourself. Fingerpaint. On your body. With pudding. Light something on fire. Light something meaningful to you on fire. Light a candle and then attempt to eat it. Take a long walk somewhere you've never been before. Ride the bus, subway, or train somewhere you've never been before. Walk into a traditional and fine restaurant of a completely alien and foreign ethnicity and ask for the house special. Get drunk with someone that doesn't speak your language. Refrain from linguistically/symbolically communicating for an hour, a week, a month.

Take a twenty-pound sledgehammer and vigorously and fanatically wield it against your confining ten-pound mold, your five-pound rut and smash the ever loving shit out of it, lovingly.

This is specifically to help those struggling with writer's block during NaNoWriMo:

Help! I'm Stuck at 10K Words!

First of all, don't panic. Ten thousand words is nothing to sneeze at and you're well on your way towards a complete novel. In fact, congratulations are in order.

Normally when my brain stops sending typing instructions to my fingertips it's because there is something it's still working on. Some piece of information is missing like what comes next or what should the main character do now that she's up to her neck in quicksand.

Here are some techniques I use to get through "writer's block":

Time Travel

Pick a different chapter of your novel and start writing. If your protagonist is in quicksand now, you know she'll get out somehow and get to the town of Quadloon because she has to confront Prince Evilson. Feel free to leave her hanging (don't worry, she won't mind) and just jump to where she walks into Quadloon. Continue the story from that point. Eventually your brain will come up with some fantastic bridge between the two points and you can go back and fill that section in.

Dimension Travel

Can't figure out anything that is supposed to happen to your hapless characters without getting her out of that quicksand? Are you a dedicated pantser and have to let the characters dictate what happens next? That's certainly one of the perils of not planning anything out at all.

There's nothing in the rules that says you have to work on one novel at a time. If you had another idea for a novel in your head, go ahead and start writing that one. It would be best if it was a different genre, but work with what your brain hands you. Even if you get stuck at ten thousand words with the second novel, you can start three more and hit your 50K goal. Perfectly legal and valid to do so! The idea is to get you in the habit of writing.

Form Travel

You can always switch out to writing short stories during NaNoWriMo. Indeed, ending up with ten 5K stories should up your odds to getting one or more published after a bit of polish. Even getting half a novel and five or six short stories should add up to your goal. 

If you're a student and you're going to have a research paper due in December, get to work on it now and kill two birds with one stone. Turn something in early and shock your instructor and have it count for your output. That's a win-win!

Iron Noder 2017

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