Saturday, April 3, 2010

Why Writer's Block? Why?

Sometimes the characters just don’t speak. Sometimes the plot just doesn’t stick. Sometimes I just don’t really know what would happen next and I am afraid to take the next step forward. Writer’s block affects us all, whether we like it or not.

Lately I’ve been affected by writer’s block and I hate to admit it to anyone really, because so many people want to know what’s going to happen next in the story.

“I’m writing it,” I would tell them, “just give me some time.” They would wait patiently, but still ask me everyday how much I’ve progressed. I see their eager eyes glisten with curiosity. I wish I could fulfill their needs but sometimes I just can’t concentrate on the story.

I find myself pushing aside the writing and taking a brisk walk across the neighborhood to get my mind going. As I walk down the streets, the trees quake from the hurling winds. The children laugh as they hold their parents’ hands. The dogs bark as I cross the street for fear of me being a stranger.

Step by step, I realize that I am not in search of a plot point or a story, but outside looking for the character. Where did he/she/it go? Why won’t they talk? I walk these aimless streets in circles to find those who would not speak, those who would not call back when I called for them.

“Olly olly oxen free!”

I go on to do other things after the walk, besides writing. I read. I draw. I play the piano. I do homework. I do some chores. Time passes by slowly as I do the most important thing of all: I wait.

I wait for the writer’s block to crack and have the character’s talk to me again. I know some of you, readers, probably don’t believe me about my characters. I know also that you probably think I’m some sort of schizophrenic, but all I really have is a strong imagination. But even my imagination gets turned off sometimes like a light switch. Now, I am in the dark in search of turning that switch back on, so I could see the culprit.

When I finally turn the switch back on by waiting the writer’s block out and not by forcing myself, that’s when I can face those eager eyes. I can face the blinking cursor and the blank page that needs to be filled. I can face the world (in reality and in the story) again with someone by my side. The characters are there, but they are just hiding.

Why are they hiding?

They are hiding because they are scared of the next step, they don’t want the story to finish. They don’t want to leave just yet. They turn off the switch and wait there in the dark for a few days, because they are scared of the ending. They are scared of the ending much like we, people, are scared of death. Once a reader is done with a story, some of them tell me, “It’s like you lose a friend when you’re done.” And that could be said about any story and about any book.

I created a universe though that ties in all those books, which I’ve written, together. The reader would see all those old friends that they lost for one more time, for one more fight, against the biggest enemy/obstacle ever. And they’ll face it together with all the other characters, with the readers, with me, and with you.


Anonymous said...

the good thing about a blog is that when u have writer's block u can write about having it...


Vatche said...

This is true! Thanks for the comment, Rafi.

Paul L. Martin said...

I have read a lot about this subject, Vatche, and I find writers' words very interesting. For journalists, there is no writer's block. The magazine or newspaper must be published on time; the website must be updated. Those writers just write through it. Fiction writers with deadlines also must keep going. Some find exercise beneficial, as you did. Many have little rituals and superstitions. The main theme of everything I have read about writer's block is to keep writing. We cannot go back, but instead, must keep moving forward, even if what we write while blocked must eventually wind up in the trash.

Keep on keeping on. This, too, shall pass.

Enjoy your break and do not forget to review for the AP.

Vatche said...

Thank you, Mr. Martin, for the information. With writer's block sometimes I occasionally stop and take a breather, but at times I try writing it out, as well. I will keep on going, no matter what. And don't worry I'm reviewing the AP with the Kaplan Review book everyday. Thanks for commenting. Enjoy your break, too!

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