Monday, February 6, 2012

Writer's Block

As the definition of "writer's block" goes, I don't usually get it the way other people seem to. Or at least, not the way I hear it most often described, which seems to be I DON'T HAVE ANYTHING TO WRITE ABOUT. I've never had that problem. I always have something I could be writing. My writer's block is something more mechanical, and something emotional. It's a block between my brain and my fingers. You see, I am one of those strange people who thinks of their characters as little voices in the back of her head, and generally speaking I don't have direct control over what they're doing back there. I mean, I can try to assert something resembling control over them, but in the end they'll do what they like.

So, it's safe to say that every moment of my life, some part of my brain is dedicated to those little voices. I can be doing any number of things and those little voices will be messing around doing whatever back there. This is why I tend to have little journals and loose notes filled with scribbles through my handbag; snippets of conversations come to me and I need to keep track of them, though to be honest I lose most of these moments even if do catch them with my pen before they evaporate completely. But they're always there.

Right now I am in utter despair because I've had three days off work; it's the third day now and I've written...nothing, really. Maybe a couple of thousand words, and by my standards that's truly pathetic. I just can't concentrate. Admittedly I'm on the verge of a nervous breakdown for a variety of real-life issues you don't want to hear about, but...I don't know. When I'm this depressed I can go either way, when it comes to how much I write. I either throw myself utterly into the work and allow it to subsume my consciousness and fail to exist as a person in my own right. I just become other people because I hate myself and it's just...easier, that way. Or I just lie around staring at the ceiling unable to do anything but concentrate on how much I suck as a human being and achieve nothing. I've spent the last two days in the latter mode.

It's infuriating.

The last month or so, I've been introduced to two new characters, both of whom are fascinating and pivotal personalities. And I haven't been able to write more than a few paragraphs about either, even though they're right there waiting for me to do it. Arjit, in particular, is being extremely persuasive and is giving me his story in first person narrative -- which is not something I write very often these days. And from what little I've managed to transcribe, he's got something good to give me. What I have written, I am enjoying immensely. But I'm so messed up that I just can't write more than a couple hundred words before dissolving into paralysis and quitting completely.

So. It's eleven in the morning and I have the whole day ahead of me. I should go back to Arjit and just let him talk to me some more. He's...probably good in that respect, in that I've been horribly depressed the last two weeks and my characters vary in their attitudes towards me when I'm like this. .gifs will do the explaining for me. Because I mean, there's maybe one character who reacts like this, and is kind to me when I'm so depressed I can't even speak:

Mostly, though, this is what they do (Arjit's the second type):

...yeah. Always a concern when even the little voices in your head can't sympathise with you.

So, back to the grindstone?


  1. Yes, back to the grindstone! I've had two days of nothing, too, but mine was cos of spending time with family and friends. I just feel sooo guilty though, because I *could* have gotten up early and done some writing. But...

    1. Yeah, I'm just...not writing anything even today. I just can't do anything right, it seems. Gah.

  2. Well, I did do a blog post in advance for Wednesday. So I got *something*. But obviously that's not conducive towards finishing the novel. Everyone around me is watching the Super Bowl...

    1. I don't even have that excuse! But it is Waitangi Day here (a public holiday) so I sincerely doubt anyone else is being produtive either. It's just that I've been so unproductive in so many ways lately.

  3. As long as you do a Haka or two...