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 Posted: Mon Feb 4th, 2008 01:55 am
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elizabethjs
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Hello!

I'm new to this forum and I'm extremely frustrated because I have not written anything (other than a few short personal essays) in MONTHS.  Last September I edited my latest play, and got it to a point where I don't think I can do anything more with it until I hear it outloud.  I submitted it to a contest that I, admittedly, have little chance of winning, but my search for a staged reading or something of that sort was interrupted by my advancing pregnancy!  During my pregnancy, I made lots of excuses not to write, such as I was tired, or felt sick, which were somewhat legitimate because I had developed pregnancy anemia.  Well, my son was born a month ago, and he is adorable, but I still haven't gone back to writing!  All I really want to do between changing diapers, feeding him, and consoling him, is either watch tv (which is becoming decreasingly entertaining as my favorite shows' original episodes decline), or bake cakes.  To my credit, my cakes turn out quite delicious, but I would really love to get my creative spirit back!  The only small step I have taken toward this is reading to my son...we just finished The Old Man and the Sea.  Yesterday I went through my computer and read several unfinished pieces of writing, which I was somewhat surprised to find were better than I remembered them being.  Even so, I haven't since found the motivation to finish them, or to start writing anything new.  I desperately want to start writing, for the sake of saving my intellect, but also to draw in some extra income since I can't work outside the home at the moment.  Anybody have any tips on how to get over this writer's block, stop making excuses, and get to writing while balancing  my new mommy duties?

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 Posted: Mon Feb 4th, 2008 07:19 pm
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Shanahan
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I think that one of the biggest mistakes people make when they're facing writer's block is to decide that they need to cannonball back into the deep end of the pool--as if that's the only way. So they decide that breaking writer's block is all about one day just ripping out four, five pages.

Writer's block is a wall. And like any wall, it weakens under the slightest chipping. You say you have several plays unfinished? (Boy, does that sound familiar!) Open them all at once. Then start poking through. See what small things you can do--change a sentence here, delete a line there. Every edit, no matter how small, is forward motion. If you feel a bit of momentum, see where it takes you--but stop as soon as you feel blocked again. Walk away and be content with what you've managed on that outing. This will get you thinking again...Because I did this, then that has to happen next... Don't waste time on pieces that don't have some immediate thought to them. Move to the next one. And stop when it becomes work.

Your job right now is not to blow out a wall and start to rebuild the place. Your job is to tap around, find the weak spots, the tiny cracks, and see if you can start to weaken the wall, just a bit at a time. Sooner or later you'll find a critical juncture, the wall will collapse around you and you'll see the possibilities on the other side. Then write like mad. :-)

Two cents, firmly banked.
..js..

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 Posted: Wed Feb 6th, 2008 05:33 pm
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muncy
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Wise words Shanahan. I haven't written anything myself for six weeks, though I did complete two full length plays in the three months prior to that. I have been very, very busy lately but now that I do have a bit of time I'm feeling a distinct lack of inspiration. I think your suggestion to re-visit uncompleted pieces is an excellent one and something that I will take up forthwith.

Cheers.

David

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 Posted: Wed Feb 6th, 2008 05:46 pm
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Paddy
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Nice, Shanahan.

Elizabeth, forget the writing.  You have a play you need to hear, then hear it.  Get some friends, ply them with wine, and have your own reading.  I'd recomend this to anyone before sending a play out.

I'm very sure that you will have something to write about after the reading.

Paddy

PS...coax them with wine, ply them 'after' the reading during the feedback....chocolate is nice too.

Last edited on Wed Feb 6th, 2008 05:47 pm by Paddy

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 Posted: Wed Feb 6th, 2008 10:50 pm
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EJT
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I put together my own readings a couple times a year.  It works wonders!  I've also taken to recording them, then listening to the whole thing again later.  Sometimes you need a little extra separation.

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 Posted: Tue Mar 4th, 2008 09:45 pm
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Will Kemp
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Hi Elizabeth,

  Had you thought about trying to write about your PRESENT  state of mind -- the conflict between wanting to write and being trapped in a state of mind where you merely exist.   Write a monologue for someone in your present situation? 

  This is an interesting post.  I am new to this site too, but I joined after I overcame writers' block(s).  I kept journals and collected playwriting ideas for a long time.  However, I did not really get into it until I quit work to write and spent a whole year at it.  I was only able to do that because a university condemned My house and forced me to sell, which gave me enough money to buy another house plus write. Taking a year off to write is something that Marsha Norman did, and she said it was the best thing she ever did for herself, or something to that effect. Do you feel physically like writing now, when the baby sleeps etc.?  If so, you should take advantage of this time.  Are you avoiding any conflicts?  That could cause writer's block.

Kemp 

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 Posted: Tue Mar 4th, 2008 09:46 pm
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Will Kemp
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Hi Elizabeth,

  Had you thought about trying to write about your PRESENT  state of mind -- the conflict between wanting to write and being trapped in a state of mind where you merely exist.   Write a monologue for someone in your present situation? 

  This is an interesting post.  I am new to this site too, but I joined after I overcame writers' block(s).  I kept journals and collected playwriting ideas for a long time.  However, I did not really get into it until I quit work to write and spent a whole year at it.  I was only able to do that because a university condemned My house and forced me to sell, which gave me enough money to buy another house plus write. Taking a year off to write is something that Marsha Norman did, and she said it was the best thing she ever did for herself, or something to that effect. Do you feel physically like writing now, when the baby sleeps etc.?  If so, you should take advantage of this time.  Are you avoiding any conflicts?  That could cause writer's block.

Kemp 

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