Thursday, July 8, 2010

Writers' Block and Some Other Stuff

Over the years, I've heard many writers (and writing professors) claim that writers' block doesn't exist. They claim that it is just an excuse we make for ourselves for why we're not writing. Because, of course, we should be writing every single day. And getting up at 5 AM to do it. Just like Papa Hemingway, goll darng it. (Oh, that's where my sarcasm went.)

I disagree. Sort of. (Definitely about the 5 AM part.)

I like to think of it as more of a symptom than an excuse. There's not being able to write because you have no ideas, and then there's times when you have plenty of ideas, but you just can't write them. That's what I think of as the true, real writers' block. I've found that there are two forms of it. The first is when you can't write because you're too afraid to. Fear of not being able to do it right keeps you away from the page. The second is when you just can't bring yourself to write. It's not that you don't want to write, it's that you can't muster up the will to do so. Psychologically speaking, the first could be linked to anxiety, the second to depression. Now, I know from experience that the first instance can actually be overcome by writing itself. You get going and then--hey, this isn't so bad after all. And, anyway, there's always revisions. I'm working on the hypothesis that writing itself remedies the other as well.

Well, that's a bit more personal (More personal than all that stuff about your weird Scotsman obsession, you ask.) and grim than usual, so here's a few blog and web recommendations for you.

  • First, a few updates. Kat's Divine Comedy and Hip Deep in Pie* are old blogs with new names.
  • Music, Movies, Shenanigans appears to be defunct, but some of the guys from that blog have moved on to Cinewise, a blog for film (and sometimes TV) reviews.
  • On the book front, The Haunted Bookshop now has a blog, and a friend from college runs the (un)classified library.
  • Frankasaurus is another friend from college who always has something insightful to say. Good stuff on writing, and I fully agree with her views on drunken skanks.
  • Now on to links. I suspect I may be behind the times on this one, but I discovered Eclectic Method* while helping out** with the post-production of Copyright Criminals. Not exactly legal, but some pretty amazing video mash-ups.
  • Ok, now I know I'm behind the times on this one. Lolcats* Ai r uhdikted 2 cheezburgers.
  • Like Labyrinth? The Phantom of the Opera? Pirates of the Caribbean? Les Miserables? Good Omens? Sweeny Todd? Lord of the Rings? Discworld? And many more works of fiction? Then check out Girls Next Door* (not to be confused with that Playboy thing), the ultimate in crossover fan comics. Now, normally, I don't even like to admit that I read fanfiction--um, I mean, what's a Mary Sue?--but this tongue-firmly-in-cheek comic is worth a read if you're at all familiar with the above (especially the first four). It's funny, one of the few non-cringeworthy crossovers, and meta like whoa. Note: the most recent pages are up front so go all the way to the end of the gallery for the beginning.
  • Finally, got an hour or twelve to spare? Then get yourself over to Television Tropes & Idioms*, a pop-culture wiki that does exactly what it says on the tin. Be careful. You could get lost on that site for days.
I'm sure I've left some friends' blogs and really important other stuff out, but I'm tired of having to fight the cat for control of the keyboard. ("mki dfs hyrt," she says.) Until next time, when it's back to your regularly scheduled sarcastic fan squee.

*Link to be updated on the side when I get around to it.
**OK, technically I just wrote down some time codes on the DVD, but, whatever, it looks cool on my resume.

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