Jim A.

Writer's "block"

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I've often wondered about the term, "writer's block".

What is meant by this phrase? What--precisely and specifically--gets "blocked"? a feeling? an idea about a logical next step in a plot? the premise behind the story? What?

One theory I have is that, when you get down to it, the block happens when the writer is subconsciously trying to do two (or more) things at once which cancel each other out. He or she is trying to satisfy at least two purposes in a scene, say, with a character or an event. It seems to me that when a writer is at that point, he should refer back to the theme of the work (and maybe the plot-theme) in order to decide what to do. The theme is what the writer uses as his or her standard of judgment regarding choices of events, characters' actions, wording, etc. The theme is the integrator of the work.

Thoughts?

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I've often wondered about the term, "writer's block".

What is meant by this phrase? What--precisely and specifically--gets "blocked"? a feeling? an idea about a logical next step in a plot? the premise behind the story? What?

Any or all of the above. What is blocked, essentially, is the automatic functioning of the subconscious. The flow of ideas and the integrative function of the subconscious are blocked.

One theory I have is that, when you get down to it, the block happens when the writer is subconsciously trying to do two (or more) things at once which cancel each other out. He or she is trying to satisfy at least two purposes in a scene, say, with a character or an event.

It is fine to have many goals when writing as long as they are clearly defined and can serve has standing orders to the subconscious. The most common causes of writer's block is giving your subconscious contradictory or poorly-defined, unclear standing orders.

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I've often wondered about the term, "writer's block". What is meant by this phrase? What--precisely and specifically--gets "blocked"? a feeling? an idea about a logical next step in a plot? the premise behind the story? What?

You should read about what Ayn Rand called "the squirms", based on her lectures on writing both non fiction and fiction. She gives good explanations of the complex role of the subconscious in connection with conscious knowledge and how to use it effectively. 'Writer's block' affects the functioning of the subconscious.

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