Thursday, April 13, 2006

Writer's block

Do people writing non-fiction get writer's block? Well, I've got it anyway. It's all to do with being overwhelmed by the task, lack of confidence, and nastily, at the root of it, I don't actually want to do it anyway. Ouch! I have had to admit I am no longer interested in doing even these slightly less offensive, more academic small reports. Nothing less than a comprehensive synthesis of the material will do now, and that would require lottery-winning proportions of money to produce. Unfortunately, I was asked to quote for another small report recently too. Which I did, but on the bright side, I whacked in a huge (for me) figure and put stringent instructions on the quote should there be more material than they said I'll have to be paid for it. Hopefully, it won't come to pass - between lack of funding, and an off-putting quote, it may not come back to haunt me.

Meanwhile, I continue to do small chunks, finding it very hard because I have no interest in doing it. Any problems encountered cause me to walk away, and find something more interesting to do (like read a nice novel - current one being Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince). It can be a couple of days (and much support from the dp) before I find the courage to return to the report after any of those episodes. I'm lucky, so far, in that the client hasn't chased me for it :-)

5 Comments:

At 6:28 pm BST, Blogger Sarah said...

Absolutely - I only ever write nonfiction, and writer's block happens on occasion. Normally for the same reasons as you gave! I have been avoiding working on one particular article for a couple months now, mostly because I discovered I don't care much for the style of the author I'm writing about. But I have a deadline, so I'll persevere.

 
At 8:07 pm BST, Blogger Alex Bordessa said...

Deadlines are good to have - as long as they're absolute. I have a very strong suspicion that they won't have got the other specialists' report in as other stuff was going to people I know will be slow, which is why I let mine drift. And I used to be so reliable ... That's one of the ways I know I've had it with this stuff.

Good luck with the author article!

 
At 3:00 pm BST, Blogger Sarah said...

It's easy to procrastinate when you're working on a group project of some kind, and are used to waiting on other people. I know that all too well.

And thanks. With this one, I need all the luck I can get!

 
At 4:08 pm BST, Blogger Diane said...

Acccording to Christine Hall, English is the only language that has an expression "writer's block". Does that mean it doesn't exist in other non-English speaking countries? Also, newspaper and magazine staff wouldn't get very far if they had writer's block.

As Alex knows, I don't really believe in writer's block. I think that things stop us from being creative, but if we sat down to write a letter or an email or a shopping list, we'd soon get that writing muscle going again.

I'm feeling much better, ta, after a day and a half in bed. ;o)

 
At 4:25 pm BST, Blogger Alex Bordessa said...

I don't think there's such an airy thing as writers' block either. It's more the description of a collection of reasons that's stopping me (or anyone) write. And mostly (always?) it's all in the mind. In this case, I don't think the writing has anything to do with being creative either (it being nf and more a matter of having the confidence to compile stuff in the right order), which makes the symptoms doubley all to obvious. It sounds jolly luvvie to have 'writers' block', though :-)

Glad you're feeling better, Diane, but don't over do it ... ;-)

 

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