Tuesday, August 15, 2006

If you have writer's block, should you try to force it?

Every now and then, I have the incredible urge to NOT write. Like for the last few days. I was bogged down by work, and didn't have the energy to lift a pen (uh, tap into a computer.) And of course, if I haven't written, I feel guilty as sin.

Do you ever feel that way?

So - do you force it even when you don't feel like writing, even when your brain's as dry and uncreative as a wispy bone?

Some writing books advocate that you should do 1 page every day, even if you don't feel like it. You should, they say, whittle at it even when the words are forced and painful and you feel like you're writing something totally unpublishable. Honestly, I've tried that, and I realized, "Hey, writing's supposed to be my hobby. I'm supposed to enjoy it. Why am I forcing it?"

Then of course, some days, the words and ideas just fly. I would do pages and pages and even whole chapters. Some of the stories in Dark City were written in 1 day, just because I had the 'urge.' That's why these days, when I don't feel like writing, I don't force it. And when I do, I let it flow.

What's your style?

Anyway, I'm going to the MPH Writer's Circle this Saturday. Gonna meet up with Oon Yeoh, who promised to interview me for his new magazine. Anyone coming? Thought I need the camaraderie of other writers to make me snap back into effortless writing.


Ted Mahsun said...

I might come. Then can get my copy of Dark City autographed ya? hehehe...

I always feel guilty whenever I don't write. But since writing IS my job (employed to write for three years now, hooray), I don't usually feel the guilt. Especially when I have a blog and a little notebook I carry around for whenever I feel the urge to write. But whenever I'm on holiday though, like this past weekend, I do very little writing (too busy sightseeing and listening to gf instead of listening to my mind's voice for once) and that's when I really feel the immense pressure of guilt setting down on me. Brrr.

I used to make sure I wrote at least a few hundred words of fiction a day. But nowadays I just write whenever I feel like it because I do so much other "creative" writing apart from my fiction.

The Eternal Wanderer said...

Shucks, won't be coming as I'll be away for four days to Cameron Highlands for a church retreat. But I'll definitely be bringing my trusty little notebook (the actual pen and paper, not the computer kind!) along!

My writing habit seems to be pretty similar to yours, Lynette. However, I still do try to force myself to write during times when both my flesh and spirit just don't feel like coughing out the words for my fiction. I know that's not healthy but I definitely feel guilty if I don't write at least a page or two a day.

Also, when a make quite a long post on my blog, I would tend to take a day or two hiatus from posting to 'recharge' so to speak. I have other things to do in my work besides writing as I also dabble in photography as well, which explains why I don't normally have the time to write as I'm busy going out into the streets and do some random shooting!

Nevertheless, I definitely definitely have to write, otherwise, if I go to long without writing, I feel incredibly rusty and extremely lethargic.

Xeus said...

Hey Ted, look forward to meeting you. I already know what you look like :)

Eternal wanderer, actually, a page or two of fiction a day is quite a lot. I was being interviewed by the Sun today, and they were asking me about the blahs (of not feeling like writing). And I said I have them every once and then.

A blog does help to keep the writing spirit going.

Argus Lou said...

Hi, Xeus. I've a similar habit to yours. But why feel guilty since it's just a hobby? If it's to be a joy, I should only write when I've something to say and when the spirit moves me.
If I simply force a page or two, it only ends up taking up space in my laptop for no good reason or purpose.

Xeus said...

Hey Argus Lou, welcome to the blogging world. I did exactly this, you know. Went to someone's blogsite, learnt how to start my own blog and voila! A mutual friend is asking if you've written anything yet :)

Lydia Teh said...

Xeus, hem and haw... that's me. The internet is my biggest blockage! Won't be able to make it this Sat. Look forward to reading about your interview in The Sun and Oon' mag.

Xeus said...

So sweat Lydia. Be seeing you next Sun anyway!