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July 23rd, 2005, 07:59 PM
Only artists get writer's block. They only write art.

July 23rd, 2005, 08:52 PM
All I have to say is that you made my night. Thanks for that very insightful explaination for why the words stop and the cursor mocks.

July 23rd, 2005, 10:26 PM
Ah, thanks for stroking all of our egos...next time I'm staring at a blank screen and feeling incompetent I'll remember that it's just that je suis une artiste! :)

You are right though, sometimes to write you have to shut off at least part of your brain, as illogical as that sounds. Most of my problems with writing (or not writing) come directly from thinking over every detail of the story way too much. It's hard for me to put down something unless I'm sure that it's perfect. So instead I put down nothing, which makes all my pondering pointless.

I should listen to my own advice, because I'm always telling my husband (who draws) that good artists don't worry about each tiny line, at least not at the beginning, first they sketch out the overall picture, not worrying if it's perfect. You have to leave the little details for later.

July 24th, 2005, 01:15 AM
You're welcome.


I never choose ahead of time what to create. It happens by itself.

Stories work best when left to write themselves.

James Barclay
July 24th, 2005, 06:19 AM
Interesting point of view. I disagree. Getting writer's block does not make you an artist. It's an excuse not to write and nothing more. I don't believe in writer's block at all, as those who have read this forum a while will know. I simply do not accept that a writer can find nothing to write about.

Yeah, maybe your current priority project is giving you the hump right now... go and write about something else. It doesn't matter what. Write about the view outside your window. Anything. But please, don't encourage yourself to do nothing by convincing yourself you're being a creative thinking artist by staring at a blank screen. In my opinion, you're fooling yourself. Are you really thinking about the writing issues you face or are you getting frustrated because you aren't getting words down?

You can't sit back, shrug and say 'oh well, writer's block'. You have to find a solution or you may end up never writing anything. Even ideas take work. Every idea has a stimulus somewhere. From something you read, see, smell, touch taste...

Everyone faces difficulties when they write. Writing is a difficult thing to do. Very difficult to do well. And solutions to problems do present themselves at the oddest moments. Writing isn't all about filling the page as we know, but ultimately, a writer writes. It is hard work, takes dedication and masses of practice.

Here's an example... If I want to paint a picture of a face but I can't see how to do it, do I stare at the canvas and consider myself an artist in the process of creation, or do I sketch face after face until I work out what it is I want to represent? Which will really get me to where I want to get?

I think it's the same with writing. You can think, plan, research all you like but one day, you have to sit down and write. If you don't, you aren't a writer. Stories do not write themselves. Writers do that.


Rocket Sheep
July 24th, 2005, 08:45 AM
I get blocked in every aspect of my life including writing... but at some point I find I just have to get over myself and plod on.

One of my favourite sayings is... "Of course you don't understand it, it's ****ing ART!" But everyone knows that's a joke, I don't consider myself an artist. I don't sit around in street cafes wearing a black beret and waxing on lyrically about the avante garde or pretend that I'm gifted. I take a product and I shape it until I think it is something that will please the greatest number of customers it can. Learning to shape it correctly is a skill I had to work at and will always work at. Just because you can't think of anything to write doesn't mean you get to stop. You have to plan, to plot, to figure out the next bit, to find the blockage... and write on.

Garbage truck drivers drive garbage. Builders build. Cleaners clean. Solicitors solicit. Writers write. That's what we do. Imagine if they stopped because they thought they were creating art?

Hereford Eye
July 24th, 2005, 09:16 AM
Interesting, RS. The logical outcome as far as I can see is that writing is not art. Literature is not art. Some of it's just better than others.
But, then, I wonder about poets and painters. If they are not doing "art," if they are just waxing poetic or painting, where does art come from?
Possible answer: art is applied after the fact by folk other than the originator. The originator was just writing or painting because that - as you say - is what they do. And if that's what they do, then they do it. They write through the blahs and keep writing afterwards.
Thank you for that thought. Woke me right up this morning.

James Barclay
July 24th, 2005, 09:56 AM
Slightly off-topic I know but wondering round the Tate Modern one day, I found a piece that said, effectively 'since I am an artist, if I say something is art, then it is art.'

Can't remember who the artist was now but I do remember thinking 'pompous t@@t'.' It's a statement that takes arrogance to a whole new level...

I'm with you, HE, I think that if something is appreciated by others then it could be defined as art, whether it be a painting, pottery or whatever. I guess it depends on your definitions of art and artists, and what qualifies anyone to call themselves an artist... all interesting stuff.


July 24th, 2005, 10:22 AM
Slightly off-topic I know but wondering round the Tate Modern one day, I found a piece that said, effectively 'since I am an artist, if I say something is art, then it is art.'

My favourite piece of 'modern art' is similar to this and was at the Tate Modern. It's a glass of water on a shelf called 'An Oak Tree':


The accompanying blurb is hilarious and says a lot about the nature of what is considered art.

I think when considering yourself an artist, then you should bare this piece in mind, and ground yourself a little.

Art is all about context, so you should consider this when presenting your piece (painting, essay, novel, brick, urinal) as it actually changes the characteristics of the piece (in this case a glass of water). So an artist doesn't just make; he presents. The piece isn't complete without this final stage.

In the same way, the production of a peice of art is part of the work itself - a bit like a drama. Writers block is part of this process and thus has some baring on the piece itself. If a writer suffers from writers block, it doesn't make him an artist. Quite the opposite. If that block prevents the artist from producing and thus presenting then he isn't an artist. Just a frustrated dreamer.

If on the other hand the emotions created by the blockage eventually yield positive results then all the better, the block was part of the piece.

That was a bit of a rambling rant wasn't it. I present it to you as art.

I think I'll call it 'A Glass of Water' ;)

July 24th, 2005, 12:12 PM
Art or trash..... a very subjective subject...

I suppose writing can be equated with art in a way, because it can get obsessive. A writer sees the words in his head the artist the paint on a blank canvas. Both are then filtered through the eyes of the person reading or looking and will never, ever be the same in concept to the reader/looker as it was to the writer/painter. If an artist feels he has to explain the reasons behind his work then he does not have much confidence in his work in my opinion, same for a writer. If when writing you can't accept others will see things very different than you, then you are never going to be satisfied with any answer you get. The whole thing for me is the fact I don't know what others will think and it is wonderful to find out, even if it is very negative.

A couple of weeks ago my eldest daughter took me to a superb performance of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's play "Sunday in the park with George" The play is based around the life of Georges Seurat and one of his paintings "A sunday afternoon on the island of La Grande Jatte." It plunged deep into the subject of how creation isolates yet also connects an artist with the world around them.

For me it also touched on how much we share with our writing while at the same time how much we miss in sections of our lives,while working so hard at one thing we don't get to experience other things. That can be applied to so much in our lives. When does the choice happen? To what extent do we openly chose it? Or is it something we fall into slowly then find ourselves trapped by a choice we did not consiously make. But we can make the choice to continue, to keep trying to create, to be, is that art? I haven't got a clue.