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April 23rd, 2004, 03:20 AM
Not sure if this has been asked before (it probably has), but when you're in a rut or suffering from writer's block, what book(s) do you read or movie do you watch to "get" inspiration? I know that there are several things I watch or read when I get stuck and need help. Not for stealing ideas, necesarily, but something to make me just think. A movie that I always come back to is Fight Club, though I only watch certain scenes. Another movie that has recently made its way into my rotation is Lost In Translation. Some of those scenes in that movie just make me shiver... great stuff to watch and then simply write after that. If I find that my prose is suffering, I try to read a few scenes from Jesus' Son by Denis Johnson. The prose style in that book is so unique; reading a few short stories always inspires me. So what do you repeatedly watch/read?

April 23rd, 2004, 04:23 AM
I don't really have a writer's block (except for essays, blah), but Finding Forrester is a great, inspirational movie.

ironchef texmex
April 23rd, 2004, 08:08 AM
"I Have No Mouth and I must Scream" by Harlan Ellison

April 23rd, 2004, 12:54 PM
Interesting Question. I've been fortunate to not aquire writer's block. If I sit down, I can write. My problem has always been 'other' demands on my time that prevent me from writing. If I don't write regularly, I get into a slump. Once I start writing again, I'm out.

For motivation and to keep my edge, I like to read as much as I can and I read nearly anything. Newspapers (usually smaller rags), magazines (Omni, Popular Science, Discover, Dragon, Dungeon, and a multitude of others), online zines (I love short stories). I'm also reading any number of books at a given time as well as listening to audio books (once you listen to one, you'll be hooked). Currently I'm reading 6 different books and listening to an audio book about Jack the Ripper. I also like reading this forum.

I watch little TV. Usually Spongebob and Jimmy Neutron with my daughter and Survivor and the Apprentice with my wife. I don't have any one movie I watch over and over as I like to explore new movies and ideas (like the Butterfly Effect). I have an annoying habbit (to my friends) of finding all the inconsistencies with a movie and pointing them out. I do this in order to tighten up my prose and not leave such blaring holes.

As with my reading, I'm the same with my writing. I do it as often as possible as much as possible. I don't believe in setting limits (2000 words per day for example). I've written upwards of 20,000 in a day just because I couldn't stop. Then I've had weeks -- like this one -- where time evaporates and I have little time for stories, but I do like to keep a journal and to post here just to keep my fingers nimble and to write something.

Write daily and write as much as time permits. Don't set limits, because if you set a limit and reach it, you'll more than likely stop. If you can only write 200 words a day, do that, if you can write 20,000 words a day, do that. But don't beat yourself up with a self imposed limit you cannot reach. THIS causes frustration. Frustration causes writer's block. It causes stagnation. If you've got only 15 minutes to write, don't stress out for 10 minutes about what to write and only 5 minutes typing. Sit down and go for it. Tell yourself you've got all the time you need and you won't lose valuable time.

Reading and writing. Two of my favorite things in the world. If only I could make enough to live and only do those two things. But then that's all our dream, isn't it?

speaking of 15 minutes, this post is 500 words (about) and took 15 minutes to write. Short stories can be the same. :)

Gregg Bradley
April 23rd, 2004, 01:18 PM
i'm going through another bout of writers block myself, but I have a good excuse.

Trying to make alot of "isk's"(dollars, Euros,Yen) on a game called Eve-Online. It isn't every day you can do on a computer what you always dreamed of. Trekking, mining, fighting, sales, building, etc.

Anyway, in the past, the way I got out of writer's block was:

1. read a real good sci-fi book

2. watch a real good sci-movie

3. take a vacation

4. go on a drunk ( not recommended for under 21)

5. make a graphic of a book cover to fit the story and post it in front of your computer

6. last and best way--- Your German wife tell you, "It's just a stupid story!!"

The Germans really know how to snap you out of it....

April 24th, 2004, 02:24 PM
My problem isn't writer's block, but writer's procrastination. Still I find inspiration from many things that get the ol' juices running. Watching the Discovery channel or History Channel really provide some ideas. Reading snaps me out of my procrasting state. Sometimes just writing, it doesn't have to be coherent, helps get rid of the blockade.

Briar Flea
April 25th, 2004, 12:43 AM
I don't remember ever having writers block. I get writer's bordom. I lose interest in what I'm writing. In order to reboot I will often go back over my journals, pick an idea I had and answer the question why? as many times as possible. I guess I like to explain everthing. Works every time. Now if I could just answer why I don't seem to have time to write.


April 25th, 2004, 01:31 AM
I do suppose that a better term to use when framing the question is "writer's boredom or procrastination". It makes more sense. But still, I am very suprised at the number of people who say that they simply don't have writer's block. Myth, I guess? A word that is dressed up purely for excuse? Probably, but I'll use it anyways . :) There are many times when I'll read what I have just written and say "this is terrible!" to myself and cannot write for fear of producing crap. But I suppose that that isn't writer's block either.

April 25th, 2004, 08:12 AM
Originally posted by El_Pollo_Diablo
But still, I am very suprised at the number of people who say that they simply don't have writer's block. Myth, I guess? A word that is dressed up purely for excuse? Probably, but I'll use it anyways . :)

Several writers don't have much truck with the term writer's block, seeing it as (like you said) an excuse. One book I read advised to knuckle down and just write. I have to admit that I see his point. If you leave it, the time spent not writing builds up and up and you start doubting your ability as a writer - something I'm guilty of and trying to fix.

I'm a little concerned about your going to watch a few particular scenes from a film, or a particular book. It sounds like a retreat. You can't avoid absorbing influences, but this seems to be actively seeking them out, going back to something tried and tested.:(

Sitting around waiting for inspiration to hit strikes me as a very inefficient use of time and slightly pretentious.
Sorry if this is a little unsympathetic towards fellow writers.

April 25th, 2004, 09:29 AM
I'm pretty good at switching off the scenes of the movie that they relate to, and just letting them inspire me to write something that may be suspenseful, scary, sad, humourous, energetic etc, depending on how the music makes me feel. I don't consider the quality of my writing when I do it - I write it down because I like the feeling or the little nibble of the idea that the music provokes.