Stat

 Membership What is Writer's Block?

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6 hours ago, Stat said:

@Icewolf (I can't tag on mobile?)

 

You can but you need a space before the @ symbol. It’s intentional so that the tag box doesn’t com up if you are posting an email or something. I tag from mobile all the time @Stat (in fact this is a mobile post)

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I feel like a really good question here is why are we all speaking as if our partners owe us a more in-depth explanation than "I have writer's block/lack of muse right now"? That "excuse", whether you believe it's valid or not, tells you that they aren't into writing at the moment, which is communication, which is the real point. If they aren't aware themselves of the "deeper reasons" or they aren't willing to share what those reasons might be doesn't make that communication less valid.

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I would say the problem with a reason and the 'lack of muse' (note: I'm talking mostly for experience) is that a reason can and usually is fixed. Sometimes I won't post because I'm tired or not feeling well. That gives my partners the expectation that once I rest or start feeling better, they can expect a post, and I can just chat around without having to avoid people because 'have I gotten my muse back yet?'. 

 

That, and, in my personal experience, those players who claim lack of muse are the same players who stall a plot for months and then get mad or throw a fit that they have been left behind, because it's not their fault, it's their muse.

 

Personally, yes, I do have moments when I don't feel like posting, I'm not a machine. My reasons are mostly the ones everyone stated above. A lack of OOC communication when my partner isn't posting usually kills my interest after a while too. I don't need the details on why they're not posting, but if I can't even get a 'hey, I'm still here' once a month or so, I'll end up drifting away.

 

As for the people affected indirectly by it, I would suggest setting a personal deadline, to prevent anxiety and you waiting forever for someone else to get their muse back. Either set it silently or share it with your future partners, so they know that you need a post every (insert time here).

 

Because, as everything in the roleplay world, communication is also key here.

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All I have to say is if you try to guilt me into writing when I don't want, I will cut you. If you try to tell me I'm just being lazy because I don't want to write, I will cut you. It's not my job to make you feel better about me not wanting to write. Pancakes is not wrong, it doesn't matter if it's a "lack of muse" or a writer's block, your partner is under no obligation to go further than "I don't feel like writing" or "Hey sorry, I have a block I'm working through". I say this without prejudice because I recently went through a writer's block for various personal reasons, my hobby was effected. My school work was effected by it. I'm lucky that the majority of the people I write with are wonderful and don't require me to hold their hands and pat their back and make them feel better when I already feel like shit. Sith is also not wrong. They are both valid and real things, too damn bad if you don't like it, they happen and the only thing you can do is suck it up and roll with it. 

Edited by jenneral_jennson
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Yeah. I don't understand this strange sense of entitlement to an explanation of exactly why someone is not writing for you. Because that is what the main beef is, right? They aren't writing something for you. No one likes their stories to stall, but it is a creative hobby, and the person on the other side of the screen is a person. Forgetting that will kill rp faster than anything else. There are millions upon millions of reasons for not writing. From emotional to physical, and we all need to be understanding of this. A heads up is great, however they word it. But demanding an in depth analysis or an exact reason is just outrageous.

 

Maybe they don't want to tell you, and that is their right. Sometimes you might not want the answer.

 

Is it a continuous problem that makes this person nearly impossible to rp with? Then it is time for a frank conversation and an evaluation. Are they the right rp partner for you? Maybe they aren't and you need to part ways. That is okay. It is okay to break up with writing partners. It is okay to talk about these things in a manner that isn't accusatory or ugly. Sometimes I am sitting on replies for over a month and I just don't realize it has been that long because time flies. Sometimes I am slow or fast in replying. Talking about that with me is fine. As long as you do it respectfully. I have had people approach me, framing it as them being "worried about you as a friend" but they weren't worried about me they were upset I was not writing back to them as quickly as they liked. They were worried about themselves and their own fun.

 

Needless to say, I do not view this person as my friend any longer. And I am less inclined to write with them in the future. If they had been honest about their feelings in the first place, it would have been fine and I would have been much more understanding. Instead they lied. Pretending concern about me because their feelings were hurt and their expectations not met.

 

Asking what's up is fine. And we could all take a look at why we aren't writing, especially if we are constantly putting it off for whatever reason. But we also need to stop and think when we are getting upset with people for not replying. And take a look at our expectations and how we are approaching these people who are supposed to be our friends.

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I confess, I used to hate the term 'muse' but look how much influence this word alone has in our language. It is beautiful. So, I'm going to rip apart this question and have fun doing it. This might become an incoherent essay because I'm gonna go at this free style.

What is Muse?

Hi. Meet Muse. Muse has been around since the 12th to 14th century. Muse was the protector of arts and the inspiring goddess; actually, Muse was the nine daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne. That's just in the noun form. The verb form is: "to reflect, to be absorbed in thought," mid-14c., from Old French muser (12c.) "to ponder, dream, wonder; loiter, waste time," literally "to stand with one's nose in the air" (or, possibly, "to sniff about" like a dog who has lost the scent), from muse "muzzle," from Gallo-Roman *musa "snout," of unknown origin. Thank you for introducing us, etymonline.

All that above? You can't lose that. Your brain, even when you go into exhaustion, whirs silently in the background. You process things subconsciously, you dream and contemplate things to the forefront. You can miss sight of Muse, but it is there. Theoretically, forcing something like that to the fore can cause strain which is why there are mental exercises for stuff like this. Warm it up before you break something. Same for warming up vocal cords for singing, if you want a half-assed analogy.

Now, check out its influence and look at the words. Amuse, music, museum, bemuse, muzzle, and musette. It also has some influence or is influenced by in words like saunter, phrase, study, mouse, and mouth. Everything to do with the cerebral cortex and limbic system down to your legs, mouth, and hands. I imagine this is a large portion of why exercise and mental health goes hand in hand. Muse is nothing without physical motion of some sort. From history all the way down to now, to this little corner of RP community, "Muse" is a big fucking deal. Nice to meet you, Muse. Okay, everybody, moving on.

Okay, So What Is Writer's Block?

Excellent question. Writer's block has been simplified down to terms of resistance and laziness. That, my friends, is a mistake. I mean, it isn't wrong. It isn't right. But it's a mistake to choose to look at those two terms as the whole damn answer. Of course we're lazy. Of course we're coasting. Of course we're going to lose interest and dive in another direction to wherever "the muse takes us". People feel like there's an obligation to pin down exact reasons besides Writer's Block -- without looking at what Writer's Block itself actually could be and without realising that they're not entitled to other people's personal reasons. For the latter, I say, fuck you. :)

So, where to start with this. Back to the question, I suppose. I'm going to quote parts of the original post here.
 

On 2/12/2018 at 5:57 PM, Stat said:

 

@KainZilla 's post in this thread got me thinking about this, specifically this quote:


"Writers like coming up with terms, so we invented a whole new one for 'procrastination,' even though we didn't need to."  Writing is the only task where people think putting off doing it is an essential, even noble, part of the process. Nobody has ever died because their doctor had surgeon's block. Adolescents aren't starving to death in the halls of their school because the cafeteria team has cafeteria team's block. Imagine complaining to your boss about burger flipper's block.


So, we're equating writing with flipping burgers (which can become a mindless task) and surgery (which requires more than one brain working together, as well as use of electronics, sharp implements, and frequent mental health checks). That's rather flippant. Do you think doctors didn't have a block when they were writing their theses before getting their degrees? Or that they didn't fail a time or two before getting their shit together? Or that they haven't made fatal mistakes? Mm. They're only human, after all, as much as I have great respect for their practises. You're basically saying that we are OBLIGATED to write for the good of mankind -- in a RP convo thread. :/ What? Can't help on the PhD, though, that's a personal quest that I have no experience in.

There is nothing inherently noble about writing, when it processes so much use of ego, fantasies, and narrow lens on people's grasp of their world around them. It's useful, yes. It's a big part of community and culture influence, yes. It helps with critical thinking, broadening understanding, all of that. I totally get it, but where does nobility and obligation enter into that? Find some fucking humility first. Check it, too: Roleplaying is a very social activity. It's not just writing or moving a plot around or gaming, it's a social activity. You require other brains to make this fun. FUN. Is that an alien concept? The minute someone starts bitching, it's less fun.

Now that we've established that roleplaying is a social activity that requires little obligation, little nobility, little funds, and should not take food from your mouth when you fail. . . Let's explore a little concept of Writer's Block.

For this, I am whipping out our handy, dandy. . . WIKIPEDIA! I know, it's lame, but this isn't a PhD essay. Bear with me, I've already run on long enough as it is. I'm going to just throw around quotes at this point that I thought were relevant to the conversation.
 

Quote

Professionals who have struggled with the affliction include authors such as F. Scott Fitzgerald[2] and Joseph Mitchell,[3] comic strip cartoonist Charles M. Schulz,[4] Russian composer Sergei Rachmaninoff,[5] and British songwriter Adele.[6] Research concerning this topic was done in the late 1970s and 1980s. During this time, researchers were influenced by the Process and Post-Process movements, and therefore focused specifically on the writer's processes. The condition was first described in 1947 by psychoanalyst Edmund Bergler.[7] However, some great writers may have already suffered from writer’s block years before Bergler described it, such as Herman Melville, who quit writing novels a few years after writing Moby-Dick.[8]


Holy shit, history again. AND LOOK AT THAT. Famous authors got the affliction. Damn. How can us lower beings deal if they had it? But wait a minute. . . what caused all that shit?
 

Quote

Writer's block may have several causes. Some are creative problems that originate within an author's work itself. A writer may run out of inspiration, or be distracted by other events. 

. . .

Other blocks may be produced by adverse circumstances in a writer's life or career: physical illness, depression, the end of a relationship, financial pressures, or a sense of failure.[citation needed] The pressure to produce work may in itself contribute to writer's block, especially if they are compelled to work in ways that are against their natural inclination (i.e. with a deadline or an unsuitable style or genre).


Huh, okay. Interesting. Yes, yes, I see now.
 

Quote

It has been suggested that writer's block is more than just a mentality. Under stress, a human brain will "shift control from the cerebral cortex to the limbic system".[11] The limbic system is associated with the instinctual processes, such as "fight or flight" response; and behavior that is based on "deeply engrained training". The limited input from the cerebral cortex hinders a person's creative processes, which are replaced by the behaviors associated with the limbic system. The person is often unaware of the change, which may lead them to believe they are creatively "blocked".[11] In her 2004 book The Midnight Disease: The Drive to Write, Writer's Block, and the Creative Brain (ISBN 9780618230655), the writer and neurologist Alice W. Flaherty has argued that literary creativity is a function of specific areas of the brain, and that block may be the result of brain activity being disrupted in those areas.[12]


Eureka! This is something that came to my mind. Brain fatigue -- I get this from merely interacting five minutes with two or three people in a group. So, what else can cause issues? Oooh. STRESS. Yes. Oh fuck no, I just remembered. Psychologists have something that causes them to be unable to analyse something, right? Doctors even have fatigues and training slip from memory. But, listen, we're exempt, right, guys? We're just writers and players. We don't have limbic systems that can be associated with. . . how did that sentence go. Instinctual processes. Right. We're just procrastinating. We're so lazy.

We're making up excuses at this point. Screw it, guys, we're fucked. Just write or I'll whip you, peasants. (Mm, that sounds kinda fun, doesn't it? You like a little pain?)

Okay, so, I'm winding down. I will be fucking amazed if you guys read all of this.

So, quoting again from OP:
 

Quote

What do you think? Is lack of muse a real thing? Can it just be forced through? Do you ever just sit in front of your computer actively not getting any posts out? Will you tell the guys in charge of my scholarship that I admitted I spend weeks without working sometimes?


What do I think. . . No. No. Yes. And I'd try. :) Stop being lazy, get to work on your PhD.

Edited by Kaycakes

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