Found a new blog today, QwertyRash, thanks to its owner leaving a comment on one of my entries. In browsing through the archives I found an entry on bloggers/writers block. Chris talks of two kinds of block: being bereft of ideas, and experiencing "writer's glug":
where you have the ideas but writing feels like walking through deep mud – quite laborious.
I don't often feel bereft of ideas (can't remember a time, in fact). On the other hand, I do sometimes feel rather uncharitable towards those ideas I do have. It's a dark feeling, casting through your mind and hating everything you find. But I find it's mostly mood-related rather than any intrinsic fault in the ideas themselves, and during my writer's loathing moments, as it were, I remember that I'm simply not being rational and I move on. Sometimes that means writing (anything, including a journal entry), more often it means exercising or watching a video or reading something. Anything to break the mood.
But writer's glug is a harder beast to grapple with, I think. Because it usually strikes me at the weak moments: when I'm writing that agonising middle third of a novel, where nothing makes sense and you can't hold it all in your head any more and you're pretty convinced your doubts are not doubts but in fact rational assessments… we've all been there.
Chris gives some good points as to the other reasons why writer's glug might strike: stress and conflicting priorities, focussing too much on the writing and not giving yourself enough downtime, etc. I know I'm guilty of all of them, at one time or another!
My own trick for combatting the slog is to offer myself a treat: to work on the laptop in front of the television, for example. It means I work much slower than normal (on the other hand, I don't tend to surf the net so much), but it also means I get some work done where I might have done nothing instead. It only works for a limited time, however: pretty soon the couch and TV is more a habit than a treat — but luckily by that time, writing back at the desk is the treat.