member, 310 posts
 Join Date:
 Thu, 28 Nov, 2013
Tue 21 May 2019
at 07:37
Writer's Block
Does anyone here have any advice for dealing with writer's block? I know what I want to write, but I can't seem to put it to words. It's starting to really affect the posting rate for my games.
 member, 67 posts
 Have fun,
 help others.
Tue 21 May 2019
at 08:08
Writer's Block
Write something non-related. Train of thought or look for some writing prompts online if that's something that works for you.

After getting in the groove, switch to the game posts.
 member, 591 posts
Tue 21 May 2019
at 08:14
Writer's Block
Consume some sort of narrative oriented media (books, audio stories, etc) in the vein of what you're trying to put down on paper.

Then steal the bits you like about it, specific word choice, phrases, whole sentences, etc and don't feel guilty for doing so, especially if it's for RPoL stuff, as no one is likely to notice or care.

It will, hopefully, give you a place to start from, and do some of the heavy lifting so you can avoid feeling the pressure/need to just "write something!".

Alternatively you can just disconnect for a bit.  Do something that isn't about a creative task, or do something else creative that isn't writing.  Basically find a way to not think about the work that you're trying to make happen because that only compounds the issue of trying to force it and being unable to do so, or unhappy with the results.
 member, 165 posts
Tue 21 May 2019
at 12:11
Writer's Block
Both the posts above are spot on!

Sometimes I find the best balm for writer's block to keep someone from having to wait on me in terms of posts is a "mechanical post". GMs hate them but just walking through the basic numbers of the minimum needed at least keeps the game ticking.

If it's something like D&D make a check that's necessary and dress it lightly with some text.

More freeform, just be sure to hit all the points needed so no one is waiting.

The important part is to write something in that situation to buy yourself time to recover. Don't stress about it.

And if you can't do that, TALK to your GM and fellow players. They're human, and reaching out to people is a good way to get the time you need

Most importantly don't continue to post really short uninvolved posts after that. Do the stuff above to try and get your groove back. Unplug, sleep, eat a nice meal, consume some media that relates to your subject, write something unrelated, take a walk.
 member, 11 posts
Tue 21 May 2019
at 12:39
Writer's Block
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft,  by Stephen King.

This book was a game changer for me.  A quick and enjoyable read, King walks the reader through his process and itís written for the average joe.
 member, 706 posts
 There's a brain alright
 but it's made out of meat
Tue 21 May 2019
at 13:43
Re: Writer's Block
Does anyone here have any advice for dealing with writer's block? I know what I want to write, but I can't seem to put it to words. It's starting to really affect the posting rate for my games.

Yes: collaboration. Don't write for the players and GM, write with them.
 member, 25 posts
Tue 21 May 2019
at 14:00
Re: Writer's Block
Is your writer's block all over, or just one scene you're fighting to get out?

If it's just one scene, maybe branch out.  Write an IC piece with that character sometime in the past.  Delve into them and their why.  Let them talk to you, and maybe the thing you're struggling with will open up and show you how best to handle the scene that dislikes you.  It could be that you're trying to push things in a direction that they won't go because it's against your inner voice/character's will.

If it's all over, first and most importantly, stop stressing.  Take a breather.  Go watch the wind rustle the leaves or get a good cup of hot whatever-you-like and let your brain unwind.  By putting the pressure on yourself to perform, you're just making the block worse.  Take a nap (if you're lucky enough to) or go for a walk.  Just exist away from the writing for a bit.
 member, 1399 posts
 "Hugs for the Hugs God!"
 - Warhammer Fluffy-K
Tue 21 May 2019
at 15:16
Re: Writer's Block
I find music helps. When I know what themes or mood I am trying to do I find suitable music appropriate and then just close my eyes and play out the scene in my mind. I live the scene. Then when I'm ready to write it's pretty easy to get started. What I see in my mind isn't usually how it ends up on the draft but just being immersed fully in the story helps dislodge most of my blocks...and the music really helps.
 member, 1599 posts
Tue 21 May 2019
at 15:32
Re: Writer's Block
  I walk away from the computer a bit.... watch  TV Ö read  some books..even at my age, still play Pick up football every sunday morning.. you'd be surprised  what clearing your  Mind   can do.

 most of the plotlines  , some are found, some are Missed, some are created  by the players   as they RP?

 I react to    my players, they reacte  to me, and I drop in the   scenes   that are in the flow of those interactions.

 if you and your players feed off each other, its like going on YouTube and  following   feed after  feed, down the rabbit hole..sometimes you'll find  something, you didn't know what you were lookign for.
 member, 5 posts
 Valar Morghulis
Tue 21 May 2019
at 16:00
Writer's Block
In reply to aguy777 (msg # 1):

Writer's block is evil. I know your pain, my friend.

 There's a saying that one of my uni professors used to say: 'All that a first draft needs to do is exist.' I think he may have been quoting from something, but the point stands.

 Write out in simple language what you want to say. For example:

 Alain walked across the room. He stood beside the open window and listened. The voices outside were too low for him to hear, but they didn't sound friendly. He decided to leave, before they came this way.

 That post was pretty simple and it got the basics across. That's your first draft: it exists, it does the job, and shouldn't make your brain flutter too much. After that, your job becomes easier. You can shuffle the action, insert description and thought processes when you're ready to tackle it. At least it exists in some form you can mess with.

 As stated above, reading stuff in a similar style or setting to what you're doing should help. Just try channelling a particular author's style. Imagine they were writing the post instead of you - what would they say?

 It all sounds so ridiculously simple when put down like this, but writer's block is a blooming difficult thing to break away from. I wish you luck, my friend.
 member, 3 posts
Wed 22 May 2019
at 12:38
Writer's Block
I hear ya, I have twenty fanfiction stories i started that haven't gotten past chapter 2 because although i have the whole plot worked out...writers block gets me every time on the passage of getting there.
 member, 740 posts
 Wayfarer of the
 Western Wastes
Wed 22 May 2019
at 16:37
Writer's Block
Posting to a game should be a form of enjoyment, not a chore.  If the words won't come to you, there's generally a reason for it, but trying to force that reason to the surface typically will just make things worse.

Shift your focus for a short while:  music, craft, and other pursuits have already been mentioned.  The important thing is to do something else you enjoy doing to recapture that sense of enjoyment.  Come back to your games refreshed, relaxed, and then re-read the events leading up to the points where you got blocked.  What you need should bubble up naturally to the surface.
 member, 40 posts
Wed 22 May 2019
at 17:22
Writer's Block
My first suggestion is get with your partner and have some 'fun' time to loosen everything up.  Stop stressing over a game.

Next, what really helps me are friends.  I've played or ST/DMed so many games that I have a network of trusted friends.  PM them and just write your thoughts down.  They don't have to be pretty.  Just write down ideas.

Some will respond and usually share their ideas of what you are trying to portray. Usually that back and forth will gain traction and help.  Best if that person is not in the game you are running though.

Another thing I do is go back and reread the threads.   Note what each player did leading up to the scene you are having trouble with.  Also jot down your timeline of events  1. This was the hook that brought them into this situation, 2. this happened that led them in this direction, 3. This obstacle took place that resulted in them discovering this.

Once you have your plot and the timeline matched them with the characters actions.  Maybe it altered the overall story.  Maybe someone did something or achieved something that changed it.  Now; How do your NPC badguys respond to this action, What did they do when they lost the map to wonderland? or the group defeated this guardian to a locked box.  Etc.

Use the Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How when readig these and update your plan.  The players are not stagnant, they change and adapt to their environment.  So too the NPCs and villains in your story, they aren't going to sit and wait for the party to reach them.

This could change the entire scene you were struggling with.  Good Storytellers use multiple resources to keep the overall story flowing.  Yes there will always have moments of writers block because nobody writes as much as the ST/DM.  But find what works best for you, we just provided options.   Have fun, good luck, and happy DMing.
 member, 83 posts
Wed 22 May 2019
at 18:56
Writer's Block
Like praguepride above, I also make extensive use of music - even going so far as to have playlists set up for most of my major characters/games. It helps to 'set the mood', more or less, when I'm having trouble just getting a post out.

Rereading threads helps, especially if it's a slow posting game where you might not easily be able to recapture the 'feel' of the scene. Ditto for talking about the action with the other players, if you're able to get them in a PM chat or off-RPoL conversation.

When all else fails, sometimes I just force myself to write something. Anything. Even if it's crap, it's better than nothing, because it makes the post that comes next easier to write, and that one makes the third one easier, etc, etc. Eventually, they'll not be junk, even if the first one was a post that was merely perfunctory in nature.
 member, 742 posts
 Wayfarer of the
 Western Wastes
Thu 23 May 2019
at 06:34
Writer's Block
I'll add that if you have any facility with poetry (even blank verse, haiku, or limericks), write some verse.  It doesn't have to have anything to do with what you're blocking on, but will inevitably spark some free assocation that may unlock things you hadn't seen before.
 member, 3 posts
Wed 12 Jun 2019
at 20:39
Writer's Block
For me, roleplaying itself is sometimes the way to deal with writer's block. It's easy to leave the story for the later when you're the only one who sees it, it's much harder when you know that other people are waiting for you. Also, when I'm not the only one who drives the story, there's no "I don't know what should happen after that" factor.
So I write my posts, and then it's easier to get back to my other writings. Obviously, it doesn't necessarily work for everybody.
 member, 1 post
Fri 5 Jul 2019
at 15:41
Writer's Block
As an author, longterm, and decade long GM-ST-DM of several roleplaying systems, I know only 2 crucial reasons for writer's block:

It is against your real interests, which you will notice (scientifically, no occult training, nor any substance abuse, needed). Example: You feel that holding back on an idea, week later a cousin calls, mentioning she founded a magazine, or found a way to publish a fantasy adventure for pay (instead of unpaid loads of work).  ;-)

The other, in my time back then, was called GM burnout. It is, when the pressure, joyous, as it can be, starts to negatively impair your health. Younger people have a habit to underestimate such, while older roleplayers had to go see hospitals and funerals coz of it.

Hints I can give:

Take a nap. Additionally learning to meditate CAN help some.

Check your nutrition for overdose of caffeine or other wake-up chemicals (red bull energy drink overdosed gets toxic).

Check similar, or ask a doctor, on lack of iron and copper in your nutrition. Sounds silly, but fatigue and loss of energy belong to the symptoms.

Ask another GM-ST-DM to guide some sessions, so you can grant yourself the time to recover and get your stuff back into the form you knew.

Let's discuss for going totally insane, becoming a roleplayer-stalking (or butchering) psycho within games like 'WoD - Slasher'?   ;-)

 member, 28 posts
Fri 5 Jul 2019
at 19:16
Writer's Block
   For me, writer's block has been occasionally a crippling sensation; you know what you want to say, but lack (at that moment, at least) the words to convey what you want. For me, there have been a few things (some of them already mentioned here) that have helped me to 'unblock'. But one of the things that work without fail is music.

   I usually write while music is playing in the background, and I've trained my mind to respond to certain songs. (For instance, if I'm writing something for a Star Wars game, I'll put on any of the Star Wars soundtracks - Youtube is invaluable for this purpose. "Duel of the Fates" has spawned some epic writing sessions, just on its own ...)

   It took some time for me to work on the method, but I have specific music for specific games, characters, and moods that I want to evoke. Think of it like having music for a table-top game at hand. (I used to play a lot of "Pirates of the Carribean" music when I ran a TTRPG "7th Sea" many years ago, and it put everyone in the mood - although sometimes, the PC's would "Jack Sparrow" their way through the odd encounter ...)

   Try it out, and see if you can't find specific music to match what you are trying to convey. Might take some time, but once you've got the hang of it, it'll be worth the work.