Not So Much Writer’s Block More Writer’s Freeze

writers freeze chemistrydotabout

ANYONE ELSE GET THIS? Maybe this terror of going over a word limit began at university with 2000 word limits on essays. I get the freeze when I’m writing a short story. Maybe freeze isn’t a great word for it but I’ll explain. Sometimes I will be writing a piece and I’m so conscious of word count that I end up writing lazy sentences, freezing up; instead of describing the world and filling in those all important details that bring a story to life, I’ll write stubby sentences, providing a skeleton but little else as a result of being way too mindful of the number of words. It’s some form of mental block.

And if I plan to write for a WordPress post, I’m always trying to keep it snappy, under about 5-600 words, and the freeze begins again. I’m so habituated to strive for 500 words online I struggle to flesh some stories out and metaphorically end up trying to shove a whole cow through a meat grinder. Obviously creating a vibrant story world is essential and uses up creative energy but I’m curious if anyone else gets the freeze?

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lion around 2

33 thoughts on “Not So Much Writer’s Block More Writer’s Freeze

  1. I’m not much interested in word count. I mean, it’s OK if you’re writing for a competition with rules, but why else would you bother? It’s the content that counts.
    [That said, my brain freezes up regularly.]

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The content is all important, without doubt.
      But I tend to curtail posts on WP as so few people will read anything of length.

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      1. Yes, I think that’s a serious issue, Fionn. The whole point about blogging is surely that it’s about lots of people sharing what they like (or dislike). And sharing means reading AND writing. Like you, I always try to be reasonable, but it’s best not to obsess about numbers. Rather relax. If it FEELS too long, edit bits out. It’s a learning process, isn’t it?

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      2. Yeah you are not wrong, I dont get too stuck on numbers and some longer stories I use for submitting to publishers, so it all works out.
        As for being a learning process – without a doubt!

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  2. A lot of times, people don’t even read the short posts…I gathered that from one comment here, unless the person was joking, which I doubt. πŸ™‚ If the subject interests me, I read regardless of length. And there are people who throw out just a few words, maybe one quote, and call it a post. And on top of that, there are people who post 5 or 6 times a day; who can keep up with that? All in the name of getting as many followers as possible. Since the number of followers I have doesn’t interest me, I don’t worry overmuch on length. I am on WordPress to connect with other writers, and to read posts written by good writers–like you, Lion. To me, it isn’t a popularity contest.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah that one sticks in my mind too. Im tempted to make a generic post and say something horrific at the very end, just to see who is actually reading. Getting a like doesnt mean anything, its too easy to appear to have read something.

      Im trying to build followership, but not aimlessly. Ultimately you or I could have 10000, but if only a 100 are interested in stories, then its fairly pointless and ends up like twitter, having followers for the sake of it.
      Thanks for your insights. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. And thanks for addressing an issue that keeps a lot of people from enjoying reading, no attention span.
        And I would love seeing you do a post like you mentioned. It sounds like an interesting experiment. I would imaging the results would be enlightening. πŸ˜€

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You’re just the kind of guy who would do it. I’ll keep an eye out. I’d really like to see what kinds of comments you might get.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. That’s me alright – because i so rarely read anything that takes longer than five minutes, I judge my readers as the same!
    That’s why I divvy up my posts and everything is under one thousand words.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah I think everyone is the same on WP generally. For stories I try and stick to 500 words, conversational pieces or helpful posts 1k and under. Not always easy πŸ™‚

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  4. I can understand where you’re coming from (so to speak), i strive to keep my posts short as well. It’s a “TLDR” culture and I don’t see the point of publicly posting something I know most people wouldn’t read. I’ve never strived for a word limit as such, and I hope it doesn’t get stuck in my head too! πŸ˜€
    But I know the feeling of the passage getting out of my hand and writing itself into an essay…..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Whats TLDR.
      Seems to be a common problem anyway this issue of compact writing…we shall defeat it!…somehow 😐

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “Too Long, Didn’t Read” πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I get anxious at about halfway through the allotted word count & realise I’ve got to swiftly manoeuvre towards the conclusion. But I prefer to have a slower 1st half anyway, so I’ve not had the yips yet, but then again I haven’t written as much as you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah at about the 250-300 mark I’m thinking, oh shit, get this wrapped up. Sometimes it happens sometimes it doesn’t.
      A slow half is good, especially on WP.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Exactly my thoughts when I begin a story, but I never am unable to keep it so short. I kind of ignore that bugging feelings of limiting words, else I just can’t write what I want to! Now how do I tackle this!??

    Liked by 1 person

    1. From what I’ve seen your stories/poems are always a good length.
      But I don’t have the answer on this one 😦

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Guess there is just no fixed rule or method.
        From what you’ve seen in my work, I’d really love to have a feedback, if it isn’t a problem for you. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Well I’m no expert!
        But if you have a piece you want me look over, I’ll give it a try.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Well, for now, how about the poems! Otherwise I have no piece with me, all been put up here on WP. πŸ™‚
        Thanks!!

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  7. Absolutely! Either writer’s freeze or writer’s bloat. That’s when you think your manuscript is too word-light so you start throwing in as much bloat as possible to make a word count target. Both are bad.

    I think there’s always something one can cut from a story, but it results in so much tinkering that the project never gets finished. At least it’s that way for me. I’ll worry over something too much.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. If a story is finished, and then needs major tinkering, unless it’s particularly good, I’ll usually discard it, ocassionally I’ll come back to it, but I find it’s too time consuming and a mental drain.
      Cheers for stopping by.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Reblogged this on The Biggest Minutiae! and commented:
    In the latest post on LionAroundWriting, the subject of

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  9. This happens to me as well. I understand how hard it is to keep up with blogs. I try to keep my posts under 400 words, and I push hard for 350.
    I tend to use less description on my posts than I normally would to meet this self imposed limit. I’d rather be brief and get constructive comments than too long and have a one hundred usless likes with no real feedback. (And I see this happen on dozens of blogs). So, yeah, I worry over word count.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah I’m with you on that.
      I quickly realised anything much over 500 words was likely to get zero comments. People don’t tend to read longer stuff.
      It’s a real challenge to keep the words trimmed but still tell a compelling story. Keeps it interesting I guess πŸ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Exactly. When I come across long posts on other blogs I see generic comments “can’t wait to read more” “great chapter” “Interesting.” Those posts lack comments that demonstrate the person actually read it. I see your posts and I know on mine, people leave real comments about the situation, a quote, character, or the plot. Short & sweet is the only way to blog. Good description, rich characters and plots are for our novels, magazine submissions, and sample chapters for literary agents. Great post. I thought I was the only one worried about word count.

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      2. Good description, rich characters and plots are for our novels, magazine submissions, and sample chapters for literary agents < that sums it up. Story,story,story! πŸ™‚

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Yeah. Be well my friend.

        Liked by 2 people

  10. I’m so glad to know someone else understands the “freeze” Fionn. Probably anyone who submits things with a word count limit understands. Even query letters and book proposals have limits, and I feel the freeze as soon as it says “absolutely no more than one page.” Immediately, I begin doing the math: 12 point, double space, name/address + all info at top…What??? One page? You’re giving me about 100-150 words. Then, feel sick, swear, who needs them? WordPress is a good place to practice. I need to practice more! πŸ˜€

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s a wierd thing!
      Uusually writers complain of not being able to write enough. And redudantly, when I start a story, there’s never a word limit, yet I still get the ‘yips’.
      Thanks for stopping by.

      Liked by 2 people

  11. WordPress constantly freezes! It drives me crazy!

    Liked by 2 people

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