One of my favorite writers of all time is Theodore Sturgeon a golden age science fiction/fantasy short story writer. He had LEGENDARY bouts of writers block that lasted years if not decades. To look at his bibliography you would never know it as he wound up producing over 200 short stories, a few novels, some famous Star Trek scripts and others
There is even a famous (and even heart warming) story about it.
One time Sturgeon found himself in the middle of one his legendary slumps and he was having a hard time financially. He asked his good friend Robert Heinlein for a loan until he got back on his feet.
Heinlein, who was a very organized writer and kept outlines for everything, without hesitation he did him one better. He gave Sturgeon over a dozen of his outlines for Sturgeon to flesh out and use. Heinlein didn't want recognition, or payment or anything in return. Sturgeon took them and used them. One of them became one of his more well known stories.
The ideas floated him through the hard time until he could get back on his feet. It was many years later that Sturgeon publicly thanked his friend.
I don't think I've ever been blocked from writing, but I have been blocked on a certain story. That's usually when I've got an idea for what should happen next, but I just can't bring myself to get it on the page. Then, some time later, I'll suddenly have an idea of how to do things differently and better and then I can write again.
It doesn't stop me working on other stories or coming up with new ideas. Hitting a Sturgeon-like barren spell where it's not the writing that's the sticking point, but coming up with the ideas and inspiration, that's not something I've suffered either.
I never believed in writer's block until it fell on me like a big chunk of blue frozen poo dropped from a passing airplane.
Some call it second-book-itis. After my first book came out I couldn't write for about 18 months, even though I had a ghost novel to deliver. The guy paying me was amazingly patient, God bless him, and my agent's been OK, too.
It was a horrible feeling, sitting at the computer every day and producing nothing. Absolutely horrible.
My sympathies. I've been fortunate that I've never experienced anything like this. That isn't to say that I don't get stuck sometimes and, because I'm lazy, I don't write for weeks at a time, but if I have to produce I'm always able to dig it up from somewhere.
I logged into Crimespace thinking I'd like to start a discussion on writer's block, and here it is already. :) The question that's been teasing me is: do genre fiction writers get writer's block? In at least a couple of TV shows I've seen a character whose first novel has gotten a lot of attention and who is then completely stuck on following up. It occurred to me that the reason might be that they are literary novelists who have had one idea (based on their own lives) and can't think of a second. Mystery writers know exactly what a new book needs: a crime, a sleuth, a solution. We may have a closet full of outfits, but each one can be draped on the same coat hanger. So is it different, or am I just blowing smoke?
Like I said when I started this thread, I'm not sure I believe in it. At least for me. I have never experienced a time when my brain wasn't always working on ideas, plots, scenes. And the only time I don't write is basically when I'm too lazy.
But I see your point about genre. If you follow the conventions of a particular genre, you're likely to always know what to do.
Ooooh, I'm just coming out of a major case of writer's block. I went through a phase where I wrote like crazy and burned out, and for a few years there's been almost nothing. My current wip (I actually have one, hurrah!) is moving, though, so it's getting better.
Generally when I get blocked on a story, it's something minor compared to that. Usually it's the result of the story going off in a direction that just doesn't work. But since I know what causes it, that sort of block doesn't last very long.
Many years ago, I was a young reporter and was having trouble writing a story. My then city editor, who was the very stereotypical old-style editor asked me what was wrong. I said "writer's block." He said, "you have about 90 minutes to deadline or you're fired."
Amazing how quickly it went away.
I also spent about a 2 year period as a freelance writer. Writer's block means go hungry.
I've never really suffered from writer's block. I don't know if it has something to do with my journalism background or not, but I've been very fortunate in that regard.
It has translated to my fiction writing. For some reason, I just have the ability to push on through.
Ideas for books and characters are always with me. I've got a file of stored book motivations for future reference, usually from newspapers or magazines. The only situation that came close to writer's block for me was with my very first attempt at a manuscript. I painted myself into a corner with the plot and realized I was writing crap. I put it down and never went back. These days, my plots are more complex and I appreciate a good challenge, so I choose not to believe writer's block exists for me. It's only a maze. Eventually, I'll find my way clear of it.