Essay on Vermeer’s ‘Girl With A Pearl Earring’

Writer’s block is a term often use to describe a creative block when they are unsure and lost on how to go about with their writing; it’s not just the inability to continue with their work, but it can also be the inability to produce something creative. Moreover, this term is not isolated to writers only, this creative block can apply to all those who practice the art — artists, composers, choreographers. In this essay, I shall explain a few relatively common causes of writer’s block and the techniques to overcome this creativity block.

I will be referring to several sources and to my experience on how I deal with writer’s block. Not having an idea is a part of writer’s block. However, ideas are not hard to find, they are fairly easy to come by because anything and everything has a potential to become a great piece of work, but artists need some way of keeping track. In view of the latent possibilities, carrying around a journal or notebook is an option, being in a modern era, it is easy to make a note of it using a phone.

Yet, it does not have to be specifically for writing down story ideas, think of it as a “warehouse of your mind” where anything and everything can go into it. Whether it may be a mundane trail of thought, a reminder of what to do or an unexpected moment of eureka, it is better to write it down so you will not forget. The most mundane thoughts that may cross the mind possess the potential to become the basis of a plotline. When the desire to start something new or throw a complication into the protagonist path, flick through the pages of the journal, there may be something that will prove helpful.

Writing fan-fictions is another path writers may take if they are unable to come up anything, using the “existing characters as “training wheels”. ” Playing around with the plot of the story, changing (in)significant little details, inserting their own character into the story, which could in doubt either allow the story to follow the canon or take them down an alternative path. As said, it’s giving a chance to prepare before they decide to venture off and write their own story.

Another suggestion to finding ideas: take a stroll and let their mind wonder, pay the local museum or gallery a visit, take a look at the paintings and artefacts or even listening to music can spark inspiration within them. An example is ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’ written by Tracy Chevalier, she was inspired by a poster of Vermeer’s ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’ and her explanation about how the idea came into fruition was: “I lay there idly contemplating the girl’s face, and thought suddenly, “I wonder what Vermeer did to her to make her look like that. Now there’s a story worth writing… I could see all the drama and conflict in the look on her face. Vermeer had done my work for me. ”

When writing a story that is within a historical era or revolves around a infamous figure or item, it will require extensive, in-depth research, which allows writers to create something that has a fictional element yet retain a sense of realism that makes the story flow natural. Having said that, researching a topic that interests the writer is inspirational and it gives them a chance to learn something new, applying the knowledge elsewhere when the need arises.

Fear and self-doubt contributes to writer’s block. The very thought that the idea in their mind is not feasible or the time and effort spent on a piece of work was a waste because others thought it horrible. This is inescapable. It is impossible to please everyone as each individual has his or her own preference. It is also the writers’ own inner critic being the voice in the back of their minds, feeding the fear that someone — perhaps everyone — will tear their work apart and comment on how atrocious the story is. When the doubt sets in, the only way to get pass it, is to persevere.

Take each comments as they come, entitling to their own opinion, but who has the final decision about the creative piece is the creator of said piece. Feedbacks and comments are constructive criticisms, they can help improve the creative piece and make it better, sometimes the comments is the motivation a writer needs in order to get past their fears and doubts. Those who do not doubt are lying to themselves, having too much confidence in their work can hinder them in their progress of becoming better writers. Perfectionism.

Wanting to create the perfect piece of work right from the first draft unexpectedly falls under the category of writer’s block. “Striving rather than practicing” for perfection is not the way to go because a perfect draft simply does not exist. When you accept this, then go on ahead and write out your first draft. Although it is a daunting putting ideas down into words, but writers have to remember that it is a draft; “a preliminary version of a piece of writing. ” There are bound to be many mistakes within the draft that is why there is the process of editing.

At first glance, they might not be able to find any mistakes, but that is because they are examining it subjectively. Neil Gaiman’s suggestion for this is: “Put it aside for a few days, do other things, try not to think about it. Then sit down and read it [… ] as if you’ve never seen it before. Start at the beginning. Scribble on the manuscript as you go if you see anything you want to change… ” By distancing yourself from your work, they are able to look at it objectively and easily unleash the inner critic every artist possesses within them.