Semantic Satiation, or What Might Lurk Behind the Proverbial Writer’s Block

lt all began with a writer.

In order to make the audience of tv show « Ted Lasso » laugh, that said writer taught it would be fun to explore the well-researched psychological phenomenon that is semantic satiation.

One thing led to another, and there I was on a very quiet Tuesday, listening to the host of a francophone late-morning radio show I almost enjoy, repeating the word « chapeau » for 15 seconds.

After a while, you don’t understand a word anymore. It’s just random, almost annoying sounds.

And apparently, the same phenomenon can be applied to writers.

Sometimes, we’re puzzled by how bad our writing appears to be. Or by how impossible it seems some days to write a decent 500 words in less than an hour.

The answer might just be this: Semantic Satiation.

Writer’s Block and Semantic Satiation: Same Battle?

Well, it’s not exactly the same thing.

Semantic satiation have to do with the repetition of one word leading to the feeling the word has become meaningless, or sound darn weird.

Although writers may suffer from a sort of word saturation, if, for example, they write continuously without a break for a prolonged period of time.

After a while, the act of writing in itself, no matter if it’s fiction or technical writing, if it’s writing business letters or legal contracts, may lose its sense for some writers.

Suddenly, no words are good anymore.

They are the same words as the day before. It’s always the same words. However, they sound weird, they seem stupid, meaningless.

I’ve always called it writer’s block. Now that I heard about semantic satiation and how a similar phenomenon can affect writers, it shed new light on the said writer block.

When every word I write is bad, it’s a signal I need to step away from the page and go do something else!

Dear fellow writers, I hope this helped… and made you smile a bit.

Until next time!

Sources:

APA PsycNet

Mental Floss

Writing in November

For some writers living somewhere in the North of America, it can be sort of a challenge to write during the November days.

We may have come up with the best schedule in the world, no amount of planning or inspiration quotes would make us come out of bed on some dark cold mornings or fight the urge to go to bed as soon as the workday/family evening routine is done.

Isn’t it why NaNoWriMo happens in November? To challenge writers into writing 50 000 words within a month despite the light growing thin and the inner motivation growing even thinner?

It will mean sticking to a plan, making sacrifices, and fighting sleep with all possible means, for most of the challengers anyway.

Yours truly is one of those trying to ignore the soft call of warm blankets. Because this November, I psych myself up to do only one thing: get back to my early morning writing routine.

With one super-duper non-negociable condition.

Continuer la lecture de « Writing in November »

3 Ways to Stay Motivated When Revising Your Novel

There and back again.

Revision.

Once more, I find myself staring at the screen, dreading the revision weeks to come, lacking any kind of motivation whatsoever to even start.

Where to find motivation? And how to keep it up?

Continuer la lecture de « 3 Ways to Stay Motivated When Revising Your Novel »