Friday, September 30, 2011

Writer's Block - A Myth Breaker

What is writer’s block? According to Wikipedia, Writer's block is a condition, primarily associated with writing as a profession, in which an author loses the ability to produce new work. The condition varies widely in intensity. It can be trivial, a temporary difficulty in dealing with the task at hand. At the other extreme, some "blocked" writers have been unable to work for years on end, and some have even abandoned their careers. It can manifest as the affected writer viewing their work as inferior or unsuitable, when in fact it could be the opposite.

The problem I have with this mythical condition is author loses the ability to produce. Really, why? Does he not still function in life, does he not still have hands and fingers. A more correct definition would possible be loses the desire to write. For whatever reason a writer hides behind this condition, there are possible ways to break out, and the writer has the ability to do so if so desires.

Please – I’m not bashing anyone who thinks they have this condition.

I’m simply offering a solution to overcome it, because quite honestly it’s in your head. And to me, to lose the ability, suggests physical limitations. The brain is a wonderful tool and should be used to your best ability.

If you’ve lost your desire to write, and just don’t want to do it anymore, this is your choice. But, please quit saying its writer’s block. So many new writers are hiding behind this wall instead of facing the truth. Which might include: it’s too hard, I don’t have time to concentrate on this right now, I don’t know which road to take my characters down, and the list goes on and on.

Free writing – this is a wonderful method of loosening up you creative muscles. Set a timer for 10 to 15 minutes and just start writing. It doesn’t matter what, just type or write whatever comes to mind.

Character Interviews – Stuck on where to take your character or what reaction he should have in the next scene. Stick him in a chair and grill him. Ask him anything, he’ll answer. You’d be surprised what can happen when you face your character one on one.

Change Method/Location – Write if you normally type, or vice versa. Move to the kitchen, outdoors, or even jump in the bath. A change of scenery may be just what your muse needs.

Make a list of what’s bothering you – You’ve set up the first five scenes and something isn’t right? Start listing possible problems and solutions.

Sleep on it – This is a wonderful method but beware of becoming too dependent on it. You sure don’t want to sleep every time you get stuck. I’d suggest using this as a method to go with your normal sleeping routine. Before you go to bed, run the last scene through your mind, and during the night answers may appear. Place a pad and paper close by though because your muse has no respect for your sleep, she’ll appear anytime she’s ready.

Feel free to share your favorite method to overcome what some call writer’s block.


Terry W. Ervin II said...

I've never had writer's block--lucky I suppose. What hinders me is adequate time to write. I'm not flooded with ideas, but I have more than enough for the time I'm able to carve out.

Many aspects of writing require hard work to accomplish. Overcoming whatever form of writers block one might have is just one of those hard work items to push through.

Joylene said...

I've had severe times when I couldn't write. Strangely I never thought of those times as writer's block. It's when I need to write a blog post and find myself staring at a blank screen that the phrase comes to mind. That's when I bake cookies. Works every time. I've written over 400+ posts since 2008. I've also gained 20 lbs!!!

Anonymous said...

Terry, I've had spells, but as Joylene suggests there's always a way around it. LOL, when you said cookies, my first thought was "I wonder how many cookies I would have baked by now, if this was my solution.

Thank you both for commenting.

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