Cure Writer’s Block with the Drastic

1 08 2013

Suffering from writer’s block is all part and parcel of the business. One day the words flow too fast for you to type or jot in your own gibberish. One day you see the layout ahead of you and are watching the possibilities play out. Then there are days when you draw such a complete blank you are sure you must be as talentless as you always, secretly, thought. Let’s put aside our damaging thoughts and try something drastic. I am going to ask you to attempt the impossible, do the unthinkable, and… well, it really is not as bad as that gasp you are prepared to release.

What genre are you partial too? What reality is your book born from? Put it all aside and choose a different view. Writing a love story? Try writing your main character/s into a mystery. Flying through fictional history? Take those same characters and place them in the world of science fiction. Writing for adults? Transform your characters into a child’s world. You are not looking at a rewrite, simply expanding your views to other possibilities should the circumstance change. Imagine your characters in another situation, another place, another reality. Play around with their environment and allow yourself to laugh at any absurdities.

Giving your characters a situation completely different from the direction in which the story is intended can release your mind from its current rut and open ideas previously unconsidered. Ever been in a conversation that feels more like a bee zipping from flower to flower vs the bird building a solid nest? You start with one subject, but one word, one joke, one minor detail sends your discussion down a side road. This can happen so quickly and so often you may have found yourself trying to remember how you started out talking about your work situation and how will you ever make your boss see sense to talking about the impossibility of eating brownies without sighing. Don’t laugh, I am sure we have all been there at least once. Suddenly, in the middle of discussing the oddities of the color cerulean the answer to your problem hits you.

Writer’s block is (among other things) the inability to see the way forward logically and smoothly. Since you think you are only sitting in front of a brick wall with no way through, over, or around try changing direction and only then can you see the passage that is hidden from direct view (David Bowe in the Labyrinth a must see!worm).

 

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A Place to Write

18 06 2013

Do you need peace and quiet to write or do you prefer company and bustling activity?

When finding a writing place, it’s important that you find what works for you. When you start taking advantage of every writing opportunity you get, even when it’s noisy, you begin to savor those productive writing moments. If you have little ones, can you write while they’re sleeping? Could you stay up an extra 10 minutes while everyone is asleep or wake up earlier? Take advantage of those quiet moments, if that is what you need, as much as you can. Plan your quiet writing time around everyone else’s quiet time. Maybe you could get a few minutes of writing in while you’re in the bathroom (pretend, if you have to!) or maybe you could go for a walk and take your notebook with you.
Look beyond your residence. Maybe that place is in a study room at the library, or on a park bench, in a cafe (why does this sound familiar?), on the bus or sub-station, or in a public museum. When you set out into a writing career, it’s important that you’re able to reach your goals. Otherwise unhappiness will consume you and you’ll be sucked into a life that doesn’t satisfy you. Life isn’t supposed to be about struggling; it’s about building relationships with people and having an impact in their lives. Stop taking the easy way out by saying “It’s too hard” or “I don’t have time” or “I’ll write when life is not so hectic”.
If you want to be a writer, you need to start acting like one. Get the writing done. Find a way and make the time. You owe it to yourself to do that. There will never be a better time. If we want to be successful writers, we need to adopt a determination to continue despite the circumstances. Even if it’s just for 30 minutes a day, we need to do it. We owe it to ourselves and our happiness.
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