What to Do When You’ve Run into a Block

…stumble backwards and exclaim ‘ouch’ perhaps? I jest, of course, that’s not the same block I am referring to. Think, instead (if your pounding head will allow it), of writer’s block. My sage trilogy of advice on this common issue is as follows:

Write – I don’t care if it’s crap, I don’t care if you don’t want to or you’d rather play video games, write. It’s a way to get out of this block you’ve put yourself in. Because that’s the real issue here, you’ve put yourself into this block, you’ve mentally told yourself that there is nothing else to write about this particular subject but that’s not true. yes, you may be distracted, yes you may have run out of ideas for the present time but it’s not like you’ll never come up with new ones. Write something, anything, different than what you’ve been working on or similar to what you’ve been working on, it doesn’t really matter. Just write.

Read – read, read anything and everything. Articles, interviews, novels, novellas, poetry, even comics. Just sit down and read because in reading you glean inspiration and ideas on your own work.

Walk – yes, I said it walk. The simple action of walking will allow you to broaden your horizons, get your blood pumping, and some much needed exercise, as well as get you out of the house, room, hole or chair you’ve been tethered to for the past few hours, days, months or years whilst writing. I would suggest, if you could, for maximum benefit of this idea, that you walk outside. Rain, shine, snow or sleet – much like the mailmen – walk, just around the block or to the store or down some hidden trail you’ve always wanted to explore. It helps, trust me.
There you go, three lovely ideas that you can try if you ever experience writer’s block. Simple, easy, and healthy (quite unlike the other ideas I’ve encountered which include – drinking oneself into a stupor, banging ones head against the computer keyboard, and going out and committing a crime just so you can feel again). Try my ideas first, please, then go onto the others.

With that said, however, do you have sage advice that has worked for you? I look forward to a flurry of comments as my ideas cannot be the only ones. =)

Warm regards,

P.s. – Just so you know, I’ve written this entire post with only one hand as my cat – Raven – has commandeered the other by lounging on it. I believe props are in order, yes? [If not, no worries, I’ll pat myself on the back for you. =)]

The Inevitable Writer’s Block

It’s amazing how fast things can grind to a halt when dealing with creativity. There I was chugging nicely along when my muse thought it would be fun to detour me into an unimaginative wasteland. I finished my 6th chapter, started on the 7th and was quite happy with how it was turning out… then screech. Nothing. The blank page was frighteningly daunting to me. It suddenly stopped being the easy-going creative playground I’ve come to know it as and transformed into a white page of doom! It was pure agony!

My writer friends determined that perhaps I needed to make a sacrifice to my muse – a sassy little thing that demands a sprig of rosemary in exchange for inspiration – but that only lead to a conversation of whose muse is more demanding. Bloody lamb shanks and decadent chocolate dominated the dialogue for a while. We ended up deciding our muses should rent an apartment and live together, it was a lovely back-and-forth, but I got exactly no-where in my quest to write a novel. Sadness.

I slothed around for a few days, not really working on anything, watching way too much television (which seems to be the bane of my existence nowadays), and generally just procrastinated the inevitable. Sooner or later I was going to have to have to stop wasting time and actually try to write. I finally sat next to my computer, opened it up, clicked on Pages, and let the white glow of the screen bask over me. My fingers were hovering over the keyboard. Annnd nothing. The white page remained white for the longest time and I just sat there, thinking. Trying to come up with a good plot, an interesting dynamic for my characters, a planetary name, anything really. Nothing came to me. After an hour of doing nothing I ended up doing the one thing that seems to make my life a little bit better. I made tea. But not just any tea, a gaping cup of Lipton black tea with a dash of milk and (probably) too much honey. My happy place. I decided that I tried enough for one night and moved on. It took a few more days before anything else happened. It was completely frustrating, agonizing, annoying. Just plain dang stupid, in my humble opinion, that I couldn’t think of something.

I ended up drawing inspiration from the most unlikely of places. My folks and I were driving down the east coast, traveling from Massachusetts to Pennsylvania. I was sitting in the backseat with my older sister, just watching the scenery and poof. An idea came to me. Maybe I should write a scene with them having dinner, I thought, it’s a natural link to my last chapter. So I did. Maybe I wrote the scene because one of my writer friend’s asked about it. Maybe I wrote the scene because I was hungry. Maybe I wrote the scene just because I wanted to do something other than watch trees flash by. Nonetheless, I did. I ended up writing a tiny little thing that afternoon, only two pages or so. I may not even use the dang thing, who know? But at least it was a start. At least it got me writing again.

Remember, writing is an skill, you have to cultivate it, spend time with it, agonize over it, in order to watch it bloom.

Time for me to agonize again. =)

Warmest regards,