Writers’ block cure? Keep writing!
Day 7 of the 5-Week Author Blog Challenge brings to light a condition all writers likely face at one time or another: writers’ block. All 35 posts for this Challenge will be focused on writing, publishing, and book marketing. I hope you’ll stick around through all 35 posts. And if you want to take part, come on in – the water is great! You can register here.
Day 7 writing prompt:
Do you ever experience writer’s block? What do you recommend to help overcome writer’s block? Any foolproof tricks that always work for you?
From the time I was in maybe sixth grade all the way through high school, I hated on-the-spot writing assignments. The teacher would give us a topic and tell us we had the rest of the period to write; the paper would be collected at the end of the class. In a 50-minute class, I would spend the first 20 to 30 minutes doodling, going to the bathroom, cleaning out my book bag – anything but writing! I’m not sure why, but I was never able to just put pen to paper and scribble out an essay. I’d watch the clock, baiting it to keep ticking. Then, at the last possible minute, I’d start writing and pour out an essay, dotting the final I’s and crossing the final T’s just as the teacher said, “OK, pens down. Pass your papers forward.”
I think there’s a distinction to be made between writers’ block, where the words simply will not flow, regardless of the genre, subject, or deadline looming, and procrastination, where you could write if you tried, but you’re just plain putting it off. My episodes in junior high and high school were obstinate procrastination, but I don’t think they could have rightly been called writers’ block.
For many years since high school, neither writers’ block nor that kind of intense procrastination about writing were a problem for me. Of course, as I mentioned in yesterday’s post, nonfiction is easy! Fiction is another animal entirely. Presently, I find that I’ve created a scene in my novel-in-progress that is very difficult to write through. I’ve considered eliminating the scene, erasing it entirely from the story – but I don’t want to do that for a couple reasons. For one thing, it adds to the travelogue/personal discovery aspect for the main character, Stan. Secondly, I’m bigger than this small episode of writers’ momentary challenge. I will vanquish the writers’ block and be done with it for good!
NOTE: I paused writing this blog post to go and actually write the scene that was giving me so much trouble. Really! In writing about my writers’ block, I realized how easy it would be to just finish, so I opened the file, went straight to the last unfinished paragraph of the scene in question, and added the 169 words it took to finish it. Whew!
So, do I have any suggestions for overcoming writers’ block? Well, I just shared what worked for me: describing it in detail. Maybe you can try it, too? Other ideas include free writing (write anything for 5 or 10 minutes, without picking up your pen(cil), even “I wish I knew what to write. I wish I knew what to write. I wish I knew what to write.”); writing in a different place than usual; writing in a different way (e.g., longhand if you typically type on a computer, or vice versa); taking a walk; playing music; having sex …
I think the only answer, really, is just to write.
Check back tomorrow when I’ll be dishing on my favorite literary characters.
And for the record, I’d love your feedback on my Author Blog Challenge posts! And, of course, would really love to have you support all of the bloggers in the Challenge. Find their links here.
Here’s to whatever it takes to let the words flow!
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