Wednesday, May 25, 2011

How to Battle Writer's Block and Emerge Victorious



Writer's block.  We've all felt the pain.  The question is: how do you fight this tyrannical monster?

First, let me define writer's block for you.  There are essentially two kinds:
1. I'm sitting there, staring at that stupid blank screen, and I know what I want to happen, but those words just won't come out of my clogged brain.
2. I'm staring at a blank screen but I have no clue whatsoever what should happen next.

The second one is the kind I always get.  If you ask me, it's not even true writer's block.  I suppose an outline would help...   So anyway, this post will deal with the first form.

I almost never get the first one, because, well...  Frankly, I don't believe in it.  Yeah, that sounds weird, but it's true.  I don't believe in that kind of writer's block.  I know I have plenty of words inside me, so just force myself to simply write, no matter how much the final product might resemble of pile of rotten vegetables.  You can always edit.  I know that I just simply have too many words inside me to run out that easily.

But for many writers, this a problem.  And here are some ways to deal with it.
  • Do something other than writing.  Chances are, your stock of life experiences is running low.  Go outside, get some fresh air.  Walk around your kitchen.  Watch TV.  Annoy your siblings.  Just do something, and you'll be surprised how fresh everything seems when you sit down at that computer again.
  • Read.  Read.  Read, read, read.  What better way to solve a lack of words than to fill your mind with...words?  Just read something.  Anything.  An epic fantasy novel.  A paranormal romance with a love pentagon.  An Agatha Christie novel where everyone but the killer ends up dead at the end.  National Geographic.  The newspaper. A dictionary.  The back of a Ramen Noodles package. Whatever.  Just pick up something with words and read it.
  • Listen to music.  Again, you're filling your mind with words, so all it can do is help you.  Or, even better: if you can play an instrument, go play it.  No matter if you play the guitar or saxophone or bass flute.  It's amazing how the music gets those words flowing.
  • Take a shower!  Seriously.  That's where I get all my heavy thinking done for SotLC.  It feels good, it relieves stress, and anyways...there's nothing else to do while you're in there.  Unless shampooing your hair takes brainpower.
  • Do something physical.  Run around the block (or up the road, if you're like me and don't live on a block).  Jump-rope, play tennis, do some archery, shoot baskets, do I sound like some sort of fitness add yet?
  • Sleep on it.  You might have a dream that'll help out!
  • Make something unexpected happen in your story.  Chances are, you might be getting a bit bored with your story, so why not jazz it up?  Make a tornado come rip apart your character's hometown.  Have a random guy come rushing in with a chainsaw.  Whatever.  It doesn't have to be that drastic; just do something unpredictable.
  • Engage in some sort of epic battle involving swords and dragons.  Don't hesitate to use your magical powers, because those really come in handy when you've got orcs out to get you.  Armor is recommended.  It's amazing how that'll get those creative juices flowing.
The following are only for the truly desperate.  Use with discretion.
  • Kill someone.  Well, someone in your story.  Please don't kill a real-life person.  Your problem might be that one character is bogging you down, so why not get rid of 'em?  That character might very well be putting the bricks on that wall that's keeping you from writing.  And besides, if you're writing fantasy, you can pull a Harry Potter and bring them back to life. :)
  • Take a healthy break from writing.  Try a day, at first.  Most likely you'll be fine.  If not, try two days, a week, and so on.  It's good to take breaks once and awhile, because when you return to writing everything is fresh and new.
  • Bash your head into a wall.  I've never tried this, but who knows?  It probably works.
  • Watch this video.  It's basically the cure-all for just about everything.
I hope that helps!  Feel free to add to my list if you want.  I wish you luck in all of your battles with this despicable monster.

    2 comments:

    1. I will remember this next time I hit a wall with writing :)

      ReplyDelete
    2. I look forward to bashing my head against the wall when I have writer's block.... Just kidding!

      Thanks for the tips.


      Snowie =)

      ReplyDelete

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