Thursday, September 17, 2009

Writer's Block-Is it all in your head?

This is a repost from September. The rest of this week has just turned into something terribly busy, so I'll get back to original this weekend or on Monday. In the meantime, have fun!

The most common and frightening set of words to any writer are 'writer's block.' Personally, they are so traumatizing, I try as little as possible to use them at all. I've struggled with the idea of writing a blog about this phenomenon, worried I may give that little muse robbing phrase some more power. Power is not what we want that phrase to acquire.

Why did I end up writing this, then? I hear about it so often from my fellow writers. I see this subject in blogs from editors, agents, and authors alike. I think one of the most common questions I've seen asked is, "What do you do about writer's block?" Every bit of advice is always right on target, there are a lot of things you can do about writer's block. One bit of advice that I've never seen is simply this; delete those two words from your vocabulary.

I hear the protests already. It's a matter of training. When I feel that evil being approaching, I don't call it Writer's Block-I call it Writer's Opportunity. No, I haven't completely lost my mind. Hear me out.
When you can't seem to write a word, what if it's your subconscious telling you it's time to shift gears a little? Shake it up a bit, make this writing career fun! Tell yourself, "Oh, this is my opportunity to do something incredible."
I am still going through a tumultuous time in my life. There are days that writing seems like the last thing I can think of. Sometimes, I write one sentence in my novel and think....and think.....and think.... Then I tell myself, "Here's my opportunity."
  • Read blogs: I have the blogs I follow posted on the side of this one, so take a look. They are all varied in their content, and usually put a smile on my face and a little push to write one more sentence.
  • Read the last sentence of any book you have lying around: Now, use it as a story starter. Sometimes the end of one book isn't enough. Continue it; it doesn't mean you have to send it off to anyone, just write what you think should happen next. If you haven't read the book, that's even better-you have no idea what that last sentence means to the rest of it. Your creativity is free to do with it whatever you want.
  • Make a game of it: I started watching Big Brother this summer. I have a friend that is reality tv addicted and she talked me into it. I used to swear against this stuff, okay? Uh-I got addicted. But, what addicted me was the vast array of character traits that I was observing from the comfort of my couch. I started writing certain things down-the way someone walked, tweaked their moustache, a certain laugh, a career choice, well-you get the idea. Then I cut every trait out to a single slip of paper and threw them in a box. I did the same with some plot ideas or even just a small conflict and threw those in a different box. You could even do different settings, but I didn't. I drew one from each and thought up a short story about them. Now, this hasn't led to a new novel worthy of publication, but it got my mind turning in different directions that I hadn't thought of before.
  • Write something really boring: I know, that's mean, right? Well, not really. When you see how hard it is to put out something awful, you'll know how easy it is to write something great. Try it, I dare you. By the time you get to your third sentence, you'll either throw it, laugh at how awful it is, or even realize-you couldn't write awful to begin with.
Okay, so there is my goofy spin on things. So everyone with Writer's Opportunity-are you going to open the door?
For the slightly masochistic; is a great blog and he has wonderful, straightforward advice for us floundering species...the writer. He also has a great widget called Write or Die . This application will really put a fire under that bum!
This is actually not a blog for writing per se, but Dr. Anthony Fernando gives great daily inspirations and tips for achieving dreams.
If you haven't signed up for Writer's Digest FREE e-newsletter, you should! They fill their website and the newsletter with information for the serious writer and also provide writing prompts to give you a kickstart.


  1. I haven't experienced writers block (the ideas are always present), but I have taken necessary breaks from writing because some times it gets to be too consuming. And then there are times when I'm just plain lazy and would rather watch tv or read, instead of write :)

  2. Megan,
    I understand being plain lazy! There are certain tv shows that take priority, I'll admit it! :) However-I'm never able to be as consumed with my writing as I once was...see pictures! :) I love it, though.


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