A horrible debilitating disease that strikes writers of every genre, of every kind, at the most inopportune times.
- You spend hours staring at a blank screen and blinking cursor.
- Tapping your fingers along the edge of the keyboard, but never really hitting any keys.
- Making faces at the screen as you try to force thoughts to break through the block.
- After several hours, perhaps days of the above you curse the computer and silently wonder if you have what it take to be a writer.
Those are only a few of the symptoms I have experienced personally. I am sure you can think of others that plague you from time to time.
Some writers don't believe writer's block exist. That it's all in one's head. I haven't decided whether this is true or not, because the block is obviously in your head. Perhaps there is some truth to that statement. Writing blocks don't occur out of the blue. They stem from somewhere, I think.
We're busy with day to day life. Family, day jobs, house work, bills, or the latest rejection letter from a publisher or agent. Take your pick. All these things, and then some, bog us down. Exhaust are bodies and brains.
Whether it's a figment of our imaginations or a real "disease" striking us out, there are ways around it. There are things we can do to try and remove the block and continue on with our stories.
I'll list a few cures that I hope you'll find helpful. If they produce little to no help, try typing "writer's block" into Google and you'll find, literally, hundreds of articles.
100 Words a day- You can pick any number of words. 100, 300, 1,000, etc. After you've chosen your word count make an conscious effort to write that many words a day. Every day. They can pertain to your current work in progress or not all. The point is you're writing. They do not have to be spectacular words. Just words. Go with the first thought that pops in your head. You never know, you may just work out that road block in your plot. Or you may find a new story that has been brewing beneath the surface.
Book in a week- Similar but different from 100 words a day. No, it's not actually entire book in a week. (There is a great workshop coming up January 7th, 2008 from Outreach Romance Writers on writing a a rough draft in a week.)
For BIAW you set a goal for yourself. 1 chapter, 4,000 words, outline a scene/chapter, etc. Give yourself seven days to complete the goal. This works great when you can get others to join you. You, then can report your daily progress and cheer each other on. Again, with BIAW, just write. Keep writing! You'll flesh your way though the block. A word or a sentence you type will trigger your next great scene. At the very least you purge your mind of the garbage clogging your creative process.
Journaling- Everyone does this differently. Some journal by hand or at the computer, but typically it's done in the morning. If you're anything like me, your most productive time is after 11pm.- so do it then. Write in a journal for twenty minutes everyday. Morning is suggested because you can use it to start your day. Your mind is fresh and usually for most households this is a quiet time. (before the kids are awake or after the kids are off to school.)
You sit where you are most comfortable, in a zone where your creative processes are free to roam. Then you just write. For twenty minutes. Don't stop. A full twenty minutes. If you can't manage twenty minutes in the morning, then adjust. Ten minutes. Whatever time frame you choose, make it strictly writing time.
An idea book- Most writers, I think, keep one of these. A notebook where you write down all those miscellaneous thoughts that enter your head that you don't want to lose. Snippets of dialogue or setting. A character name or conflict. Flip through your idea book. It may ignite your the much needed chain of words. If you don't have one these, I recommend starting one. They are great to have.
Fiction generators- There are so many of these online. With some of these website you type in characteristics of a character and it spits out a name. Some are just random. Granted some of these names are a little "off the wall" but they may be just what you need to work through a bout of writer's block.
Behind the Name - Random names.
The Elvish Name Generator - Fantasy character.
Language is a Virus - This one gives you name generators, random text, poem engines and a ton more to kick start your creativity.
Try one. What have you to lose?
If the above doesn't help try Mitchelaneous. This website gives 50 cures for writer's block.
You'll work through your writer's block. I promise. It doesn't last forever. You're a writer.
Until next time,
P.S. After you've pushed through your writer's block check out my other blog for 5 ways to build a character.