Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Coping With Writer's Block

OK I was going to call this post: how I “manage” writers block, but I don’t. Manage it, that is. I cope as best as I can, until I can move on. 

We’ve all been there: staring at a blank screen willing our fingers to move or our brains to barf something anything out! But, all that happens is a cramp in your creativity muscle. The paper stays blank, the screen white or whatever medium you use doesn’t get used. 

You tell yourself it’s time to walk away. Time to crack open that favorite book that always inspires you, turn on the TV for a while as a distraction or jump in the shower – that’s where the magic happens. But, sometimes nothing works and you find yourself STILL sitting. STILL staring. With nothing more than a half-eaten bag of chips and a half-empty glass of wine to show for it. 

What to do?

There are times when I have to recognize that forcing something isn’t going to make it what I want. It’s going to sound forced or awkward and I’ll just end up having to rewrite it later. 

It is hard to walk away. Believe me, I know! Maybe (like me) this is your only chance to write for the whole day or week! The kids are at school/taking a nap/at grandmas/sequestered in their rooms, it’s now or never. Maybe you set a goal to write 2,500 words this week and you have 1,900 and you want to just push out the last 600. 

I will sometimes shut my eyes as I turn my computer (the green box with buttons) off and bolt out of my office. I’ll go fold clothes/clean bathrooms/do dishes…you know all the other stuff that needs to get done. 

And you know what!? Not long after I’ve let go of my writing frustration my characters start talking again telling me where they want to go and not the other way around. With my mind clear (usually doing mindless things helps) MAGIC happens! Inspiration strikes! And soon enough, I’m back at the green box letting my story pour out of my fingertips!

It’s hard to let go, but I find that sometimes the best thing to do is to forget for a while. 

If that doesn’t work…try standing on your head.

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