Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Case for Writer's Block

You’ve been working on you novel or story for weeks. It’s coming along nicely. Ideas are flowing faster than you can type them.  You know today will be another productive day, but when you sit down at the keyboard or notebook, nothing comes out.  For what feels like hours, you stare at the blank page, hoping something, anything will come out, but you draw a blank. Finally, after an hour, you give up and go watch television.
Every writer has faced a bout of “writer’s block.” The experts will tell you that the best way to overcome it is to write your way through it. Even if it’s a bunch of dung, you can always go back and fix it later on. We’ve all cursed the fact that it happens at the most inopportune time; usually right in the middle of creating one of the  best scene that you’ve ever written.  We hope that we will never run into this brick wall during our careers, but this lapse in creativity is necessary for the following reasons.
1)      You need a break – even God rested on the seventh day. You need time to recharge the imagination station so that you won’t be so fatigued while you finish your body of work.
2)      Something’s not write - I’m a big believer in intuitive writing. There’s a reason that your mind is forcing you to stop at this point. Go back and take a look at what you’ve written so far. Maybe something needs to be edited before you can move on.
3)      Is this the end? –I know that you’ve got five thousand words left to write before you can hand it into the publisher, but maybe, your mind has reached the natural end to the idea. Take a look. Maybe you can add more to what you’ve written so far. If this isn’t the end, you’ll continue on.
4)      Are we still on the same page – Is your story still moving in the direction that you planned or has it taken a detour that has caused your brain to slow down to make sure the new pieces of the puzzle still fit.
5)      Gut check time – Are you still excited about the idea? Are you excited about what you’ve written so far? If so, great! Keep going. If not, maybe you need to rework the idea or scrap it and start over.

The bottom line is don’t panic when you suddenly can’t write another word. There’s probably a good reason that your brain had to stop where it did. Just relax, take a breath and find out why before you continue with your piece.

Next week: A few ideas on how to overcome writer’s block.

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