Writer’s Block Party: Divide and Conquer
Posted by Carrie Fulk Vaughn
Ah, writer’s block! The harbinger of death for writers, poets and authors.
No writer or author in my small sample has escaped the clutches of their best frienemy. You sit in front of a blank document rather it be Word, Open Office or Scrivener and stare at the screen. You want to write. You need to write. Nothing is coming. Not even the repulsive drivel you’ll later delete or edit away. Not a single word enters your brain. Every attempt wafts like smoke through the empty chasm of your mind, arid like the Mohave and complete with tumbleweeds.
And those stupid weeds don’t give you a damned bit of help, either.
The longer you stymie in the Block, the more locked down your brain becomes. You have to write. But you can’t write. But you need to write! But nothing comes out! No ideas. WHAT DO I DO!?
You browse Twitter. You filter through Facebook. You find something to occupy your mind while you sit in front of the computer screen. You get distracted, but you can’t wander off and go do something else because you’ll never get anything written.
Things that work for me?
Browse various publisher’s calls for submission. I’m not talking just the genre they’re looking for, but the short stories they are looking at. Sometimes the prompts they give will spark an idea. Check out Red Moon Press. Their descriptions of what they’re looking for can sometimes spark an idea. Can’t write short stories? That’s fine. Maybe it will give you a book idea. How about Carina Press? Or my personal favorite Jupiter Gardens Press. I’ve always had good luck with Circlet Press as well. Sometimes the ideas just leap right out of the page and smack you in the face like a tiny dwarf ninja.
Didn’t work for ya?
Why not try putting down the keyboard and coffee and picking up a good book to read. Grab an old favorite and read it again. Pick up that book your great aunt Linda has been shoving in your face every holiday dinner since 2006. Peruse book blog sites and see what the reviewers pick as a decent read. Read some good fanfiction. Or other good fanfiction. Or some really terrible fanfiction. Nothing gets me cranked up faster than reading something horrible and thinking “I could do better than this”.
Watch a movie. I have a thing for From Paris with Love, Sin City and Bunraku. All of them give me ideas.
Nope. Okay. Here’s the big kicker.
A lot of the time, I’m so busy on social media that I can’t write or get ideas. I refresh Twitter every time I see there are new posts available. I read and read and click links and post in the #amwriting tag. I respond to people there. All in all, these are good things. But not while you’re writing. While you’re focused on everyone else and what they’re doing, you’re distracting yourself from your work. This is good when you’re on overload. But when it comes down to time to write again, close the window. Do it. Stop reading Twitter. Stop browsing Facebook. The great thing about social media is it will be there when you get back to it. It’s out there in cyberspace. Put it down, set a timer and write for ten minutes. It helps.
And now that I’ve just told you to close social media, it can also help. I chat with friends in a chat room. We do power hours. The same can be done on Twitter. Just as long as they aren’t distracting you, it can be a big help just having someone else to sit with you and share the burden of block.
Did any of these help you? Do you have something I didn’t list? Please put it in the comments. There are times when I can’t break the block with the things I do. I could use your suggestion, too.
This is part of the WordPress daily post. To participate: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/writers-block-party/
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