Writer’s Block Party: Divide and Conquer

life_of_a_writer__by_seetheduck

Life of a Writer by Seetheduck on Deviantart

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.

And so it begins and ends. Day after day. Everyone else comes up with something. But you? Nothing. Zip. Zilch. Nada.

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”.

Not yet?

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/

Photo courtesy of Seetheduck on Deviantart

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About Carrie Fulk Vaughn

Carrie Fulk Vaughn (C.V. Madison) is a licensed massage therapist, author of LGBTQIA, Urban fantasy, horror & romance. Gamer geek full of Mountain Dew and schadenfreude pie. Twitter addict. Ball jointed doll collector.

Posted on August 6, 2014, in For Writers and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. The idea of reading works for me — especially short stories. Like yourself, I often feel “I could do better than this! I would change this ending and make the MC say ….” I’ve never thought of browsing submissions guidelines, though. That’s a good one, esp. for magazines.

  2. I’m always looking for new ideas. Sometimes just reading a submission call for short stories gets my brain working in different ways. Just today I picked up three new ideas because of sub calls. 🙂

    Reading anything good?

  3. Yes, I’ve been reading some really good books (IMO); I’ve discovered Carol Higgins Clark and am enjoying her humorous whodunits. Just finished “Iced” and “Twang.” The latter has such a cast of quirky characters; you suspect every one of them of some sort of skulduggery once you’ve seen them a few times.

    My computer has been acting funny; I didn’t know if my comment had gone through or not.

  4. I’ve read Carol Higgins Clark for YEARS! She’s one of my favorites. (Speaking of which, I need to collect her books again!)

    As for the post, I have moderation turned on because I was getting so much spam. I try to approve right away, but sometimes I’m not near technology to do so. Sorry it took so long!

  5. I’ve only just started reading her books and really enjoyed the ones I’ve read. I especially like the Christmas-themed ones she’s written together with her mother.

    I want to try leaving a review for some on Amazon soon. I’ve only just gotten into that, as you can’t leave reviews until you’ve actually bought something from them. I bought and read Joel Canfield’s e-book, “A Long Hard Look,” which he classifies as a cozy mystery. I enjoyed reading it on his site, someday box.com, and wanted to read the polished version.

    My problem is that WordPress shuts me out of my one site, christinegoodnough.com, and I have to keep logging in. Started this week. Even if I’m at the dashboard and go back to the main page, I have to log in again. 😦 Every time I make a comment, I have to log in again and it appears that the comment gets lost. However, I see it gets posted even though I can’t view it right off. \

    (Now here we go again! Wish I knew how to cure this.)

  6. You won’t be able to view comments on my blog right away because I have to approve each comment before it is posted. This is to cut down on spammers posting on my pages. When I turned it off, a lot of spam posts showed up. I don’t like comments from spammers.

    As for the log in problems, you might contact wordpress directly and ask them what’s going on. They should be able to help you. If you go into your dashboard, there’s a little blue window that pops up saying “how can I help” and you can use that.

  1. Pingback: Daily Prompt: Writer’s Block Party | tnkerr-Writing Prompts and Practice

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