Friday, March 12, 2010
"A psychological condition in which a writer, esp. a professional writer, is unable to produce material, usually of a literary or creative kind."
A quick search the internet will find many reasons and opinions for writer’s block and ten times as many suggestions on how to overcome it. I'm not going to go into all of them--but simply pass on what works for me.
I think the main reason I have bouts of writer’s block, is because what I imagine in my head is so much grander then how it comes out on paper. My internal editor is working over time, constantly telling me that a phrase or scene is “not good enough” until my creative juices slow down and become mired in thick sludge.
"If I waited for perfection, I would never write a word." (Margaret Atwood)
Some cures that work for me:
* Establish a routine.
I write best in the morning, before the world has a chance to pull me away from my desk with appointments and family commitments.
* Allow yourself to write badly.
My internal editor is always working overtime, but I’ve tried free writing, poetry, taking my characters out to lunch—all as ways to circumvent the blank page.
* Change your routine.
Okay, I know this is opposite of the first suggestion but it really works for me. If I do something physical instead of sitting at my desk and worrying about that blank page, my thoughts tend to “unblock.” Also, I am a “plotter” who uses a storyboard and an outline for each book. If I’m stuck, often diving in and writing anything by the “seat of my pants” gets me started again.
"You don't start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it's good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it. That's why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence." (Octavia Butler)
What tricks of the trade do you use to overcome writer’s block? Or are you one of the few that isn't challenged by its existence?