The dreaded writer’s block. Whatever should we do? Go to Starbucks and juice up our veins with high doses of caffeine and chatter? Go to the mountains/the lake/the skateboard park and get all kinds of ommmm-zen going? Or just hunker down and write? If we force it, this might be as fruitful as squeezing blood from a stone. BTW, if you are able to get that blood-stone thing going, be sure to let everyone know, that’s a book we’d love to read!
Here’s the bottom line: you need a creative outlet. If you can help it, don’t push it just to make a deadline. Writing under a deadline can certainly get the job done, but you want to put your best writing into your project.
Here is one suggestion: Diversionary tactics can be highly successful. Do something different for awhile, like facebooking with a few hundred friends or <gasp> meeting one in person for some real face time. Hug a tree. Bake cookies. Take a nap.
Best of all, READ. Read an author’s writing that you are trying to emulate. For instance, there is one particular author, Gregory Maquire, author of “Wicked,” whose style really suits my next project. I have quite a few of his books, so when I feel stuck, I stop banging my head against the wall and re-read at least one of his chapters. This is a hybrid diversionary tactic which has done wonders for me. However, I am not reading with the intent to get lost in the story, I am STUDYING it. I keep pen and paper handy and jot down:
- Really well-composed lines
- A clever string of conversation
- A descriptive method he uses to set the tone or setting
Invariably, his writing energizes me and a good start for my next chapter comes flying off my fingertips.
If, after trying these diversionary tactics, you find that writing is still blocked, try the following:
- Ensure your room is dark and quiet
- Ensure that paper and pen are nearby, preferably on your nightstand
- Take a nap and let your subconscious work on the issue. Say aloud, “Okay, brain, I’ve given you some inspiration. I am going to rest my body so while I’m sleeping, let my subconscious do the work.”
- After you wake up, jot down any ideas right away, no matter how far-fetched they may seem.
Just have the confidence that it will come back – it always does!
Keep writing and keep sharing!