Thursday, July 14, 2011

Writer's Block

I think there are four different kinds of writer's block. There are probably more that I haven't thought of, but these four are the ones that I have personally dealt with.

#1 - Procrastinator's Block - You really want to write, but for some reason, something else always seems more appealing. For instance, creating twelve blogs and then scheduling them to post one at a time over the space of a month. Hulu, flash games, Facebook, or a leisurely drive down Lake Rd. to admire all the fancy mansions. Some procrastination has led me to some very useful tools in my writing. The night I spent creating character bios with little pics and surveys infused my writing with a lot more realism. Unfortunately, most of my procrastinating is useless, and guilt ridden. The solution to this type of writer's block is to turn off your internet, unplug your tv, butt in chair. This is my most common problem.

#2 - Uninspired Block - Your brain feels like dead weight and you're sitting in your chair but nothing is coming out. When this is the case, attempting to keep doing what you're doing is going to be like slamming your head into a brick wall. Stop. Do something else for a little while. Exercise. Listen to inspiring music. Take a walk. Watch one of those movies that really moves you creatively. Have some caffeine. Rejuvenate yourself.

#3 - Burn Out Block -  A writer can't write ALL the time. I tried spending an entire day doing nothing but writing. It left me with a brain that felt like mashed potatoes. My spelling and grammar began to slip, and most of the last three hours of work had to be deleted in edits. Some of it barely made sense.  When uninspired, I look for inspiration, when I've overworked myself, I take a very different approach. When my creative mind feels like mush, I exercise the other side. Logic puzzles, time management games, cleaning, reorganizing CDs or bookshelves are all things you can do to exercise your logical left brain and give your right brain some down time. 

#4 - Naysayer Block - This is the inner editor saying, "Look at what you just wrote. That is pompous crap. No one will ever want to read this. You have no talent." Kick your inner editor in the nuts. That'll shut anyone up. Trying to edit while writing is counter productive. Editing uses your left brain. Writing uses your right brain. Keep your focus on your writing. The time for editing is later. I know it's hard. I actually had to blindfold myself an hour a day for a week to get into the habit of writing without reading my work back after every few sentences. Here are a couple of mantras to help you get past your inner editor. *You can't judge your own work effectively when you're so close to it. Wait. If you still think it sucks when you're editing it next month, you'll be able to change it. *Everyone occasionally writes crap. *Plenty of published authors EXCLUSIVELY write crap. *Practice makes perfect... competent. Even if what you just wrote IS crap, and you won't know that until you read it back in a month or so, every word you write takes you one step closer to mastering... not sucking at your craft. 
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