The writer has been writing for years. The computer screen and paper have become normal to the writer, and when the writer is ready to sit down and write, that is what happens. And yet, as the writer sits in front of the computer screen, an empty document accusingly staring back, the writer knows quite suddenly that the writer had no idea what to do.
It’s a trend among writers. Some people call it writer’s block. Some people don’t call it anything, they just look desperately toward their computer screen and hope that something will come into their head. Some say that it’s just laziness; some that it is the worst thing to ever befall a writer. In the end, most people admit that it does exist. The monster that plagues writers is, unlike some other things connected to writers, not a fantasy, and it shall bring terror to all writers at some point in their career.
What most people don’t care to mention is that that’s okay. Of course there will be times when you would want to try sweeping your lawn free of all dirt over writing your novel. You will almost certainly find that on some days you would rather categorize every item in Wal-Mart according to the expiration date. And that’s not unusual; it’s even normal. Yet there comes a time when you might be suffering from writer’s block, and you need to write. It does not matter the pain that shoots through your body with every word, for it simply must be written.
And then, what must be done?
There are so many things on the internet telling you how to combat this terribly malady that spreads through the writing community’s system one person at a time. Looking through them might show you ways you never thought of to help you write past the block. Then again, it might not.
What some people don’t seem to understand is that when some writers say writer’s block, they don’t mean that they don’t have the energy to write, or they can’t seem to find that perfect word. Most of the time when writers use the dreaded term, they mean their creativity has run dry. We feel we have lost connection to the story, whether it manifests itself in a morbid fear of returning, or being unable to find what to do next. With writers of fiction, creativity is vital. Stories cannot live without it.
The best way I have found to keep writing through writer’s block is to think and find what the problem is. To quote Professor Hamilton, from Bryan Davis’s Circles of Seven: “When you recognize an enemy’s weapons, they are easier to resist. If you are caught unaware, however, they are much more effective.”
Whether it truly is procrastination or something worse, when you find what causes you trouble, you can combat it more easily. Finding what made you be able to succeed in the first place and relying on that or finding a way to revive it to fight the block helps immensely.
Or, in reference to Donita K. Paul’s Dragon Keeper Chronicles: Wear pink. It confuses the enemy. *
Confuse yourself; confuse the writer’s block. If you write Young Adult books, try your hand at books aimed for young readers. If you write Historical Romance, try a Space Opera. If you write High Fantasy, write something about Secret Agents. For a few minutes, try something entirely different that will make your head spin. If you hate it, you’ll be glad to get back to your novel. If you like it, you might find yourself revived to go on with your novel.
There are so many ways people say they avoid or combat writer’s block that I could not write them all here. Find the way you do it. Don’t let it conquer. Find a way to keep writing, and keep enjoying it if you can, and you won’t regret it.
Do you struggle with writer’s block? How do you handle it?
*I’m afraid I don’t, at the moment, have the book on hand to quote.
Another way to fight Writer’s Block, if you feel you have lost connection with the story, is to read through what you already have (assuming you have already written stuff in the story). You may find it terrible, but almost without fail I find something clever, and that often helps me to get inspired again. Or, it could make me suddenly feel too sick to write. :-p
Agreed. Characters are almost always the reason I get back to writing, and I often remember that when I read through old writing. I can’t leave my characters–!