When I was seven years old I won my first writing award. I was hooked, proudly declaring that I would one day be a writer. So maybe my two paragraph essay on the California Gold Rush wasn’t exactly Pushcart Prize material, and my grammatical prowess wouldn’t advance much past those early years, but I’d stumbled upon my passion. I was hooked. Imbued with a burning desire to put pen to paper I embarked upon a life-long romance with the written word.
Let us pause for the cliche of the day…
“Be careful what you ask for, you just might get it.”
I now make a living -meager though it may be- by the pen (or keyboard, rather). Funny thing about paychecks, they generally only come when you’ve completed something. Not-so-funny thing about writing for a living… Writer’s Block
Or as I like to call it, “Literary Constipation”. To say it sucks, would be about all I’d be able to do at the moment, considering I’m suffering from a binding case of it presently. So, what is a blocked writer to do? I would not advise copious consumption of coffee, or other things might get very, um, “un-blocked. Just trust me on this one. Instead I look to the wisdom of those who came before me. Here are a few tips I gleaned from endless hours of web surfing (rather than actually writing).
Walk Away: Take a break, go do something entirely unrelated to the piece you’re working on. If distance makes the heart grow fonder, perhaps it can also make the words flow more freely.
Make Up People: Some might term this, “Writing to your audience”, but seeing that I rarely get to sit in front of an audience, I call it, “Making up people”. The idea being, that if you can put yourself into the shoes of the person who will be reading your piece, you can then be inspired to write for them.
Dance! I know you may be inclined to say you’d look like a jackass, and you may, but there is something in the simple act of dancing, letting go, movin’ and a grovin’, that frees up the creative juices.
Talk It Out: I’m pretty lucky to belong to a vibrant group of writers across a plethora of concentrations. Picking up a phone, or heading out for coffee, with a fellow writer (or just a friend) and talking about where you’re stuck, can help you out of the doldrums.
Drink: This may also be referred to as the “Hemingway Theorem”. Though, I am by no means suggesting you become a suicidal alcoholic, I do think there can be inspiration at the bottom of a glass (or bottle, ahem). I do, however, suggest that you edit sober. Okay, so maybe you don’t have to dance with the Green Fairy, a nice hot cup of green tea may work as well. The point being; relax. Few things truly inspiring come from being forced out.
How do you deal with Writer’s Block?