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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Five Steps to Avoid While Suffering From Writer's Block

One of my friends mentioned writer’s block the other day and since I've had a spell of it these last few months, I thought I should reach into my heart and pull out the best advice I have for this horrible condition. I say horrible, because as writers, words are to flow from our head onto the computer screen like honey from a hive. Anyway, let’s say we’re stuck and can’t think of anything to write. The blank page stares back and the cursor flashes like a train coming at us in the middle of the night. We need to scramble off the tracks and figure out what to say, what to write and communicate with those who are waiting to hear from us. Easy, right? Okay, well maybe not. Sometimes we’re stuck in some sort of quicksand that sucks the life right out of us—pulling us deeper and deeper down—farther and farther away from any signs of intelligent life.

1. At this point, you might feel like a chimpanzee. If you jump on the keyboard and hit all the letters, simultaneously something wonderful will happen or you’ll just jam your computer. This is the point where you need to come to terms with your ‘condition’. Acceptance is crucial, because computer repair can get expensive. (Trust me, I know this from experience.) Ignoring this deficiency will not heal or improve anything. It is time to face the facts and come to terms with your blockage.

2. Your first course of action might be to seek out nourishment. You need food--chocolate covered bananas, barbecued chicken pizza and coconut cream pie—perhaps giant burgers dripping with cheese? Now that you’re satiated, the words should come but instead you have an ache in your gut and it’s moving towards your heart. Once writer’s block gets deep inside of you, it’s called something else—ever hear of constipation? Sorry, but it’s true—food isn't the answer.

3. How about music? Would the spiritual music your grandmother enjoys help pull the emotion from your soul? Does rock and roll distract you with memories of times you’d rather not talk about and certainly don’t want to write down? Will soothing music inspire you or put you to sleep? Will singers and lyrics push you to write things you didn't intend to write? Don’t rely on music because it can sway you in various directions like the wind.

4. Booze? Is losing all your inhibitions a good idea? Will you create prose and poetry like never before? Perhaps you will write the best stuff but is that the side you want to portray to the entire world? I suppose if it’s good enough for Bukowski and Hemingway it’s good enough for the rest of us but it isn't my first choice to tackle writer’s block. Furthermore, it would lull me to sleep. Yawn. Not only is it impossible to create something while sleeping but also the hangover the following day doesn't help either.

5. Illegal Substances—Might spark something for a short time and this is an uncomfortable and dangerous ditch for those who have made a bad decision. Anxious for an original idea, but too miserable to realize the consequences, this choice can work, but can also kill you. Forget being desperate, because there is hope. Don’t do it.


My recommendation is to put a controversial word on that blank page. Stare at it as long as you want until you begin adding related words. It may look like a modern poem at first but soon something should evolve. If you can’t think of more words to add, then leave it alone for a few hours to steep like a teabag in a pot of warm water. The word will brew in your head and when you return, words should fall like stars onto your creation. If not, return to step one.

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11 comments:

  1. 1. I'd jam it!

    2. Oh, yes...food will appease the muse!

    3. Music? I have a soundtrack for writing.

    4. Booze? Bad idea. Really bad idea.

    5. Illegal substances? Too much of a control freak. These take away control....

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  2. Those are great! You had me at barbecued chicken pizza...

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  3. Fabulous advice.
    Coconut Cream Pie ! hello sweetie, come here right now, I have a fork
    or hands. When Coconut Cream pie is involved it doesn't matter.
    I woke up thinking of Coconut Cream Pie. I never dream of food.

    cheers, parsnip

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  4. In regards to booze and illegal substances, I take one look at the clown who thinks he's the mayor of Toronto and say uh uh.

    I recommend chocolate.

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  5. Mmm chocolate and wine. Wait, what were we talking about? ;)
    Good advice, Eve. I find that if I'm suffering from writer's block is probably because I'm lacking inspiration. I'm too caught up in the humdrum of daily life for creativity to flow. I need to step away - maybe sit in a park or take a bath - clear my head - and something usually flows from that.

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  6. Illegal Substances

    I knew I should have taken a hit from that blunt last weekend. *regrets*

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  8. Hey Eve,

    A controversial word and stare at it! That should work. Although, is there really such a thing as writer's block? If you write about having writer's block then you are actually writing and this means that the writer's block aint necessarily so.

    My writing is sporadic because I spend so much time trying to be interactive. I could write more but do I dazzle anybody with my inane gibberish? Maybe. However, if I ever did have this thing called actual writer's block, I have Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet superstar to take over.

    Judging by my comment, perhaps I have commenter's block! :)

    All the best, Eve.

    Gary

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  9. Hey Eve! Great ideas...I think I'll go with the chocolate and music. Sounds good to me.

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  10. Funny. I think I've been tempted by the urge to jump on my keyboard a few times . . . but held back. I think getting a word or two on the page really helps. That's why I write in journals and write with writing prompts. Usually, that helps me get past the stuck point and get words going.

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  11. I have never heard of your idea for writer's block before! The others on the list I have heard about, but never the controversial word. Thanks for giving me a new idea. :)
    ~Jess

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