Thursday, June 26, 2008

Choppin' the Block

So... I've been feeling a bit incomplete and inadequate lately since I haven't had a new story bubbling out of me. I don't know that I've ever really been blocked before. I usually write every day, most hours of the day, and have endless ideas and so forth. Sure I didn't always complete stories I was working on, but at least I was working -- constantly creating. But in the past several days, perhaps a week now, I haven't done one thing creative. I've been staring blankly at my computer screen, sometimes flipping back and forth between and all the while feeling completely empty up top. Perhaps I'm losing brain cells reading celebrity gossip daily. That's very possible. I suppose I like to read about people's whose lives are much more interesting than mine at the moment. [By the way... Angelina's still preggo.] At any rate, not writing has made for incredibly LONG days.

So, in effort to crack through the block, I decided to Google writer's block and remedies to fight it. I came across the article, Top 10 Tips for Overcoming Writer's Block, written by Ginny Wiehardt at

Let's go through the list:

1. Implement a Writing Schedule: Carve out a time and then ignore the writer's block.

I will try this after I publish this post. Maybe I'll try Speak Coffee's suggestion and throw some people on a bus. And then there will be a bomb and something about 55-mph speed limit. :) Actually... I may have the start of a good idea brewing!

2. Don't Be Too Hard on Yourself: Turn the critical brain off.

The problem is that my brain isn't on in the first place! But perhaps I am worried about making my next story better than the last. That's a lot of pressure.

3. Think of Writing as a Regular Job, and Less as an Art: If we think about ourselves as laborers, as craftsmen, it's easier to sit down and write (says Stephen King).

I'm not sure that I think about writing as a job or as an art. It's my passion. So maybe it's both. Writing is what I do.

4. Take Time Off If You've Just Finished a Project: Writer's block could be a sign that your ideas need time to gestate.

Very good point. I'm sorta coming off a 1.5 year constant writing buzz. Maybe it's time to take a break. Maybe it's OK to take a break. It'll just make my days crappy, that's all. Maybe I need to spend time reading? I should probably start reading more than I have been -- short stories and what not. I feel like I need to prepare for school. Maybe this is the time that I need to really switch gears. Less fluff more hard stuff.

5. Set Deadlines and Keep Them: You might find a writing partner and agree to hold each other to deadlines in an encouraging, non-critical way.

Ummm... not sure about this. I had a publishing deadline for one of my novels that fell through. But I'm willing to give it a go if any other writer out there is also struggling.

6. Examine Deep-Seated Issues Behind Your Writer's Block: Write about your anxieties regarding writing or creativity. Read "The Artist's Way".

Wow, I do own "The Artist's Way"! I should crack that open later. Anxieties... I certainly have a few: What if the creative well is tapped dry forever? What if I go to school and I'm not taken seriously? What if I don't measure up? What if my dreams don't come true? What would happen IF I was actually published? Why is being published so scary to me?

Too many what ifs for comfort I think. Too much worrying, probably.

7. Work on More than One Project at a Time: Some writers find it helpful to switch back and forth from one project to another.

Not this writer. One project takes priority and the others suffer because of it.

8. Try Writing Exercises: Writing exercises can loosen up the mind and get you to write things you would never write otherwise.

Again... will try the people on a bus prompt. This tip also mentions freewriting, which I've never really done before. I suppose I could start with that as well.

9. Re-Consider Your Writing Space: Are your desk and chair comfortable? Space well-lit?

Yes, it's pretty comfy--although I have yet to be in the most ideal place for creativity. I really want a personal library, surrounded by hundreds of books, with a great wooden writing desk, and a big window with a great view.

One day.

10. Remember Why You Started to Write in the First Place: Look at what you're writing and why. Are you writing what you love, or what you think you should be writing?

Wow... this is sorta deep for me. What "should" I be writing? Why should I have to write anything? I think I need to reflect on this for a moment.

So, those are the tips. Helpful? Not sure. I was just reading an article about Tim Russert's son and had a little spark of an idea. Maybe I'll let that roll for a bit and then we'll see. All I know is that being blocked really sucks... a lot.


Speak Coffee said...

HEY! I never said anything about a bomb! lol ...

re: #9 - maybe I should think about this because those monk's cloisters at the Kenyon Reiview made from a damn lot of productivity. I didn't even have internet! *gasp!*

Although ... would you like to share work over the summer? (share with me that is) I'm not in a workshop until after labor day. We should talk more if you're interested.

Anonymous said...

Hey! I read an earlier post about chick lit and I thought this might interest you...

Tanya said...

Hey, that was good! Thanks for sharing it with me :)


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