The best cure for writer’s block? Stop thinking of it as a barricade, and think of it more as a path. I find that most people who deal with writer’s block think of it as a physical block that has to be broken down or overcome when it’s better to approach it as a figurative block.
Imagine your creative flow as a road. Perhaps it’s pretty steady at the moment and everything’s going great. You’re writing up a storm and the printer is spitting out pages, but suddenly you reach a brick wall. You’ve lost your momentum and you’re perplexed or perturbed. Now most writers will just stare at that wall and bash their heads against it until it gives way, but perhaps choosing to turn left or right would be more beneficial.
This is where the figurative block comes in. Perhaps you walk down a block or two, and you find a road that leads you back on track beyond the dead end, or maybe it takes a few or a multitude; regardless, at some point you should find your way, even if it means going all the way back and starting over.
What is it that you’re exactly doing walking up these blocks? You’re having an experience. It could be taken quite literally that you’re going for a walk through town (perhaps to get groceries or just have a breath of fresh air). Maybe you’re watching a movie, reading a book, or listening to music. Or perhaps you’re taking big steps and going on a vacation or extensive adventure. Walking down these roads could be anything (heck, even eating can count), but what matters is that you’re broadening your creative horizons by having experiences to draw from. At some point you’re going to find the right road that leads you back on the right track, or sometimes on a new, more inspired path altogether.
To put it plainly, writer’s block comes about from a lack of inspiration. Rather than sit at your keyboard and question your talent, why not take writer’s block as an opportunity to indulge yourself in leisureness or activity? Why not let your mind rest up as well as absorb more ideas? There’s no need to fret, because the fact is inspiration doesn’t magically come about by staring at a blank page; it comes from living and being active. See the world, find a story, and make yourself hunger to fill that page, because you just can’t force-feed inspiration.
I went and saw The Campaign last night, and let me tell you, it was a lil slice of heaven.
Just a lil’ kick in the pants to get all ya’ll writin’ today. Just take a few minutes and reflect on what it is you want to write on all ya’ll’s blank pages.
If you’re anything like me and lead an active, social, busy life, the idea of tackling a large project can be very overwhelming. Any writer could tell you how difficult it can be sometimes scheduling hours to work on their craft. Yet there seems to be a folly among a great deal of writers, where many believe that a novel or screenplay is seemingly written overnight. If you pick up your pen with this mindset, you’re going to fall flat on your face.
It’s like watching a television program on Mountain Climbing, and thinking “hell, I could do that!”. It isn’t until you’ve invested into expensive gear, books, or tutorials, and you’re standing at the base of the mountain before you suddenly realize you’re in way over your head.
Then come the tears, and the shame. You think yourself an idiot for ever believing you could reach the top. You can see where others have planted their flags of success, and how much longer the climb will take you than you imagined.
There is however, light at the end of this daunting tunnel. First, you need to STOP thinking that writers do all of the work in a matter of weeks. Many successful writers will tell you, that their novel or screenplay was achieved after dividing up the workload. Beautiful cave stalagmites are made not from instant buildup, but gentle mineral deposits overtime. Can this be a good working style as well?
Very few people have the privilege of waking up every day to greet their novel head on, and do this 7 days a week. Some authors like Ken Follet can take years working, jotting down a few sentences in their notebooks after the kids go to sleep.
Do yourself a favour, like I did for myself, and DIVIDE UP YOUR WORKLOAD. Julia Cameron, author of the Artist’s Way suggests “small doable actions”. Just chip away week by week, doing a little bit of work at time. Soon, you’ll have something to show for it.
Here’s an example of what my writing schedule might look like in a typical week:
Sometimes I write more than this. Sometimes I write a lot less. Don’t beat yourself up if you have a full-time job, and your only writing time is Saturday morning while you’re kids are watching cartoons, or after your long study hours at college.
The trick, is to divide up your workload, so that you don’t become overwhelmed with your project. I tend to get very discouraged and stop writing altogether when I think like that. So pick up the pen, give yourself time, give yourself a goal, and write.
Here is a blank schedule for all those who need one:
FREE BLANK WEEKLY SCHEDULE