Face the block

By JCrawford Writing Tips 1 Comment on Face the block

Writer’s block happens. It is a fact of life in this vocation. At some point, your brain will throw up it’s hands in frustration and shut down.

As usual, I’m a walking, talking, and writing, example of the thing I’m discussing. What am I having writer’s block about right now? What to talk to you about next.

Now if that isn’t irony, I don’t know what is!

In my experiences so far, I get writer’s block over the same kinds of things almost every time.

I have too much to write, and can’t pick out one thing. I respond by locking my brain down, and not pushing through the discomfort.

I don’t know what to write next because I don’t know the audience. Asking myself what I’d like to read about fails, because I already know I’m not the audience.

I’ve come up with an uncomfortable hole in the plot, or a development in the plot that I feel angsty about, and would rather avoid than deal with.

Those three situations boil down to this: I’m overwhelmed and I shut down.

Another thing that happens regularly is that I lose interest in what I’ve written. I put it down and don’t pick it up again. This is one of the luxuries of being an independent author, not contractually obligated to push out the next new product. This situation can be a little easier to fix: just start writing something new. When that project stops being fun, go back to an earlier one. Don’t stop writing.

Now, the former problem of shutting down due to your brain being filled with dreck… It takes an act of will to break that block. Yes, you can go do whatever it is that inspires you, and hope that your personal Muse will crack an egg on your head… but that’s hardly reliable.

I’m practicing what I preach as I write this. My Muse is silent (you evil little tart, you), and I am not taking a bath (my favorite way to think). I’m sitting here, in front of this keyboard, writing about this experience.

Muse. Bath. Whatever. The only thing that will make you write is you.

Sit down. Start writing. Be fearless. Whatever you write about will be more powerful and important than succumbing to being overwhelmed. Don’t think. Write.

It does not matter if what you write is a tangent from the storyline you’re working on. That tangent may give you insight into a character or situation, and could be really useful in developing your project. Don’t discard it out of hand because it doesn’t appear to “fit”.

Can’t manage to work on the project that has your guts in a knot? Write something completely new and completely different. Let a change of focus flush the crap out of your soul.

Watch me circle around. Here it comes. The solution for writer’s block due to being overwhelmed is EXACTLY THE SAME as how to deal with losing interest in what you’ve written. DO NOT STOP WRITING.

Thank you for being a reason to break my own block. I hope I helped you do the same.

Best wishes,
James @crawford4033 www.bloodsoakedandwriting.com


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One comment
  • Zachary Ricks
    Posted on June 24, 2012 at 3:47 am

    Definitely agree that the thing that makes you write is you. But let me throw in a word or two here for not abandoning a project that you’ve lost interest in. There’s no substitute for finishing. If you’ve lost interest in a project, stop, go back to the beginning, and look for what made you passionate about the project in the first place. Find that spark that made you put pen to paper, fingers to keyboard, mouth to microphone, and rekindle that fire.
    And even if you can’t find that fire, you can sure add it.
    Then go! Go! GO!

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