Overcoming Writer’s Block


This week an epal I met through BootsnAll.com asked me for some suggestions on how to ease her writer’s block. I was right about to offer up some suggestions on the blog when Larry passed me his new column to post in Larry’s Corner. Guess what it was on? Yep, the big pain in the arse. The easy excuse. The arrogant topic for silly cocktail parties filled with lazy wannabes. Writer’s Block.

I don’t write enough to cramp up and claim that nothing, absolute nothing is coming to mind. But here are four things that always get me going.

1) Reading.
Reading good writing is like a shot of concentrated ambition. I can’t read too many pages before I’ve learned a few new adjectives, realized I can only become a better writer if I take a Flora & Fuana class right now, or have remembered a story that I have yet to share.

Reading bad writing gives me that I-can-do-it-better attitude, and I’m off to the pen and bar napkins just as fast.

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2) Going to the movies. Ideas, projects and deadlines can be overwhelming for me. To the point of a perfectionist’s paralysis. A process that works for me is akin to dessert first. Instead of saying that I’ll give myself a cinema treat as soon as I meet the deadline, I clear my head and calm my stressed out nerves by going to see a light movie. Preferably a romantic comedy. My usual fave movies–crime/mob/violence don’t work. I love them, but I don’t relax and let my mind go soft. And I need a good hour to clear the head so it can do it’s thing. When I get out of the movie, I’m usually ready to sit down and work hard. And if the movie was really good, I’m ready to work, and start writing my own movie script too.

3) Change of Scenery. Some people can only write at home in front of their computer, or in their special writing outfit. Not me. I find great inspiration in being somewhere else. Many of my ideas start in a cafe, bar or restaurant. Probably because if I’m out, then it’s not like work. I’m out having fun, start to relax, then the muse strikes and will usually keep going through two pints, or lunch and then dessert. I’ll write on whatever I can, and have gotten in the habit of taking my Jornada, journal, or pad of paper with me and I just run with it. Then I go home and fix it up a bit.

4) Edit Later. When I feel the need to force myself to write, I remind myself first, that it’s just important to get the pen moving on the page. Whatever I’m writing about. Whatevers on my mind. Whatever recent emotion calls for a vent. Whatever crush needs to be indulged. I tell myself to just get the hand moving, the fingers typing, and not to worry about how good it is. Editing, trashing, and rewriting can come later. It’s more important to just write.

For other takes on Writer’s Block, read:
Larry’s Corner: Writer’s Block
Suite 101: Writer’s Block Page, including these featured articles:
Comfortable, But Not Creative: How expanding your comfort zone can lead to better creative writing and prevent writers block.
Write About the Unforgettable Ones:Write about the memorable people in your life to help prevent writer’s block.
The Write to Read:How reading can help you beat writer’s block.