Writer’s Block is probably the most annoying, disruptive and varying condition in our industry. It can affect anyone who has ever taken pen to paper and it doesn’t discriminate. It’s a term used so often it’s almost a placeholder. It’s an excuse to an editor, an easy dismissal when someone asks you “how that book of yours is going”. We even use it to convince ourselves it’s okay we didn’t try to push through that last scene. I know it won’t be any good today. I’ve got writer’s block.
Personally, I seem to suffer this maddening affliction on a daily basis. I sit down to write something (anything!) and my fingers don’t even graze the keys before I’m distracting myself. It’s not that I don’t know what to write, and it isn’t even that Ben is hovering over my shoulder ready to make a snide remark. I know I can write something, and I know that it’ll be decent.
Well, it’s any number of things, to be honest. It’s the fact that inspiration can be so fleeting that what seemed like the best idea in the world yesterday suddenly seems so thoughtless and insignificant today.
It might be my mood, how my day at work went. Frustration built up over the course of a busy shift filled with inconvenience can make any remotely creative thought feel lifeless. So much of a story comes alive through the sense of self of the person telling it. If you don’t feel good, it’s hard to convince a reader your characters do.
From time to time I’ll get that subtle nagging feeling in the pit of my stomach. That notion that perhaps this story is just a little too big for me. And that my telling it will never do it the justice it deserves…
More than likely, I stop myself from writing simply because I feel I have a million other things that deserve more attention.
But I don’t dread writer’s block. He appears before me far too often. And yes, occasionally he’ll growl, but most pets do now and then no matter how well-trained.
There are so many different way to defeat this beast, a quick google search will take you to any and all of them. But every writer will have their own way of doing battle, simply because writer’s block will attack all of us in a different way.
Personally I enjoy the Interview Method, essentially writing an interview with my character asking them everything I can think of and then writing their answers as well. But as a Journalism graduate I’m a little biased.
Below are just a few of a vast number of places where you can get help to overcome your own form of writer’s block. But whichever you choose, the end result should be the same. You need to keep writing. Always.