writer’s block: chapter I

Ever sat there, in front of a blank screen (or even half-full), finger tips ready on the key board, resting on whatever starting position comes natural to you? For me that’s FEW on the left and MOP on the right (experiment just conducted). Without trying to divine what universal spiritual meaning those two words have for my writing, I can imagine without looking that those six letters have my finger prints indented on their surface.

We’ve all been there.

Whether it be an academic essay, a creative work, or just leisurely scribbling, it is frustrating. To get out of it, there are as many theories as there are writers, perhaps even more. I say go for trial and error: search for tips, try them out, and see what works. For me, there is one simple trick at the beginning of a text which will ease up any writer’s block eventually. It’s so easy it’s even it the word itself.

What magic is this, you ask? What enchanted rabbit may skip out of the hat and dissolve the tight blockade to your writing? Well, let me stall no more. The easy solution is: just write. That’s right. Just sit down, ignore the pale blinding face of anxiety glaring at you from the screen and wipe it out with words; any words, really. It doesn’t matter if they are good, bad, eloquent or contrived. A sculptor needs material to work with, and that’s what you’re creating.

Once you’ve got the writing going, it’ll soon get easier. The material you get down might not be fantastic, but it’s something to work with. Now, this strategy works for me, but everyone’s different. Some might say take a walk, do something different – for me that feels too much like procrastination.

Others say set a fixed schedule, and there’s a more relatable tactic: a word or time limit per day/week will force you to write. Currently, I’m working under a 1,000 words per day scheme on my YA fantasy novel, although, granted, I don’t always keep it. Some days, there is no time. That is a lie, and something I’ll have to work on. All you have is time; it’s all about prioritising.

For the sooner you start writing, the sooner you can lean back and pat yourself on the back with some actual fiction/play/poetry.

And a final note that my teachers have taught me, in relation to the above: nobody cares if you write or not; nobody cares about your writer’s block – so you have to care enough to break it.

N.

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3 thoughts on “writer’s block: chapter I

  1. For me just writing to break writer’s block doesn’t work, though I know it does work for many people. I’ve found that going over my notes or fleshing out my outlines can help get me back on track. Also, I love that last thought to your post. Very insightful.

    • Thanks for commenting! I see what you mean. Sometimes that’s the route I take too. I was going to suggest something like that in the next post, writer’s block: chapter II. What I find is that to begin something, just writing works fine, but once you get up to ten or twenty thousand, there’s got to be an element of planning involved, in which case I resort to fleshing out plans etc. Easy to get sidetracked when just writing freely!

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