Sunday, December 6, 2015

What Is Writer's Block?

Writer's block.  We've all heard the term.  In fact, most of us have used the term.  But what does it really mean?

Sometimes it's real.  It means that you're at a point in your story where the ideas aren't flowing as well as they once did.  You struggle to figure out the next sentence or get that dialogue just right.  However, sometimes it's simply laziness.  Why do I say that?  Because it's an excuse I've used on occasion myself.

Let's face it - writing is hard.  It's fun, rewarding, and gratifying, but it's also hard, especially if you want to do it right.  It can be frustrating when we're not at our best or when we can't figure out what to say next, but many of us often use writer's block as a reason to stop writing.  "I just need time," we'll say, or "I'll come back to it and be even better."  These are mealy mouthed bullshit reasons that don't let us push past it.

And pushing past writer's block is what we need to be doing.  If you find yourself staring at the computer screen without knowing what to say, just say anything.  Yes, it might be crap, and you might have to re-do it when you're done, but it's like using Drano - do everything you can to clear out the gunk so that real ideas can return.

So what if you write terribly in a writer's block period?  You're writing.  You're fiddling with what works and what doesn't, and your brain keeps processing stuff.  I've often compared writing to going to the gym - the more you don't do it, the easier it becomes to keep not doing it, and the harder it gets to get back into writing shape when you return.

Keep pushing.  Push past your laziness, your ego, and your blank screen until you clear out the garbage.  You could say you're just wasting time, but if you're not writing, is it any different?  After all, nothing is going on paper, so isn't that the same thing?  Or are we so worried about wasted effort that we shy away from it?  Who knows - you may find a gem in that confused mess of a mind.

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