Sunday, January 22, 2012


Despite the vague, one-worded title, I am not here to talk about building blocks. (Even though they're awesome) I'm also not here to talk about digestive system blocks. (You should probably see your doctor about that or cut off on all of that cheese you're eating)

I'm here to talk about writer's block. Or as I like to call it, That Really Bad Thing That Happens While You're Writing. Obviously, you can see why most people like to call it Writer's Block. TRBTTHWYW is too long of an acronym and it's also very vague with a lot of possible meanings. A lot of bad things can happen while you write. For instance, your (imaginary) cat could have eaten your (also imaginary) hamster. You might have forgotten to set a timer and wind up burning that cake you've been baking. Your monster fighting siblings might have accidentally brought back a man-eating chimera that wasn't quite dead yet. (If you have monster fighting siblings, give me a call. I'd love to meet them.)

Ahem, back to the topic at hand. Writer's block may come from a series of things. It's not a good excuse for you to drop your current project and swear of writing forever. Well, you could do that if you really wanted to, but while doing that you might cross the line from writer to normal person. The normal person world is a scary and rational place. 

Everyone encounters writer's block at least once in their writing life and overcoming it is what separates the dreamers from the achievers. (I sound like a self help book. Aaaah) Writer's block isn't as much of a block as it is a wall. A mental wall that you build for yourself. Here are a few ways to blow that sucker up.

1. Take a break
This break is different from that break you took from playing the piano. I know you haven't touched that keyboard in five years. By take a break, I mean put your writing on hold while you unwind and let your brain recharge. Take a walk, go shopping, go for a jog, read a book, take a bubble bath, sing sea chanties with your dog. Do things that can fill your mind back up with ideas and creativity. The most important part of this is to go back to your story. Don't just up and ditch.

2. Go back to the drawing board
I don't care if you're a panster and it's against your religion to plan. The reason you might be having so much trouble writing is probably because you don't know what you're doing. You don't even have to write an intricate plot outline for your story. Just find out what needs to happen in the scene and write it.

3. Talk about it
Sometimes it's easier to find the problems when you hear things aloud. Humans are verbal creatures. It's best to talk about it with a friend/family member/teacher/acquaintance willing to listen and offer up their two cents on it. A lot of the time, they'll be able to offer solutions or discover problems that you would have never thought of. If you don't want to talk about it with an actual person, tell your lamp/dog/teddy bear about it. Once you start talking, the ideas flow.

4. Write more than one project at a time
This doesn't work for everyone because a lot of people have trouble juggling different stories and different voices at the same time, but if you can do it, it's great! Stuck on one project? Just go work on another. Problem solved! (The downside is that you might never finish a story if you keep adding those shiny new ideas)

5. Don't be afraid to be a bitch
Think of the worst possible thing that could happen to your characters. Then make it happen. You don't have to keep it in your draft, but it'll probably banish that mental block of yours.

6. TNT
I don't really recommend this option. 6/6 of the people who've tried this have blown off their heads. But it destroys that pesky block of yours. (And everything else) BLOW THAT SUCKER UP!* 

What do you do when you have writer's block?

*Don't actually do this. 

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