Beating the Block
It’s not the most practical, but I can have several projects going on at the same time. My journalism/blogger pursuit can be a major cause of the multiple threads to write, all at one time.
As a journalist, I don’t suffer much from writer’s block. I’m simply reporting a story. Having anything to report has dried up, at times, though. The pandemic put my journal story ideas in a stranglehold.
Generally, if my creative mind draws a blank, I’ll just step back, pause, and reflect. If I force an idea, it’s never a good one. The best advice ever given to me “Relax, take a breath, and the creative flow will return.”
I suffered a different form of writer’s block last winter while working on my latest project. Instead of a blank page, I was overwhelmed with TOO MANY ideas! The plot could go in several directions, making me choose the best course. Did I overcome that form? We shall find out in the next novel. It’s not completed yet.
The most obvious answer to this would be “With increasing difficulty”, because writer’s block is a huge wall that all writers find themselves facing at some stage. We all have our own ways of tackling this imposing obstacle, which, as do all obstacles, serves one purpose and one purpose only—to be overcome.
I find that what often works for me is listening to a piece of music and trying to imagine what story the piece of music is trying to tell me, in this way I have had some awesome ideas which tend to come thick and fast, even more so after a rather lengthy period of inactivity.
I also find that when the ideas do come, it always seems to be at a time that you’re unable to write them down, so by the time that you are able to write them down, you can’t remember what it was that you were supposed to write …. most frustrating.
Now though, I tend to keep a small notebook with me, just in case, and I scribble down any ideas that come to me, whenever they come and irrespective of wherever I happen to be at the time.
We never know when we are going to encounter the veritable wall that is writer’s block, so the more tools we are able to arm ourselves with in order to overcome it, the better.
The cause of my writer’s block generally dictates the solution. As a pantser, it is not uncommon to get bogged down in the middle of a story. In that case, stepping away for a while to listen to music, take a walk, or mow grass is usually helpful. The idea is to give the characters time to talk to me and avoid snacking as my go-to activity.
One pretty surefire cure to beat the block is to write. I’ve started more than one blog writing about the blinking cursor and blank page in front of me. Writing about having nothing to write about can get things moving again. Once I’m writing, even if writing nonsense (I mean nonsense aside from my usual lunacy) I find it easier to jump to the project at hand.
Of course, there’s always Hemingway’s advice to write drunk. A couple of glasses of wine never seems to hurt the creative process and free up some new ideas, But, like snacking, you have to be careful not to overdo it and anesthetize your brain. You always have the safety net of editing sober to keep from embarrassing yourself.