Dealing with Writer's Block
An author friend recently gave me this advice to overcome writer’s block. She
said: “Write badly.”
That gave me quite a shock. What?
But then, she explained that it was a beginning. A preliminary stage to prepare my
headspace, give myself time, and the go-ahead to write. It did not matter if all I
managed was a garbled mess. Free the imagination and let the creativity flow. Discover messages and stories inside. Get those ideas out there.
Along the way, I might chop and change the details, depending on how the story
develops. Should the story stall, I read bits of it aloud to check for readability and story
flow. Make notes as I go. If my mind has gone blank, it is a sign for me to put the story aside for a while and work on another project. Maybe post on my teddy bear blog. Research on a subject of interest. Jot down ideas for another story. Read a book from the pile beside my bed.
Or tend to the neglected house chores. Slay a nest of dust bunnies. Bake a cake. Have
a cuppa and a chocolate Tim Tam. When the time feels right, I’ll dust off the crumbs,
brush aside the cobwebs and try again.
‘Badly,’ or not, it doesn’t matter. No draft comes out perfect on the first go. Just write.
As the old saying goes, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. The way around writer's block is to write. That writing doesn't have to be on the subject at hand. You can start writing about having nothing to write about. The next thing you know you're writing about a writer struggling with writer's block; his back door creaks open, and a vampire walks in and begins talking about the children of the night and the music they make. Then, it's move over Bram Stoker.
What you begin to write doesn't even have to make sense. Maybe breaking down writer's block was what Lewis Carroll was up to when he penned the Jabberwocky. It certainly seems to agree with Hemmingway's advice to write drunk, edit sober. A good rant is often the best place to start, like a primal scream to help you feel better. The point is, start scribbling until it makes sense, or sounds good. You can always ditch it later. One word of caution don't throw it away. Those could be the words of a future character.
I've had a lot of bad ideas that sounded good at the time. There have even been some I've written about--anonymously, of course. Writer's block can be exasperating, frustrating and depressing. Those emotions make for good stories!