Friday, April 3, 2009

"The Dreaded Writer's Block!"

Let's say you're a writer that likes the basics, and you either have a sheet all ready in your typewriter, or a notebook full of paper, and it's blank and pristine; plus you have your sharpened pencils lined up; your favorite pen with two refills is by your side; and you have plenty of delete-o or white-out at the ready. You must have brought in five different beverages so you wouldn't have to get up and fix yourself something once you started writing; and you have snacks and a sandwich ready; yet still...that big, blank page is staring right back at you. Your forehead is starting to get moist, your heartbeat is accelerating, and you've noticed now that you've even started wringing your hands. This couldn't be happening to you, could it? Yes, it could. It happens to the best of us. What you have is a problem that is commonly referred to as the dreaded "writer's block!"

So what should you do? There are several tips to choose from, but let me list just three, and see if they appreal to you:

1.) Whip the paper out from your typewriter or the notebook, and just use a new piece.
2.) Scream at the top of your lungs, and pray that someone comes to your rescue.
3.) Simply give up! Your family and friends told you that you'd never make it as a writer anyway, so obviously they were correct.

Hmmm...actually, number one has some merit, especially if you change the color of the paper, but the others are ridiculous--unless you're looking for an excuse to get out writing anyway.

Let me tell you a secret: writer's block is not fatal. There are so many simple tips and tricks that writers keep coming up with, and they think of more all the time. There has to be at least one that will help you out of this predicament. Let's list a few and see what your favorites are:

  • Take a walk - Change your scenery, get some fresh air, and stop thinking about writing. Take 10 minutes and hunt for squirrels or something silly!

  • Take a shower; change clothes - Get a fresh, clean start.

  • Stop blaming yourself - Getting writer's block is nothing unusual, and once you have conquered it, it won't be so scary the next time around, if there is a next time. It's no one's fault; it could come as a result of stress because you feel you don't have enough time to complete an assignment, you don't understand your task, or the topic may just bore you to tears!

  • Give up and give in - Resign yourself to the fact that you have to write this assignment, maybe because it could mean the difference of whether you get promoted or not, but it's an important assignment nonetheless. Consult your boss, teacher or whomever has given you the task and find out exactly what is expected of you, then commit to doing the best job you can, with a good attitude.

  • Talk to an animal (stuffed or otherwise) - You'd be surprised how receptive a stuffed friend is to your ideas. Furthermore, real dogs and cats are usually pretty good listeners, too. I've shared many a problem with my furry friends throughout the years, so why not work out this problem with one of yours? To the right is my cat, Momma Kitty, and she's the mother of all the feral cats that hang out around our home. Someone dropped her off out here about eleven years ago, and it took a long time to gain her trust enough so we could at least feed her and her little ones. We even find homes for the "tinies." (that's another story that I'll share with you some day--it's really good!), and now we are very close to Momma. Dion (my husband) and I are about the only ones that can get near her, but that's ok for now. I love her more than you can imagine, and she even rescued me from a snake, but that's another story, too. She's the one that I "talk" to about my stories, work out my plot twists with, get ideas from (hahaha), and generally confide in. She's my best (animal) friend, and I adore her! Back to the article...

  • Listen to new music - Try some new music that is instrumental, so that your mind doesn't have to compete with the lyrics, then set it on repeat and start writing. The music will help you to relax so that your creativity can flow.

  • Stretch - You are probably so tensed up that you aren't able to relax. Start by stretching as many muscle groups as you can, while you are still sitting. Then try relaxing each group afterwards. Take a deep, cleansing breath and fill your lungs to capacity and beyond, then hold it until you aren't able to any longer, and exhale until you think you have exhaled everything inside of you. After that, fill your lungs with fresh, clean air again, and you'll be amazed at how revitalized and refreshed you feel.

  • Write a bunch of junk - Write a funny story about you and your husband "for your eyes only" or a spoof on something that you've always been wanting to write, but be sure to finish it.

  • Find a new spot to work - Remember when you've stayed at the lake or you slept upside down on your bed, and you've always slept better than you've slept in months? Relocating and finding a new spot to write works the same way. It will make you feel like you've gone to a writer's retreat, plus it's guaranteed to spark something inside you, and you'll feel like you've been given a fresh start.

  • Try word association - Write out five completely random words. Then write five more words. Study the words and see if any of them associate with each other or you can make a sentence out of them. If that starts you going, then you're writer's block has ended. How cool is that?!

  • Write a different section of your story - If you developed writer's block while working on the beginning of your story, try working on the middle. If you were at the middle when you got stuck, why don't you try working on the end? If the end of the story made you draw a blank, then do some editing or work on your title or a cover email--anything other than the part that you would have been working on.

  • Do a single chore - Try doing a household chore (nothing overly physical--just something that gets you in touch with your physical side), such as sweeping the floor or cleaning out the refrigerator.

  • Make yourself adhere to a senseless rule - Making a pointless rule that you have to think about and stick to within your writing, such as: no eight letter words in the last sentence of the paragraph or you can't end sentences with words that begin with vowels, makes you focus and changes your perspective.

  • Try freewriting - Sit down and write whatever comes to mind, even if it's gibberish, for about 10 minutes to start, and don't stop for anything! Don't go back to correct misspellings, incorrect grammar, the wrong word or anything. Just keep on writing! As long as your hand is moving, your brain will think it is writing...and it is!

I hope that these tips have helped in some way. I do have a few more up my sleeve if you ever need one for a rainy day. Just visit me again and ask me if you ever need one, but you know what? I don't think you will!

Until next time...stay safe, stay well, and may God bless you all.


Please visit my other blogs:
Cynde's Daybook ~and~ Usurper Exposed


Helen Ginger said...

All of those are great ideas. I've probably used most of them. Another one that sometimes works for me is to lie down. I often come up with great ideas and scenes. The trick is to remember them when you wake up.


Cynde L. Hammond said...

Hi, Helen!

I always look so forward to your comments on my blog because first of all, I enjoy them tremendously, and secondly, I usually learn something, too!

I love the tip about lying down. I usually do that, and I hadn't even put two and two together that it actually helps. You are so smart!

Thanks for stopping by, Helen. I appreciate it so much!