You’ve probably been there before. You’re sitting there, glassy-eyed, staring off into space wondering where your brain went. And no, I’m not talking about Algebra class. It’s writer’s block. Even now, as I desperately try to tap out a sensible and relatively interesting message, I feel that dreaded shadow of lost creativity staring over my shoulder.
If you haven’t experienced writer’s block, I dare say you haven’t written enough. Either that, or you’re a muse, in which case I’m afraid this is not the blog post for you. But if you are a mere mortal like myself, I’m sure you’ve had to face this dilemma.
Dealing with writer’s block is hard, because no matter how hard I try, inspiration just doesn’t come to me. And when facing a lot of pages and a deadline, the problem is even worse.
The topic has come up several times in my Narrative Writing class, as several of the people in that class are relatively new to writing and greatly struggle with figuring out where to go next. Most writers will tell you, “Just move on to something else,” or “Just keep writing.” So, for the sake of saying it, I’m gonna put in my two-cents worth as well. My method is a mixture of the two I previously mentioned. My suggestion? Just sit on it.
My teacher calls it “butt power”. When no amount of pushing, shoving, and pick-axe wielding can get rid of that annoying writer’s block, sit on it. For me, this means sitting down, staring glassy-eyed at the project for a few minutes (or hours), then picking up my pen (or putting fingers to keyboard) and writing. It doesn’t have to be coherent; it doesn’t have to be interesting. It just has to be something. But sometimes, simply writing won’t take you anywhere. In times like these, I have to get even more drastic (or should I say desperate?). If it’s an academic paper, I’ll write bullet points of information that might need to go in the actual piece. If it’s my own creative writing, I might write a scene or a character profile. The fact is, I’m writing. Essentially, I’m “sitting” on my writer’s block. What I mean by that is, I don’t let it get in my way. When I can’t move it, I use it for something else.
So next time you encounter writer’s block, try sitting on it. If it boils down to you and a hundred separately-written scenes, lace the good ones together, and tuck the others in a file box. Chances are, you’ll have overcome writer’s block by then. But, if not, at least you have something to go on.