Here is my fair warning: we're about to venture into perilous lands. It's bleak here. It's dangerous. You might not return with all your screws on tight. Heck, you probably won't return with all of your screws.
If you want, don't accompany me. Leave. Stop reading. Save yourself!
|Really, I would. Keep walking. Hightail it outta here. Go on. Git.|
We're off to discover the cure for writer's inescapable, omnipresent block.
Are you gasping? Did you faint?
Now, I know what you're thinking. "But, Alex! Such a journey is as pointless as it is terrifying! Please, don't do this! Save yourself!"
And I'm thinking as I flip my hair, vogue-style, "Stop being so dramatic. Honestly. Kids these days."
Alright, all of my eccentricities aside, we're really going to search for the cure. I, among all of you,I'm sure, have many-a-night stared at a blank Word document in desperation, forlornly picking the green M&M's from a ceramic bowl and downing them four at a time. Writer's block is a real, problematic thing, and today we're going to go about smashing that cinder to pieces.
The first step to overcoming writer's block is realizing the Simple Truth. This is heavy doctrine here. The Simple truth is...
You're not alone.
Really! I swear!
Every writer that has ever lived has, at one point, experienced writer's block. You're not the only one.
Just because you can't for the life of you get Timmy onto that starship headed to the planet Narflex without introducing his Uncle David, who isn't supposed to come in for at least another fourteen chapters, you're not a bad writer. Not even a little bit. In fact, writer's block is a sure sign of a healthy writing life. And while it can be a pain in the royal Narflex, it's bound to happen sometime, right? We're only human. We're not endless pools of brilliance. Well - arguably, we are - but sometimes those pools run a little dry.
Allow me to ask you a question. Do you write better right after you've seen a particularly good movie, or watched an interesting play? Does your pen flow more readily after you've been to the Metropolitan, or subsequent to reading a good book?
For most of us, the answer is yes. That's because the human mind loves new material. It processes it and threads new things through your brain that perhaps you'd never thought of previously, planting brilliant ideas in your head, seeds lying dormant for the proper moment to bloom. Your mind loves the arts.
Writing, remember, is an art; in my opinion, it's the finest form of art there is. What leads you to write? What leads painters to paint? Singers to sing? Composers to compose?
That's what led the greats and the not-so-greats. The famous and the infamous. Inspiration.
The trick to overcoming writer's block is simple, yet effective - get inspired.
That's it. That's the big secret.
Are you skeptical? Are your little mind-voices irritatingly asking, "Well, Alex, how do we get inspired?" They're right, you know. That's a good question. And this post will, hopefully, answer it.
These are a few ways that I employ to get inspired.
1. Listen to music. Not bad music. Good music. I'm not going to draw a definitive line for you - in truth, there's no such thing as "good" and "bad" music - but you should know by now which songs work for you, and which don't. Choose the ones that do. Here are two of my writing favorites:
|Lindsey Stirling's entire album. With barely any lyrics at all she modernizes the violin in truly impossible ways. Don't believe me? Watch this video of her song "Shadows" and tell me that that woman isn't inspired.|
|Florence and the Machine is, quite honestly, made for writing. Their lyric-writing is exceptionally done, and I find myself listening in the background while I pour my soul onto paper.|
2. Draw. No, I don't care if you're not an artist. Start in the corner of a page and draw swirls until they cover the whole page. If you're artistically inclined, you might go for more advanced sketches. Don't think - just do. This is a relaxing, concentration activity. Take your time and think about your stuck story while you're doodling. Here's mine:
|Don't ask about the huge smiley face. Or the circus tent. I honestly don't know what comes over me.|
3. Photography. Google your subject and let it inspire you. Got a scene that takes place in some shady wooded area? Search it! You might come up with something like this:
|How cool is that!? Right?|
So, there are a few ways to get your mind moving. There is no definite solution - it's different for everybody. But, in my experience, the only way to un-stuck yourself is to slide on by without direct confrontation. Then, when you're good and intellectually ready, take a jackhammer and smash writer's block from behind. It'll never see you coming.