January 15, 2014

Writing Club Wednesday: The Dread Pirate Writer's Block

We know him well, all of us. That dreaded word-suck, that no writer wants to admit to, and all of us fear. At some point in our writing lives, we all suffer through it. Whether it's a small bout or a large, lengthy one, it's inevitable that sooner or later we all encounter it.

Because seriously. If there's one universal truth, it's that writing is hard.

Even when it's easy.

But regardless of why the evil block has occurred (and yes, it IS evil, don't even try to dispute that one), more than anything what we all want is to find a way to escape the dread pirate's clutches.

And that's the thing. It's not about the block. It's about finding new inspiration. 

I'm not talking ideas. In the last year, I've had four new story ideas, but because of, well, reasons (reasons which led to a monumental attack by the Dread Pirate Writer's Block), I've lacked the inspiration to do anything with them. I'd get 10-15k into the story, and just...fizzle out. Writer's block worse than Voldemort.

Worse, I couldn't find a way out. Nothing I tried worked, not music, not reading, nothing. None of the old stand-by, sure-to-get-the-words-working tricks.

Do I need to mention again that writing is hard?

What I discovered last year, in my quest to slay writer's block, is that sometimes we have to think outside the box. Sometimes our brains just need something different. For me, that meant going back to my roots, and doing something I hadn't done since I started writing. I spent a month playing video games. No writing, a little bit of reading, but mostly, binging on the Mass Effect trilogy. Letting myself get totally sucked into something completely different.

And it worked. It worked insanely well. So well, that I wrote 40k in a week.
Now, I'm not saying video games are the solution to writer's block. They're a lovely, lovely time suck, and I'd stopped gaming mostly because I had time to write, or time to game, and not both. But I'm convinced that the fact that I changed things up, and went so totally off the course I'd given myself had a huge amount to do with helping me find inspiration again.

I think we all tend to get stuck in ruts. We find something that works, and we stick with it, like a baseball player wearing his lucky socks until they fall apart. The problem with that, is that writing is a creative endeavor. And creativity does not so much mesh with same-old, same-old.

So my advice, when the Dread Pirate Writer's Block comes to call? Get frisky. Give yourself a break. Change it up. Do something completely different, something that blows your mind. And have some fun, because you know what? Words should be fun.


Feaky Snucker said...



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