Sunday, August 3, 2008

How Do You Blast Through Writer's Block?

I know that writers tend to fall into two camps: those that believe in writer's block, and those that do not. I've always fallen into the "not" category because normally I recognize that my block isn't really a block from outside of my mind... it's totally self-inflicted.

Someone (was it Linda? Joshilyn? Carolyn?) said that it's what happens when your inner critic is yelling and you can't shut her up. (Or him, I think my inner critic has a brother... I don't like him any more than I like his sister.) So the trick is to make your words (writing) louder and faster so that they can't keep up.

This is accomplished by just sitting your butt in the chair, putting your hands on the keyboard (BICHOK) and writing. It's not easy for those of us who want to write good well every time we sit down. But it's what Anne Lamott would call a "shitty first draft". Sometimes it's a draft that goes no where. There's a great internal sigh of relief when I write something truly gross and horrible and then I hit delete on the whole file. Somehow just writing it down and getting it out of my brain and onto my computer is like some new-age Pensieve.

Then hitting delete can just erase that horrible writing from my life... and free me up to write The Good Stuff.

Wordclay Writing Center offers five tips on breaking through that "block". I found the tips using StumbleUpon, a Firefox add-on that lets you pre-set some interests (writing, horses, parenting.. etc..) and then you can Stumble around the internet and it will bring you to sites that match your interests. If you see one you like, you can click the "I like it!" icon in your toolbar. Hey, if you use Stumble you could even "vote" for Mama Needs A Book Contract!


Linda Sherwood said...

I think -- not positive -- it me who said that thing about the inner critic, but I was hesitant to take credit in case it wasn't me. Today, I am in need of a distraction, so I looked up my relevant e-mail, and I wrote, "When I struggle with generating ideas, it really isn't that I can't think of anything. It is that my inner critic is in hyperdrive. I actually have a lot of ideas (and some are even great), but this little voice in my head is in overdrive saying "nope, not that one, are you on crack? No, not. Don't even think about it." You just need to shut up that little critic. ;-)"

Thanks for the break and the tip about Stumble!

Linda Sherwood said...

it was me -- not it me....

Heather Grace Stewart said...

Wonderful, funny stuff about writer's block here Heather- wish I had an easy answer myself. I find for me it's all about running shoes. Nike running shoes. You know that commercial, Just Do It? Whenever my inner voice complains about not having the time/ talent to write a certain piece I have brewing in the back of my mind, I tell myself to stop complaining or talking about it and JUST WRITE IT and eventually it gets done - maybe not great, but at least I get the first draft down on paper. now if only I could use this method for housework!