Today’s Roadtrip Wednesday tackled that perennial and most dreaded problem…Writer’s Block and how to beat it.
For me, Writer’s Block can be caused by one of three things, lack of food, lack of direction/inspiration, or lack of confidence. So the first step is figuring out WHY I’m feeling “Meh” about whatever project is in front of me.
“I can haz NOMs, plz?”
Unsurprisingly, I love it when the answer is quite simply a low calorie count for the day. Easiest. Fix. Ever. Why yes, I will have that “healthy” helping of cookie dough ice cream. If it’s good for my work-in-progress, it’s good for me. Right? *wink wink, nudge, nudge*
Why can’t all writing problems be solved by carbs and sugar?
“A stampede of pink aardvarks couldn’t liven up this scene.”
Then there are the times that I’m simply just BORED. And sometimes, the shock of that realization feels like hitting a brick wall at 55 mph. (Huh? Why? How? When did my own story go so far off track? How did I let that happen? How did I not seen this as a problem as I planned out this scene in the first place? Help! I’m trapped in the most boring story EVER! Doom. Doom. Doom.) When the momentum is lost, it is difficult for me to get started again especially when I’m stranded in the middle of a boring scene ripe with dry and stilted dialogue. There’s nothing to reach for and the quicksand is up to my chest.
Now, as the writer it should be within my power to change this. I wrote myself into this sand trap, why can’t I write myself out of it? Where is my strapping errant knight who bears an uncanny resemblance to Harrison Ford to help pull me out of this mess? I have the pen. This scenario should not be beyond my ability to create, but what I’ve learned about myself is that I don’t operate well under the duress of Writer’s Block. I waste a ton of valuable time trying to resuscitate a dead horse when I should be moving on or taking a break to plan out my next move in an outline. It’s a personal failing of mine. Maybe it’s familiar to some of you too?
It helps to remind myself that this stagnation usually stems from a lack of purpose. I may know where the story is supposed to go next, but I probably have gotten so caught up in the movement from point A to point B that I've forgotten the heart of the matter. Once I've made that misstep, everything falls flat. So I take a break. Do some yoga. Re-evaluate, and for me that means physically walking away from the document. That’s what helps me get back on track assuming I’m able stop worrying about the problem at hand and remember this fact about myself. (Which is always easier said than done.)
“It’s not you, WIP. It’s me.”
Sometimes I can’t blame it on the story. Sometimes the problem is me. Some days there is just no other explanation other than that I'm having a bad day.
Doubt. Everyone, in all industries or walks of life, experiences moments of insecurity and melancholy. Only you can diagnosis the core issue. Allow yourself a reasonable time to decompress. Make use of the tricks and exercises that you've learned throughout the years in managing your stress-levels and moods. And rely on those you trust and love to soothe the worst of it.
Likely this is not your first time at the rodeo. You’ll get through this. I know you will. Now, good luck writing. Or doing whatever it is that you need to do today.