Give it physicality.
Give it a personality.
Describe it. Face it. Challenge it. And beat it down.
The Watcher at the Gate by Gail Godwin talks about creative block. One of the assignments I give my class is to draw a picture of what stops them from writing. Some of them draw a picture of an old english professor and some draw pictures of wild beasts. They report, that after giving their block a presence, they are better able to handle it.
Write about being stuck.
Write about your distractions.
Give them a life, a reason, a purpose.
Then get rid of them.
Even if they’re not gone – at least you’ve been writing.
Writer’s block is the writer’s arch enemy.
And though it can be solved, one of the problems is that it takes faith to believe it can be overcome and it does take work.
Someone, recently, asked me how to get over a block and I gave him the following advice. He responded, “that’s too hard!”
If you want to get through a block – you have to push. If you are not willing to do the work, then why are you here?
One way – and it is just one idea – to get through writer’s block is to write your way out of it.
Use a separate document, handwrite it, get out of the story you’re working on and write somewhere else – but write, and keep writing – it might take you ten pages to get to where you need to be, and you might get two or three good pages out of that – but guess what, you will have written yourself out of the block.
Ten pages not enough? Still feeling blocked? Keep writing!
Think of it this way – something is in your way. If you were driving somewhere and the road was blocked, would you turn around and go home, go back to bed, and give up? Or would you use mapquest to find a different way to get there.
Something is in your writing way, get off that street (document), look at mapquest (other ideas, roads, methods, ways), and get moving.
If you want to be a writer – why do you stop when you get stuck?
If you were driving somewhere and the road was blocked, would you just turn around and go home? Or would you find a different way?
If you get stuck – the last thing you should do is stop writing!
If you’re stuck at a specific place in your story, jump to a different scene.
If you’re stuck with a story, work on a different story.
One of my teachers, a multi-published writer, believed, “If you get stuck and can’t get passed something, it means something is wrong with the story.”
I don’t think that’s true in every case. Sometimes we’re just not certain what comes next, but we do know where we want to go, so go there! Write your way back to the spot. You’ll find out if there’s a problem, or if it was a momentary lapse.
We all get stuck in traffic, in storms, in life – don’t stop!