Saturday, November 26, 2011

Writer's Block, Schmiter's Schmock

I've decided writer's block is, nine times out of ten, just a lame excuse for laziness.

Ouch. I'm sure there are folks out there who think I'm being snobbish or harsh, but let me add I'm being harsh to myself as well in the above statement.

Let's face it: Usually when writer's block strikes, the writer/sufferer has reached a scene in the story that is particularly difficult. Or they are having a hard time figuring out how to connect Scene A to Scene D. Or the plot has gotten so tangled the writer just can't seem to find a way to unravel it.

That's where a simple yet painful solution presents itself: Just plow ahead. Go ahead and keep writing. Yeah, you'll write crap, but you can go back and fix crap later. More often than not, just forging ahead will bring you to a solution sooner than you anticipate. It's just a lot of effort at first.

Think about this, too: Usually, when you really blast ahead on your writing, you're writing a scene or scenes that are exciting, cool. You enjoy writing them. And it would stand to reason that readers will find those scenes cool as well. But what about the scenes that stop you dead in your tracks? Most often they're scenes that aren't as interesting, maybe even scenes you've been dreading. Well, if you can't enjoy writing the scene, it's likely your readers will have just as much difficulty reading it.

The fix? Go ahead, tackle the scene, get it over with. Yeah, it'll be awful. For now, who cares? Make a note to redo it later, then keep on to the fun stuff. But in the meantime, ponder that irksome scene. Why was it so horrible? How can you make it better? What role does it play in the story? What twists and hooks and teasers can you insert to make readers salivate? When you're in the right frame of mind, break the scene down and reshape and recast it. Your story is your clay. Don't let it get the best of you -- you're the potter. You call the shots.

I'm writing this to myself as much as to everyone else. There are so many times I've caught myself wallowing in the throes of "I can't do it", and I've had to slap myself silly and send myself back to the front lines of the battle.

Have there been legitimate causes for writer's block? Sure. But as I said, nine times out of ten, "writer's block" is just a cool term we use for "giving up".

Write a poem. Take a walk. Play with the kids. Mow the lawn. Read a book. Then come back and give that "writer's block" a whoopin'.

Okay, I'm done with the pep talk. Time to get some writing done.

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