Friday, May 25, 2012

Writer's Block - Dealing

We've all had it. That moment of absolute frustration when nothing will come to us. It's like our brain is shut off. The characters stop cooperating, you don't know where the story is going and nothing you do seems to help.

Well, I don't really have that problem anymore. I'm not saying I don't have those moments. I do. But I've found ways of coping. When your writing becomes stagnant, IE, you hit a road block, it's most likely caused by a couple of different things.

Lack of ideas
Writer cave syndrome

Stress is the hardest thing to overcome. Our emotions greatly effect our productivity as writers. I can think of a couple months where it was all I could do to get up out of bed in the morning, but the one thing that got me up was that I knew I had a goal, I had a story to tell and that story was going to keep me moving. Everyone has to find a way to cope with stress. Whether it's yoga, a day out, a bath, whatever, you have to find a way to relax that works for you.

A lack of ideas is the easiest thing to overcome. You just need to get out there and absorb. Go to the library and read. Go see a new movie, watch TV, read a newspaper, talk to friends, play a game. You need to recharge that battery.

Writer cave syndrome. Do you find yourself hissing at sunlight? Have you drunk more caffeinated beverages in the last month than water? Is your room a mess? Does your desk look like a national disaster area? What is that furry thing growing out of the trashcan? And oh god, did that laundry just move on it's own? Yeah. You have become a writer troll. This syndrome is easy enough to fix. Step one, open the curtains. I know, it's scary, but go ahead.

Step two, shower and hydrate yourself with real water. Not Monster or whatever your poison is. Next up, eat something green. No, I don't mean that moldy cheese. Veggies folks. You need them. After that, it's time for cleaning. Do your laundry, take out the trash, clean your desk.

Clean? Great. Now it's outside time. You've made good progress having the curtains open, but you need fresh air. You probably haven't slept in a couple days, so try taking a nap. You may want to shower again depending on how deep into the writer cave you slunk.

Now, try doing some more housework, cook some food and get the hell out of the house. You need to shake the dirt off.

The most important thing is, no writing. That's right, I said no writing. It's seems counterproductive, but if you try to go back to the writing too soon, you could relapse. Give yourself a couple of days, and once someone you love tells you you are no longer acting like a vampire, go ahead and write again.

Writer's block pretty much boils down to two sources. Internal and external. Writer's cave syndrome is an internal block. You've buried yourself so far down the rabbit hole you can't see up anymore. Stress is usually externally motivated, but not always. A lack of ideas is, however, completely your fault.

Yup, I said it. If I'm out of ideas, that's my fault. I need to recharge, it's totally on me.

All of this said, the best solution I've found to writer's block is having people to bounce ideas off of. Talking things out with someone can be incredibly helpful. Don't be afraid to try it, because guess what, everybody is weird. Writers do not hold the monopoly.

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