I don’t believe you have to bow to writer’s block.
As I reflect on the process of writing “The Games”, I admit that there were a few occasions when I sat for long periods staring at a blank page, trying to finish off one chapter or another, unsure of what to write. Each time this happened, I felt like screaming. It was horrible to watch the unmoving, flashing cursor. A total waste of time. Each time I knew I had to snap out of my frozen funk before the precious minutes set aside for writing ticked away. I realized that succumbing to this paralysis was a luxury I could not afford. Within a few hours my kids would return from school and I would have to shut off my computer for the day.
The synchronized swimming equivalent of staring at a blank screen would be to stand on the edge of the pool and never dive in.
I had to dive in.
As un-artsy and uninspired as this sounds, sometimes I just had to muscle through.
Here are some ideas and tips on how to put the click back into your keyboard…so to speak:
- Find inspiration…and fast. The experiences of nostalgia or strong emotions often drive me to write. I find ways to access these sources of inspiration, such as looking at old photos, reading a poignant poem, a brief walk in the woods, revisiting a favourite chapter of a novel, listening to music that moves me, etc. What inspires you? Find ways to tap into that source.
- Change locations. Maybe you just need to pick up and move yourself. Try a different room in the house. The indie coffee shop down the street. A favourite art gallery. A private carrel at the local library. See if a new venue offers you renewed creativity.
- Work on something else. Sometimes the best thing to do is to simply turn the page. When I got stuck trying to finish up a particular paragraph, sometimes I would flip back to an earlier section and work on edits, or flip forward and begin the next chapter.
Perhaps the sensation of writer’s block is just a signal that the writer needs to change his/her approach?