Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Writer's Block Roundup

Bloggers must wrestle with this periodic disability on a regular basis -- and, no doubt, writing a blogpost about the cures for writer's block is an attempt to break the spell. When you go through the lists below, however, note that a blog entry (especially a numbered list) includes re-writing the same suggestion in more than one ways, probably to reach an even number of suggestions. Oh, well, at least they've gotten over the block.

Could I be writing about writing about writer's block because I've got a problem with it? No, I've actually had a surge in writing creatively lately. Here's a roundup of recent solutions for writer's block, with my favorites:

1. From Dawud Miracle, "20 Surefire Ways To Beat Writer’s Block" Gems: Write something else. (that's what diaries are for), Tell yourself you have to write for only five minutes (restrictions vitalize creativity), Turn off your screen so you can’t see what you’ve just written (it's far-fetched, but shakes up the monotony).

2. CreativeCreativity, "10 Ways To Prevent Writer's Block" Gems: Read. (yes, reading is the penicillin of writer's block. It might not work instantly, but it always works for me); Lower your standards (every piece of writing doesn't need to be award-winning. The bell curve says a small percentage will be that way; you have to create a majority of mediocrity to produce art.)

3. Melinda Copp says writer's block doesn't exist: it's an excuse not to do the work. She does have suggestions for rekindling inspiration -- gems: Go for a walk (remove yourself from the place where you're stuck), and ask for help (explaining the problem to someone else helps you think it through).

4. GrammarGirl has ideas for generating story ideas and overcoming writer's block -- gems: watch Twitter for ideas (if free-word-association works on a one-person level, jump into a cascade of free-association sentences from the world); nothing focuses like a deadline (if you gotta get it done, you'll make sure it's done).

5. David Taylor recommends block writing -- a method of intense writing in small constrained time-periods -- as a way to control and break through writer's block. The method seems interesting, and could work -- but the gems I found were in his "mistakes" list: don't focus on the final product (you're manufacturing raw goods when you're writing. A farmer doesn't pluck frozen dinners from the ground, no matter what cartoons tell you); fear of failure is different than actual failure (fear of failure can be ignored -- actual failure can only be detected after everything's done and written; neither affects putting words to a blank page)

6. Maartje Van Hoorn has another deca-list of writer's block solutions -- gems: Try to write in a different location (changing method of writing, putting pen to paper instead of typing, may be a key to this, too); edit your drafts for a while (this is akin to reading, but it's your own stuff. It was interesting enough to write about the first time; it might reinspire you).

7. And lastly (because I've got someplace to be), Lisa Shearin says writer's block is good for the writing process. Reaching a writing dead-end means you need to back up and start in a different direction. Thinking about your subject in a different way is a good way to spark something new, even with an idea you think might be exhausted.


Blogger Maartje van Hoorn said...

Hey there! I'm awfully curious to know, how did you find me?

x Maartje

4:21 AM  
Blogger Coffee Messiah said...

Great film clip at Roberts Chapel, Thanks for the link!

12:52 PM  
Anonymous publish a book said...

Great film clip at Roberts Chapel, Thanks for the link!

2:27 PM  

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