Overcoming Writer’s Block

I don’t get writer’s block.

The end. Good post.

No, no, it’s not that simple. (Also, anyone who knows me also knows that I do not look like the gorgeous blonde with a typewriter. When I’m typing, I look like something between “The Thing” and “Woman Who Can’t Be Bothered To Change Out of Pajamas.”)

Turns out I get other writer’s shapes. Cones, cylinders, pyramids. I often come up against problems that seem more complicated to me than a block. Try working your way around writer’s trapezium. I don’t even know what that is.

There is a way around any shape, but it involves creative thinking. But that’s the whole problem in the first place, you’re dead in the water. So don’t do it alone, get help from other writers. Here are a few ideas I use to approach my writing from different angles and perspectives, knocking down shapely towers to clear the road for smooth typing. Many thanks to my brain, and other people’s brains, all of which contributed to these writing exercises.

Write 5-10 titles of books you’d like to write.

This one is easy and fun and reminds you that anything is possible if you just keep writing. Here are some examples:

1. My Life as a Robot (memoir)

2. I Can Do Better Than That (instruction manual and/or collection of sex advice columns)

3. The Day the Cream Cheese Died (cookbook using things that have expired in your fridge)

4. Rump Roasted (history of Zumba)

Write more detailed ideas for books you’d like to write.

1. Jurassic Park fan fiction where author Michael Crichton comes back to life as a half-human, half-dinosaur hybrid called “Crichtonosaurus.”

Setting

This one is even easier than typing, because it’s doing nothing. When you’re stuck, get out of the house or office and go outside. Walk around the block and let your mind clear. Then walk around the block again and take mental notes about things you enjoy or capture your interest. Walk around the block one last time and describe one or more of those things in your head using descriptive words. Examine setting by living it. Or, just finish the walk with a quick stop to the donut shop and fuel up on coffee and sugar. Think about how much better your setting is now.

Character Block

Write a list of questions that you would like to ask your character. Then answer the questions from the perspective of your character. Example:

ME/Author: “Character, why do you insist on eating mayonnaise in every scene?” CHARACTER: “Because mayonnaise is delicious and I like to eat off spatulas. Also, I’m stuffing down my feelings about being secretly in love with my best friend!” ME: “Oh, wow, I had no idea. I thought it was because you’re completely disgusting. Thanks for the insight!”

If All Else Fails

If you’ve been working and nothing is happening for more than an hour, set down the manuscript and go live your life. Read a book, skip in the park, make some bread, watch the hummingbirds. Do anything that reminds you that writing is fun, and a choice, and that you always have the option to walk away from it…so that you can come back to it refreshed. You’re free!

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