AVOIDING WRITER’S BLOCK

I’m informed that one of the many secrets to being a success is to teach whatever it is you think you know to whomever believes they require such knowledge. Since I’m wanting to succeed as a writer I’m going to share with you what I know in regards to writing, specifically what I’ve discovered about writer’s block. I’ve been creating poems, songs and stories since the age of 7. Though I’m not as educated as many/most of my fellow authors I’ve definitely had to overcome those instances where inspiration fails. I’ve had frustrating moments where what I want to write about doesn’t come out. But does this stop me from writing? Never. My conclusion is that writer’s block doesn’t exist. (-or it doesn’t have to) Shocked? You’re probably wondering what I mean about that. Right? I’ll explain.

Image from Scientific Writing. I do not have rights to this image.

 

When you’re staring at your screen or at your blank page (I don’t know if you prefer to use a computer or not) and you want to beat your head against a wall because you cannot think of anything to put down you’re experiencing what the masses refer to as “Writer’s Block.” There are many fixes to this circumstance. My first step is to step away from what I’m wanting to work on while not stepping away from my computer or typewriter. If you’re a writer then you can write at any time. Ask yourself, “if I cannot immediately work on my project then what diversion will I scrawl?” That’s a simple answer for me. Simple because it has many avenues I can take. There are many roads I can travel and many solutions to my immediate writer’s block problem. Here they are:

 

-I’ll write at least 500 words about the frustration of writer’s block! I’ll describe everything in detail. What I was doing when it occurred, how it makes me feel, what the room I’m in looks like, why this block needs not to happen at this moment and what I would be writing about if writer’s block hadn’t cut my third eye out. This helps me no matter what kind of thing I intend to write. It gets descriptive juices flowing.

An Image from Writer’s Digest I found online. I do not own rights to this image.

-If I insist that whatever I do during a creative stall must involve my current novel I’ll answer a seemingly stupid question in reference to one or more of my characters in a particularized manner. I’ll describe what shoes they’re wearing in detail. I’ll depict how worn they are and why. What does my protagonist like to make himself to eat? Cooking at home offers all kinds of opportunities for character development. You can let your reader know if they have similarities with your characters by showing your readers how your protagonists do basic things when they’re alone at home. You could answer questions like these:

-What are their mornings like?

-Do they slap together a sandwich, holding it in their mouth while they struggle to get dressed? What kind of sandwich? Peanut butter and jelly? -or are they like me and prefer pistachio butter, almond butter or sunflower seed butter? Meat? Leftovers? Why?

-Do they instead cook elaborate breakfasts? What? How?

-What kind of clothes do they wear? –

-What does the room look like first thing in the morning?

-Are the curtains/blinds drawn thus making the room dim?

  • -What do they wear? Why?
  • -Are they a basic bitch sorting through different colors of yoga pants and string tee combos?
  • -Are they a jock sniffing jerseys then spraying Axe on their chosen shirt and jeans combo?
  • -Are they a drifter sleeping in the clothes they’re going out in?
  • -Are they a professional sorting through tailored suits?
  • -Are they a wannabe professional piecing things together and making minor repairs to their clothes so they appear to have their shit together?
  • -Are they hipsters who must manicure every single aspect of themselves while making it appear like they just threw things on and woke up that way?
  • -Are they having that oh so goth norm of throwing clothes here and there to find a specific article of black clothing in the dim light instead of blinding themselves with either the morning sun that would occur if they threw the curtains aside or the artificial light that would happen if they flipped a light switch?

-Or is their place well lit?

-How many lights must they turn on? Why?

-What obsession of your character’s decorates the walls of their dwelling?

The immortal David Bowie as the Goblin King, Jareth, watches over me while I write!

-Dingy carpet? New carpet? Old or new hardwood floors? Tile? Stone? Do they walk barefoot in their home or not? Why?

-What media or other form of din is occurring in the background?

-Do they have central air conditioning or a heater?

Do not be scared of letting your readers into the character’s lives, or yours if parts of you go into whatever you write. Example: “I’m very sweaty right now in my black shorts and charcoal colored v-neck tee-shirt. Shoes would cause a needless suffocation though they would prevent me from slipping on the seemingly dewy tile floor in my kitchen. Not even my beloved Clark’s (which were brown but I intentionally stained them black with shoe polish) sandals can offer me comfort since my feet will just stick to the leather insoles with all the moisture currently found here. There is no form of air conditioning in this place. It’s 90 degrees F outside. It’s stifling hot and humid in my lower level rental house even though I have fans on. Ceiling fans, a floor fan and an oscillating fan in the kid’s room still cannot properly cool this place. I’d simply throw open the doors and let the fans dry us out using outside air blasted from the front door to the kitchen door but my neighbors are having their roof redone. So all I currently hear is the constant crash of debris falling to the ground coupled with shouting in Spanish from the roof workers to their fellows on the ground. Since there is dust and old roof pieces littering the front and rear porches the doors will stay closed until this onslaught against peace and quiet ceases.”

 

It’s far too lazy to just blandly state what restaurant(s) the character(s) prefer unless it’s germane to your story. If they’re eating at a restaurant in your tale then you can answer questions like these:

-What do they like?

-Did everything go as planned at the restaurant?

-If not, how do they handle it?

-Do they flip out? Do they quietly bear it?

-Are they polite to the wait staff even though this problem has occurred? Do they trash talk them behind their back or create a huge scene?

-Did they have an allergic reaction?

-Are they now in the hospital?

-What’s the background atmosphere like?

-Is there a band playing?

-How does the background affect your heroes? Do they love/hate it? -Ignore it?

None of these details have to be used in your story. They can be footnotes, or flashbacks or just personal knowledge on hand anytime you need it to reference this character.

All the things listed above will help you if you’re writing a fictional novel. For a poetry block I use a different tool. I’m usually too poor for most things having to do with modern life. Magazines are a luxury I’m so far away from it’s laughable. But a dear friend of mine used to entrust his magazines to me when was through with them. One of these Magazines was Writer’s Digest. He may as well have been tossing aside gold in my point of view because the tools I found inside have enhanced my writing greatly, specifically a section I found in these pages called POETIC ASIDES.

Writer's Digest poetry guides
Writer’s Digest, Nov/Dec, 2009, Pg 11, Poetic Asides. I do not own rights to the magazine page pictured.

In these Poetic Asides one can find a specific style of poetry as well as the information about how to write your own version. They even give you a topic! (I always chose my own) If I were struggling to write poems again I’d go find another one of these bad boys and get to work.

Writing is writing. Anything you presently write to escape writer’s block can be used in the future. Describe something, anything. A bathroom you come across or an individual you encounter or observe on the street or in a shop can end up being the basis for a character in a book or a feeling described in a poem. The important thing is that you’re tapping those keys or scratching that pad with a pen. Got angry at your neighbor or kid? Write about it. Save it. Use it later. Write about a meal you’ve just fixed. Write about being hungry and the choices you must make to motivate yourself to the kitchen, the store the fast food joint or your parents’ house so you can finally eat. Review a movie for no apparent reason.

One of my favorite authors/people, Stephen King, says you should set aside 6 hours a day for reading and writing. He’s also said you should accomplish 2000 words or 6 pages a day if you’re going to be a successful writer. I don’t care if you enjoy his work or not the man is a success! He knows his shit! Reading is part of the writing process. Read a book if you can’t think of anything to write. You never know what will inspire you so don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. If you’re a new writer then read one of the classics. They’re not called “The Greats” for no reason? Haven’t read Stephen King or Charles Dickens? Get on it?  Never read Mary Shelly, Dostoevski or J.K. Rowling? What’s stopping you? Read trade paperbacks or comics for all I care! Don’t fall into the trap of thinking your masterwork will be sullied by the opinions of others if you read during the writing process. Reading aids the writing process. Especially if you’re reading research to help your book. Encyclopedias or online sources can give you facts to help suspend disbelief for the readers of your fictions.

Photo taken by Brooklyn M. Grove
Presenting The Aftermath paperback cover.

So there you have it. Any of the tools listed above can stomp a lack of inspiration when sitting on front of your writing tool. The important thing to remember is: The more you write the better you become at it. So write! Write about whatever is in your life for nobody to read if you want to. Write imaginary scenarios then stow them away. Write the life stories of strangers and develop them into characters for future books. Use the poetry tools found in one of numerous magazines designed to help aspiring authors. Or you can be like me and write an 1863 word blog entry about how you handle Writer’s block until inspiration hits you! That’s right, you’ve been used! MOOHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! ~Now to work on my Vampire novel…

 

By Lord Veil

Lord Veil

Unknown singer/entertainer, unpublished author, starving artist, (potential cult leader according to facebook) father and hubby. Trekkie. Indy/cult/horror/foreign movie fan. Into comics, Sci-Fi and cosplay. In love with the Soska Sisters!