Tuesday, November 8, 2011

This crazy little thing called Writer's Block

I rarely get writer's block nowadays.

But it's an event that occurs in a writer's mind that causes them to stumble and seize up their writing.

Was I always this way?  Oh, no.  What did I do to remedy it?  Let's explore . . .

In the infancy of my writing career--we're talking in elementary school years now--I used to write the first few pages of a new novel, and for whatever reason I'd quit.  I never really understood it.  In seventh grade, my parents bought me an old black typewriter (yes, you heard right, a typewriter) that had to weigh close to fifty pounds.  (Watch the Stephen King movie Misery to get an idea on what it looked like).  I wrote about thirty or more pages, single-spaced, of a ninja trilogy.  The weird part is I had the entire trilogy all laid out in my head but I stopped at those thirty-plus pages.  I never did anything else with it, and it had nothing to do with writer's block.  I just didn't think the story was worth writing.  I didn't think anyone but me would want to read it.  But who knows what the distant future will bring . . .

My earliest recollection of writer's block was in college.  I was working on a deer hunting horror story--the first novel I ever completed (see a previous blog on how I celebrated this milestone)--when in one of the first few chapters I didn't know how to go on.  At one in the morning, I was getting pretty tired even though I still didn't go to bed.  I continued to write for a few more minutes, not really paying attention to what I was writing, when all of a sudden I wrote something I never intended to write.  It was like someone else's hands were on the keyboard.  I stopped.  I had no idea where to go from here.  Yawning and finally feeling the affects of sleepiness, I went to bed, the story rolling around and around in my head like tumblers on a safe.

In a flash, I awoke and the rest of the chapter appeared before my eyes.  Could I wait to write this until morning?  Not a chance.  I spent the next hour (it must've been after two in the morning at this point) writing the rest of the chapter.

How else can one handle writer's block?  Start with a different viewpoint.  In my first novel, I actually wrote one chapter from the point of view of a white-tailed deer.  What else?  In the thriller I'm currently editing, right in the middle of the book, when I was going to bridge the gap between the murder investigation with a plot-twist that upped the stakes on a more personal level, I had the main character be involved in a traffic accident that landed him in the hospital.  I didn't really plan this either.  It just happened.

Writer's block may also be solved by simply writing something else, starting a new project, or even reading a book--I know we're all reading, but how much is a topic for another blog.

What are your writer's block stories?

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