Plot blocked

Ah, the dreaded writer’s block. This is a little different from the droughts that naturally occur in my writing. Traditional wisdom says to write every day whether you want to or not. This has worked; sometimes I sit down grudgingly and end up more into it than the days I sit down eagerly. But I’ve never been of the “force it daily” camp. I go months sometimes with no idea at all and no project I’m working on. I used to worry that my writing days were over during those times, but some inspiration always strikes me eventually leading to what I refer to as my “floods” (see my post on Tavern Tales for more on this topic, “Writing as a Disease”).

So most of the time I don’t force it. You know how if you stare at a word for a long, long time it starts to lose meaning and you’re no longer sure it’s spelled right? The same goes for writing. Sometimes you have to walk away and go do something else for awhile. Sometimes it helps to be pent up.

But eventually you have to go back and take another crack at it. Usually if I can get into a brainstorming session with Kris, our powers combined can punch through my current block. If that doesn’t work, I pull out the (not so) secret weapon: a notebook.

And no, I don’t mean a laptop computer. I mean a usually spiral-bound stack of paper with lines (yeah, they still make those things! ;p) and a pen. And I sit, on a desk or table or on the couch, and I just start writing stuff down.

There’s something about writing on paper that’s so quintessentially “first draft” that it just relaxes me. No matter how much I tell myself that a Word doc is my shitty first draft and no one will ever see it before I fix it up and make it pretty, I still freeze up in front of the keyboard because the document I’m adding to is still The Manuscript. In a notebook, it’s just notes. I can write whatever crap I want. I can repeat myself, write the same thing five different ways and know that when it comes time to copy it into The Manuscript, I can just pick whichever fits best. It’s like trying things on.

What do you do when you have writer’s block?

Update: Looks like someone was on the same wavelength as me today: http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2011/09/talkers-block.html

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~ by Amber on September 23, 2011.

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