The blank page with its vast, open space is looking back at me with an unblinking stare. Now I’m consumed by the fear and panic caused by the possibility of missing a deadline. I’ve got it, writer’s block, and it ain’t pretty. I know we’ve all hit the wall of supreme nothingness before, so this isn’t new, but what do you do when you find yourself with a blank page sneering at you and nothing in your brain?
This year I attempted my first NanoWriMo and quit when I realized that writer’s block was killing my story. I had restarted my novel three times before I realized I would not meet the deadline at the end of the month. Writer’s block can be a force so supreme, like “The Nothing” in the NeverEnding Story, that whole civilizations and entire universes can be devoured by its existence!
In an attempt to defeat the monster, I poked around on the internet and discovered a few tips that I thought to be very helpful.
New media maven, Mur Lafferty, has encountered the dreaded block and overcome the beast. In her podcast, I Should Be Writing, she shares, “I remembered that one of the cures for writer’s block is very Tao: do not bang your head up against the rock to move it. Just go around it. If I can’t work on the story that is going nowhere, I’ll work on something else.”
Apryl Duncan of www.FictionAddiction.net shared some tips on Absolute Write, saying that perfectionism “will win you an all-expense paid trip to Writer’s Block Island.” The cure, she says, is to give it a few days until your mind is “fresh and clear, giving you a whole new perspective on your own writing.” More tips from Duncan include re-reading some of your previous works, a change of scenery, and rewriting another’s work.
A few years back when I was studying film, my professor, Brad Boll taught me that the best cure for writer’s block was to jot down fleeting thoughts you have throughout the day and keep them in an “Idea Envelope.” This way, when the block hits you, pull out a little nugget of inspiration and continue on your way. Today I pulled out a little nugget that said “Victory over the unknown.”
It appears that I have won the battle this time and conquered writer’s block by exposing the beast for what it is. I would love to hear your cures for defeating writer’s block too. Please feel free to post your ideas in the comments section below.