Oh gosh, I’m sorry this is late. X.X Work decided to come and gnaw on my leg like some ravenous creature of some or another. But! Here is my promised Tidbit for last week, and you’re going to love it (I hope).
How to get rid of writer’s block AND how to keep it away.
Since I make my living as a ghostwriter, writer’s block is something I cannot afford–especially since I specialize in getting stories to my clients in record short time. Most of my income comes from people needing 10,000 words or more within a week.
So, needless to say, I got some proven and tried ways to not only stab writer’s block in the gut, but to keep that stupid little demon away. Bear in mind that, while these work for me (and in my opinion should work for most), people are weird, so don’t come hate’n on me if it don’t work for you. Maybe you’re just one of those, you know, weird ones.
Let’s start with how to get rid of it. It’s crazy stupid simple, but I got some little things to do to help the painful process along.
1. Butt in chair, hands on keyboard.
This phrase doesn’t come from me, but from a podcast I’ve found incredibly useful for a huge mass of my writing knowledge. If you haven’t heard any of podcasts from these guys, I highly suggest you start now. They’re only fifteen minutes long and can make dusting the house or doing dishes a breeze. But, for this term, I’ve included the link, since I know you’re probably all just as lazy as I am:
For all you’s who just want me to sum it up for you, it’s pretty much what it sounds like. The best sure fire way to get over writer’s block is just to glue your butt down and get through it, even if you find blood bleeding on your forehead from staring at that white expanse for too long. Yeah, it’s the pits, but here are some other ways to help you along while you’re suffering:
2. Do something random.
I mean in your story, not in real life, though go for it if it will make you happy. I just dyed my hair blue last week and I’m loving it, but I digress. Often times when we get stuck in our story it is because we have either lost interest in it or have wondered away from what interested us to it in the first place. So, to help your story become entertaining and fun for you to write again, do something random with it and see where it takes you. Be unexpected, like throw in a random vampire or have a plate of lobster fall on your main character’s head from the sky. Then you can have fun trying to explain this random act of God, and before you know it you’ll be *gasp* writing. Look! Words! Oh ‘lanta, you’re saved!
3. Do something physical that you can check your brain out for.
Example: laundry, dishes, walking, making your bed, checking out while some annoying a-hole is ranting to you about you-don’t-freaking-care. Just get busy doing something else besides your writing for a minute. Studies have shown, and it’s been proven by many a successful authors, that it is while your body is busy that your creative mind comes out to play. Think about your story while you’re at it, or just listen to music. You can do this before your set time of torture to extract the bloody writer’s block from your soul. It should help, even if only a little.
Now that you’ve got your block of doom off of your story, how do you keep it away from you? I mean, you don’t want to have to go through that irritation again, do you? I know I sure don’t. Like I said, I’d lose jobs and money if I didn’t keep writer’s block far from my edge of town.
How I do it is simple: I write every day.
Even if it’s only 1,000 words a day, I have made it my habit to set aside a certain amount of time every day to sit down and write. What do I write? Whatever I freaking feel like, even if it’s just one of these blogs. The point is, since it becomes habit for me, the juices keep flowing. Now not only is writer’s block not a problem for me at all, but I have more story ideas than I know what to do with. I don’t know what it is about it, but it’s like the muse realizes they aren’t going to waste their time on me so they just load it on.
Before you check me off or start complaining about how you just ‘don’t have time,’ get real. What do you think I do with my life? Sit around and eat popcorn while my kid get’s covered in snot? Being a stay at home mom is NOT easy, nor does being a homemaker give you tons of time. I have to do all the chores around the house, clean, cook meals, and keep my child clean, happy, and entertained, and every minute that he is asleep or I have free time I’m working for other people, and yet I still find the time to write my own stuff (like this blog that I’m writing right now).
Prioritizing. Is not having writer’s block important to you? You don’t have to dedicate three freaking hours of your day to keep writer’s block at bay. I’ve heard of a writer who uses her lunchbreaks at work, 30 minutes max, to write. She lets the ideas percolate while she’s working so that, when those 30 minutes come around, she’s off like Speed Racer after a monkey-killer.
And I’m not the only one who advises the write every day thing. Stephen King, in his acclaimed “On Writing,” advises this same thing. He even goes as far as to say that if we truly mean to be a writer, we need to prioritize time in our life to our craft. One of my favorite quotes of his from his book is:
“If you’re just starting out as a writer, you could do worse than strip your television’s electric plug-wire, wrap a spike around it, and then stick it back into the wall. See what blows, and how far. Just an idea.”
Turn off your TV for a moment, even if only for a half hour. Set a time, even if just for a little while, everyday, and when that time comes around tell your friends and family to bug off and leave you alone. If they love you and know what writing means to you, they’ll understand.
Now, I’m also going to admit that I’m not a Nazi and that it’s okay to take a few day breaks–honestly, people. Sundays are usually my break days, or if I haven’t seen my husband for awhile and just want to cling onto his arm all day long (muwahaha). But the concept is still the same.
If you, however, come up with a better way to keep writer’s block at bay, by all means, share your secrets. I think it’s more the habit of writing that keeps the block of boogers at bay than the every day thing, though every day is pretty much the way you make a habit, isn’t it?
Peace, ya’ll. And I hope this helps you.