So, this month has been about "curing" Writer's Block and we've gone over
So in review we have writer's block caused by fatigue, inner editor issues, and not knowing who our characters really are or what kind of story we are trying to create.
The last piece of advice I'm going to give is getting feedback from critique partners. Good critique partners are hard to find. Some think your stuff is awesome. They are the cheerleaders. Go to them when you need to feel good. Some only crit line edits. They are great for finalizing work. Then there are developmental critiquers. Those are the hard ones to find. You might want to try Ladies who critique or check out Savvy Authors where you can submit your work to low cost classes.
But ultimately Writer's Block is due to procrastination. You don't write for several days/weeks/whatever and then when you go to write, you expect to write 5K words without a hand cramp? I can't help you. Well, I can give you a hand massage, I can listen to you whine and offer you cheese, but really writing is a muscle. Writing a certain amount of words is a perishable skill. So as the Loki says...You. Writing. Now. (Kneel later) Yes, your welcome.
Let me tell you about my injury while trying not to fall off a cliff. **Warning--visually graphic link connected to this story in which I did not subject you to in case you don't like bruises, scrapes or blood.**
So I was walking my dogs...
When I say wilderness I mean the dirt trail 3/4th of a mile from Tampa Avenue, a busy road that SoCal Valley residents know as that street to get to THE MALL.
So I was walking along, minding my own business when...*fictional dramatization ahead* a BEAR stepped in and tried to take Emma down. Luckily, Emma's survival backpack saved her from injury. Alley-coon dog got involved. Puppies got flung. I tore out my my handy crocodile knife from my survival pack, announced my battle cry and lunged for the beast!
Actually, all that happened in my mind.
What really happened is... I tripped on a rock.
Desperate to stay on my feet I caught myself once, twice, three times and then went down. My feet couldn't keep up with my falling body. Slow motion nooooo....
Both my dogs have seen me go down so many times they were like "oh, hi! Wanna play down here?" *Lick, Lick*
My knee stung and the skin was one big abrasion, but I laughed it off and got up.
Let me get to the point.
A lot of people say "walk if you have writer's block". Let your unconscious mind work out the problem. Do you ever get the urge to punch those people? It's irrational, but I'm just wondering if anyone else feels that way? I mean sure, go out and take a break but when your frustrated to get over the hump words like these don't help me. It makes me want to punch you in the face. Or maybe I'm just violent.
Truthfully walking HAS helped in the past. However, since I write for money I don't have the luxury of going--oh well, I won't write today I'll just mosey around the block. Walking during times where the "writer's block" was exhaustion--those times has helped me on a handful of occasions.
On the other hand, I believe walking everyday has had a big impact on helping me prevent writer's block. That steady, routine that helps me think--when I'm not falling to my knees. And yet, even falling helps with my writing. I mean it's totally embarrassing to say Oh yeah, I'm a klutz. I fall all the time and that's why I have this gaping head wound. No, no. Not in my story. In my story...
Emma leaped back on the bears back! Alley valiantly charged at the same time. Since the thing had a eye-patch over one eye, I shuffled around it's blind side, wrapped my arm around it's neck and stabbed it in the head. Of course, bear craniums are not so easy to penetrate. I paid for it. The bear turned on me and ripped his gnarly claws into my forehead, throwing me down. Emma snarled, protecting me while I got back up. Alley self-sacrificed herself and leaped for the bear again. My dog went flying into a tree. That made me mad. This time...I went for the bear's other eye...
And now my falling has given me experience to write about and a facebook post to gross you all out. Do you have such unexpected experiences? Well, I can tell you this one will help me in the future. I guess you could say I fell out of writer's block instead of walked out. Happy writing!
I had to work with an artist to get this sketch and you know what? It wasn't that expensive. Especially line drawings. I usually like to budget for character sketches for each project. If I just get the main characters usually that's fine. I've spent from $5 on fiverr to $50 on upwork for a sketch of any one character. It helps me and when I think about the characters more and what they look like, they give me a sense of who they are.
Just another trick to beat another form of writer's block. It's also an awesome feeling to get pictures of your character. A one of a kind image of the people inside your brain. For me it's worth the expense.
You have a deadline.
You want to write and can't.
There's this buzz in your ears and you can't get rid of it because there's too much going on in your head.
But I have an answer to help with Writer's Block and it's in line with this picture.
No, I'm not saying to eat or cook to cure your Writer's Block, but they are related.
I've found there are different types of Writer's Block. I'm only going to write about one cause and cure because there are a few reasons for Writer's Block.
If you don't have an outline and don't want to do an outline then try filling out this awesome, fun character sheet while thinking about your aloof character:
The file you will download looks as below. When I don't want to write a whole outline I start with who my characters are. It gives me insight and starts me writing. I mean, it's easy to write about people that are half-formed in your head and flesh them out a bit more. What does it hurt to spend 30 minutes with the character you love or love to hate?
If you are not opposed to taking the time to work out and outline, story planning guide or are just desperate to get your story out, then try these files below. I've included the Novel Outline summary, the Story Planning Worksheet and the Scene Outline so take your pick on what type of questions or format gets you going.
I don't use all three, but sometimes use one or two.
Now you'll notice it says "outline" and for those terrified of a "box" then consider it an exercise to get your mind off your writer's block. If you're unable to answer these questions then maybe you should do a little outlining or rather--asking what if's and all...
There is also one other option that might help you. It's to get off your computer. I found that my editor quiets down significantly when I turn to pen and paper. Hence, my Livescribe 3 electronic pen and moleskine notebook. I can't seem to type "new" stuff. Which is why I turn to the dinosaur method of pen and paper. It might work for you too.
As a last ditch effort and it's truely that pure white gives you the heepy-jeebies, then try mashing the keys with your knuckles just like if you were playing the piano so there is something on the screen. Then start with how you feel..."I feel..." start with that sentence.
So what does all this have to do with the picture at top? Well, you see, sometimes a story takes effort to plot, plan, and imagine but then when you do have it all it comes out in a gush. Much like planning a meal you have to prepare, cook and then serve the food. It takes little time to eat it after that. Staring at a blank page is like staring at a turkey trying to decide how it should be eaten. Should I bake it? Fry it? Steam it? Or put it in a grill? Well...a little planning might help! Or perhaps you just need to get started.
If you have another option I didn't put down to help with Writer's Block, please let me know in the comments! I'd like for everyone to have the benefit of finding out which Writer's Block they have and how to cure it! Good luck!
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