Making Friends With Your Writer’s Block

11 May

We have all struggled with Writer’s Block. The times when you know you need to be writing or you should be writing but you sit and you stare at the nothing on the page. It’s frustrating and scary.
I know that you had to have heard all kinds of advice on getting past, or through, writer’s block. And to some degree, I’ve tried almost all of them. To some degree, most have gotten me through some tough spots. But, in reality, I’ve found one that seems to work very well for me.
I’ve made my Writer’s Block into its own character. He doesn’t have a place in any book that I am working on, although that has even crossed my mind. Rather than looking on him as an adversary, I’ve embraced him; given him a voice.
Draco Imaginaria (thanks goes to Google Translate, it is Latin for Imaginary Dragon) is a lavender dragon with random multicolored scales scattered around his diminutive frame who is ageless, wears thick glasses, and is sometimes friendly and sometimes confrontational. He has been bullied (he IS a lavender dragon who wears glasses) much of his life. He’s pretty good at typing, despite being a dragon.
Whenever I find myself unable to get going with writing when I know I need to be getting words on the page, I open a text editor and pretend that it is a chat window. I talk to Draco and I think about the things that he might (or might not) say to me. When he is silent, sometimes I just type obscenities at him. He doesn’t judge. I don’t have to worry about sentences or even real words. And he doesn’t hold it against me later. He just eats the obscenities and adds them to his lexicon. He lives on words. That’s where my words go when I can’t find them to make up the work that I need to be doing. He has eaten them: all of them. If I feed him enough (because maybe I hadn’t been feeling him sufficiently lately so he is stealing them from my mind) or I feed him the words that he is hungry for, the words I’m looking for begin to flow naturally again. When he is argumentative, I argue back. Sometimes I win, sometimes he wins, but in the end, because he is mine, we both win.
Sometimes I talk to him when I’m angry or when I’m trying to puzzle through a plot line or a poem. Not really because I’ve actually hit writer’s block, but because I’ve come to respect his opinion on things. He is, after all, my own voice (I’m creative, not necessarily crazy). Sometimes all it really takes is not thinking about what I’m “supposed to be” thinking about to trigger what I need to have triggered. And I’ve managed to actually put in some writing time.
I always save these conversations, which is why I carry them out in a text editor, so I CAN save them. Later, I can go back over them and maybe use pieces and parts of the conversation as ideas for other work or dialog in something I’m working on.
It isn’t always about using the tools that other people have found work for them. Sometimes it is about embracing your own tools and making them work for you.
So tell me, what is your Writer’s Block’s name? Is he a cat or is she a unicorn? Describe him, make her come to life. Embrace the silly and the unusual and see if maybe you can’t make your writer’s block work for you!

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3 Responses to “Making Friends With Your Writer’s Block”

  1. Katie May 18, 2013 at 1:47 am #

    This is the first piece of advice for getting over writers block that I’ve read and liked! I find a lot of advice and lists just encourage me to procrastinate but this is something I could actually try.
    When I’m struggling I type gibberish at myself until something useful crops up but I think it would be more help to me if I made it constructive ramblings.
    If I made a character of my writers block I would image it to be an old man. Small in stature with a long ratty face and a thick fluffy white beard and hair. Dressed head to toe in tweed and smoking a pipe. Good evening Montgomery!

    • alicorndreams May 18, 2013 at 2:49 am #

      If you are going to have it, and we all do, you may as well make friends with it. It’s going to be with you from time to time your whole life. Embrace him. He just might be your best friend in the end!
      Glad I could bring a different perspective. It was about the only thing I could make work for me!

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