Sunday, February 13, 2011

How to break through Writer's Block.

I am no Stephenie Meyer, but I have been around the block when it comes to writing novels. Did I mention I've written five?

And I've banged my head against that mental brick wall before.

Scientifically, there are some very good reasons for experiencing writer's block. It has to do with brain waves and such. Anyway, if you've never hit that barrier before, let me explain it to you. Wait, first let me explain the writer's block I'm talking about is the kind that occurs in short periods of time. Not the kind that stalls a novel for weeks at a time. OK, here we go.

Sitting at the keyboard, my fingers flying so fast I think they're tying in knots, the story comes alive on the page before me. Seriously, this is really how it happens! Ok, focus. So, the story comes. The character is afraid. He/she sees a door, and it's the door we all see in a movie and we shout, "Don't open the door!" But what does the character do? He/she opens the stupid door and steps into the dark.

And then...

And then...?

And then my fingers hover over the keyboard. Literally, they wait and wait as my brain goes, "Uhh...what? Did you say something?" Like it had been asleep the whole time and is just waking up, completely oblivious to the fact the story is depending on it! And still my fingers hover, waiting for the words that don't come. Sometimes I look over my shoulder at nothing, and Mr. A says, "What's wrong?" I just shake my head, conveying, "Don't bother me, I'm in a daze."

So how do I get out of the mental black hole, around the brick wall, out of the bottomless pit?

Simple. I dance around the kitchen with my son. Crank up some peppy music, dance, laugh, make a fool of myself, get my blood flowing and my mind flying.

You don't have a child? Dance around the kitchen with your spouse. Don't have a spouse? Dance around the kitchen with your significant other. Your dog. Your cat. Your gerbil. Yourself. You at least have that readily available. Don't have a kitchen? Dance around the living room, your office, the bedroom, in the shower, down the street...whatever! (Just try not to do it in too much of a public place. :) )

You think I'm kidding, but I mean it. Sometimes you just have to get up and move before there are permanent hiney indentations on your writing chair.

So. The next time you are caged in by your own mind, get up and turn on some music. After your heart is pumping and you feel like you've got the giggles, get back to work. You will have to get back in the groove, but at least the words are coming once again.

Anyone else have any good ideas? Pin It


Dena said...

I'm not much of a writer, but I get "artist block" where I end up staring at a blank white canvas for hours...and it stares back. Some things that I find helpful are: dancing :) cleaning, going on a walk, working on something else, browsing through other artists websites and portfolios (or in an authors case, browsing through other writers blogs), and eating. I find that if I keep my mouth busy (I chew a lot of gum), my mind can seem to get past the I-don't-know-how-to-proceed phase.

Deborah A. said...

Oh, I really like the gum idea! Thanks Dena.

jnkeller said...

Thanks for your ideas! I've been dealing with that (well, that and a lack of time) for awhile now.

Deborah A. said...

Nicole, my dear, when you have little 'uns, you just do what you can. Sometimes I find it hard to go from fantasy land to real life with a baby sitting on my lap pounding on the keyboard! :) I admire you for still trying.