Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Writer's block

The two words that terrorize someone with those publishing dreams so fragile and frail: writer's block.

But what exactly is this strange phenom that waylays the best minds in the business? Well, I recently read it is "the pause button on the controller of your mind" and that was about the most apt description I have read. I think it speaks to young writers of today in a way that old-fashioned ways won't.

Writer's block has been said to be the worst malady a writer can face and it has been called complete and utter bunk with no truth in it. Guess that depends on which side of the writing life you are calling from.

I am a victim of something that kept me out of the writing chair for months at a time and so I believe it is a real condition. I believe it is a gap in the writing mind, something that keeps us from giving of ourselves to that one urge that we feel we "must" do.

Honestly, I believe it can start out as a trickle thing, that just taps your arm and says, "don't worry about writing tonight" or "go watch television tonight instead of writing, one night won't hurt". Don't be fooled. It is like that old commercial where a devil is on one shoulder and an angel on the other. One says you don't have to write EVERY day, and the other says if you don't write EVERY day you will never write.

My advice? Be careful who you listen to.

You have to have down time... you have to rest your mind. We have so much to fill it these days, you should take a break, for sanity's sake. But remember, it should be a planned break, not an improvised one. Plan one or two nights a week to indulge in games, or television, or reading or anything NOT WRITING. But then, when the day is gone, stroll right on over to the writing chair and get in it.

If you plan your breaks, you will never want for time away, and may really find that when you get back to writing, it is more fresh than before! But if you neglect to take breaks, as I did, you will find that one or two nights away from the writing will result in a week then two then ... well, you get the image.

Don't kill yourself, Murderers. Save it for your characters. How delicious!


Mel Dawn said...

My difficulty seems to be procrastination. Perhaps this is a form of writer's block? After all, it's keeping me from writing!

Kim Smith said...

Procrastination is putting off something -- which fits doesn't it? But you shouldn't "put it off" too long, Mel. Get over to that writing seat and put down 100 words. That's only about 1/2 a page. You can do it!!