Sunday, November 4, 2007

Hi, neighbor!

I hate writer’s block, though I actually love the term. It makes me think of a street – Writer’s Block – populated by frustrated authors who wave to each other as they walk the dogs. You can see them standing at the kitchen window, staring at nothing and chewing on their lower lips. None of them can write a word, or they wouldn’t live there. If they come up with something to put down on paper, they get to move.

Anyway, when I’m living on that block, there are two things I do to get unstuck. The first is easy, and a not-uncommon trick. When I can’t write, I read. A lot. I read and read and read everything I can get my hands on. Biographies and novels and YA and history – it’s all fair game. That helps a bunch, because some idea in some book will strike me and I’ll get off and running again with all that new material percolating around in my subconscious as fuel.

The other thing I do when I’m stuck is skip ahead to the next exciting thing in my story and write that. Sometimes it’s easier to write point A and point B and then figure out the road that connects them. At least, sometimes it’s easier for me that way. I think that’s the biggest thing about writer’s block – it seems to be a very individualized affliction. What unsticks me won’t work for Lisa or Heidi, what works for them may leave me completely flat. But I like hearing what other writers do, ‘cause sometimes it’s the only way to find a great new trick. I’ll always try something. If it works, great! If not, I’ll just keep waving at the other writers in residence on the Writer’s Block until I can find a way to relocate.

1 comment:

Lisa A. said...

Writer's Block! You make it sound so friendly, although it's a place we're all dying to leave!