Saturday, August 28, 2010

Writer's Block

I get asked about writer's block a lot.  I'm not sure why.  Do I look like I have it?  Frankly, I have the opposite problem.  I fall asleep writing in my head, wake up in the middle of the night writing in my head, and woke up this morning and said "Solidarity!"  That is the word I've been trying to think of for two weeks.

When I used to get writer's block, it was because something besides writing was stopping me from doing what I needed to do.  And being ADHD didn't help either.  But that's another story entirely. 

If you are suffering from writer's block, I have one question for you:

Are you blocked from writing entirely, the project you're working on or just the specific scene?

If it's writing entirely or the project, do something completely distracting to get your mind off of it. Once your mind is clear, if you want to try diving back in, I recommend reading what you've already written. I almost always get sucked back in by tweaking things or editing or adding to what's already there.

If it's just a specific scene, you can skip it and write a different scene, which I do a lot. I never write in order. But then if it's the ONLY scene left to write, obviously, you need to get it done.  I recommend using music. Many years ago, my agent wanted me to rewrite a scene in Lust for Danger. I couldn't make myself do it. I stared at the screen for ages. It was a sexy scene in the back of a limousine, and I just wasn't in to it. (I was also annoyed with the agent for other reasons.) It was the only scene in the book that wasn't complete, and I had a deadline. So I put on "We'll be Together" by Sting, with its sexy beat (and, of course, Sting) and played it over and over maybe even thirty times, really loud, so I couldn't possibly escape the sound of it.  I continued playing it while I was writing until the scene was done. I let the music transport me. So, if you can, pick a song that reflects the mood of your scene and beat yourself with it until you get what you want. :)

I hope that helps!  And, as my high school English teacher Mr. Becker wrote in my yearbook, Write Write Write.

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