More than once in the past weeks I’ve heard writers say they’re blocked. They just can’t think of anything to write.
Maybe they’re thinking too much. Maybe it’s all about perception.
Because we understand how the human mind works, we know that there is no time during consciousness when our minds are entirely free of thoughts. Unless, of course, we’re a master guru who’s attained complete emptiness of thought while meditating.
But we’re talking about writers actively seeking something to replace the glaring white page we’ve been staring at for what seems an eternity. We’re not meditating in those moments, we’re stressing.
What if, instead of asking ourselves over and over, “What can I write?” we allow all that monkey mind chatter to fuel something we can use as a beginning?
If we slow down some of the thoughts flying through our minds as we sit, fingers poised over keyboard, they might begin to look like this:
What if you snatched just one of those thoughts as it slid by, and wrote it down? What if you wrote a sentence around that thought? What if you snatched another thought from your monkey mind and put it on paper? And another, and another, until… you’ve started writing something like this:
My parents told me I could never be a writer, so I end up sitting at the computer every day, drink in hand, staring at the screen until I have a headache. Their lack of confidence in me has become a landmine in my field of self-confidence, leaking into every aspect of my life. What do I tell my blind date when he asks what I do?
ME: “I sit in front of the computer all day in my pajamas, drink, and pretend I’m a writer.”
BLIND DATE: “Fascinating. Uhmm, my phone is vibrating… I’m on call at NASA this week in case there’s an emergency on the Space Station. I’m afraid I must end this enlightening evening. We’ll have to do this again some lifetime.”
You can see why it’s become an exercise in futility to do more than wait until I can stop for lunch… a break I look forward to as I wonder where I go from here. But today is the day I…
What you write doesn’t have to make sense; it doesn’t even have to be good. But you’ve just proven to yourself that you don’t have writer’s block. Now go back to your WIP and see where you really are going with it.
P.S. No, my parents never told me I couldn’t write, I dress as soon as I’m up, and I don’t drink and write (or drive). Yes, I did create the story after I created the graphic.
What tricks have you used to move under, over, around, or through writers block? Share your best with us in the comments.