Sunday, June 26, 2016

Breaking Through Writer's Block

^Writer's block, a visual representation^

When it comes to writer's block, there's a lot of things someone could do to get through it. But, the complexity and individuality of it is the worst part. Everyone experiences it in their own way, and they have their own sets of "cures" for it. There isn't one single thing that works for everyone, nor is there one single way to accurately describe what writer's block is and what it does to the creative mind. Above all, the "cure" for any blockages is straightforward: write. But, as many of us know, straightforward doesn't mean simple, and it definitely doesn't mean easy.

Write. Sounds easy enough as is, right? But if it was, writer's block wouldn't be a thing. Sure, we all wish we could just let our stories constantly go from our brain to the page with a perfect flow. But that just doesn't happen. For some people, such as myself, it's not so much having a lack of ideas or knowledge of where to go with the story, but rather it is a lacking of motivation or belief in ability. Others, however, do have the issue of not knowing where to take their story in the next chapter, or even on the next page. So what do you do?

Sure, you could sit down and force yourself to write. I've done it a fair share of times and it does get me back into the swing of things a lot of the time, but wanna know a secret about that stuff I forced myself to write? It sucks. It sucks hard. That's what happens when you force it out of you. You'll get back into the swing of it sooner or later, but the stuff you force out will be terrible. Doesn't matter who you are or what you write, if you force it, it won't work. And, I don't know about any other writer's out there, but I don't want to put a terrible chapter into a work in progress. Preferably, I wouldn't want to write anything terrible ever, but that's just not possible. But, there is one thing that many writer's block sufferers, my past self included, miss when it comes to breaking through the blocks: When the answer is to write, it doesn't have to be on something serious.

We all love our manuscripts, and we want the best for them (or we should anyway), so breaking through blocks in our minds by working on our much-loved manuscripts might not be good. It wouldn't do you, or your passion a justice. My suggestion, for your sake and the sake of your work, would be to keep a separate writing file just for breaking through your blocks. It doesn't have to be anything serious, as a matter of fact it is better if it isn't. In my case, it's a Word file that, when I need to, I sit down and just write stuff. It is, as I call it, my "spill file". Sometimes it's whatever I'm thinking about right then, or whatever happened that day, or a summary of a story I want to write sometime in the future. Whatever I've got to put on the page, I let it spill out freely. I start by forcing it, letting the crappy writing out into a place specifically made for it, then before I know it I'm writing in that file because I want to. Then I just switch over to my manuscript and keep on keeping on, and my serious writing thanks me for it.

It doesn't even have to be a computer file. I know a good few people who keep journals or diaries to go through it. But, if you're like me, you're not a fan of the diary-style of writing, but it's the same concept. If you're having trouble with writer's block, you have to write to get through it, but not on your passion project. Once you've got your side journal or "spill file" to send all that forced writing and necessary gibberish, you'll be able to do better by your own writing and your work will end up more polished and organized at the end. In short, you can break through writer's block and organize your mind all at the same time, you've just got to put all the words you've got on paper, and get back to your manuscript or project when you can better focus your passion.

And now everyone's favorite part. Shameless plug time! If you liked this blog post, check out what happens when I manage to break through my writer's block and finish my novels: