How (Not) to Talk to a Writer #9

What do you do when you get writer’s block?
calvin1
calvin2

This is a difficult question to answer. I’m not sure what ‘Writer’s Block” truly is. If you ask a dozen different writers about this, I suspect you’ll get a dozen different answers. But there are likely times when we all have a lack of motivation.

But I have a contract. I have to produce…on a deadline.

So what do I do when the inspiration is thin?

Usually I do something else. I don’t build sandcastles, but I’ll garden. I’ll clean house. Often I’ll work on some other writing project. But I’ll do something that will let my problem story ‘rest’. And usually that will shake free whatever I need.

That doesn’t always work. I have discovered that a deadline works wonders. In a workshop I was challenged to write a story in 24 hours given a prompt and some research time. I ended up writing “Fleurs du Mal” that way. Now I don’t set myself 24 hour deadlines, but I’m pretty good about meeting larger deadlines that I set for myself.

I suspect that’s one of the things that sets the ‘writers’ apart from ‘people with good ideas’. We’re practiced at forcing ourselves to sit down and pound out the words.

Even if they’re not always inspired.

Once they’re there on the page, it’s much easier for me to fix them.

That won’t hold true for every writer, but it’s what works for me.

What works for you?

#SFWAPro

2 thoughts on “How (Not) to Talk to a Writer #9

  1. I love that strip! It’s one of my favorite Calvin and Hobbes moments (right up there with the death of the squirrel).

    My way of dealing with it is similar to yours. I think the biggest change for me in how I approach it was when another writer (can’t remember who, sorry) said writer’s block isn’t writer’s block. It’s *project block*. All it means is that you haven’t found a solution for *this particular problem*. So, I’ll get out my various idea tools (mind-mapping, actual mapping, character interview, etc.) and work the problem. If that doesn’t help, then I switch to a different project for a while.

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