As a writer, there will be days when the words spill from my mind and gush all over my keyboard. Those are good days. It’s sunny outside, the birds are chirping a merry tune, and my neighbors’ toddler is either asleep or visiting the grandparents. Occasionally, however, I’ll have really awful stretches where the words are stymied and nothing pushes the blinking cursor forward. I’m not talking about regular writer’s block, which I’ve written about before. No, this is far worse. This isn’t just struggling to find the right direction for a story or wrestling with a difficult scene. It’s apocalyptic: thunder and lightning accompanied by merciless winds, dead birds plummeting from their perches, and the toddler next door wailing like an air raid siren (which, admittedly, often happens on good days, too). This is what I like to refer to as “the inspiration abyss.” No matter how hard I try, I can’t get any of my ideas off the ground. Even if I manage to write a thousand words, they ultimately lead to a dead end, forcing me to start over. While writer’s block can last for days, the inspiration abyss can last for weeks. Currently, I’m dealing with a stretch that has now lasted just over a month. It’s the most frustrating experience as writer. I don’t have any quick-fix solutions, but I’ve developed a few strategies to aid me in my attempts to claw my way out of these bleak situations: (more…)
I’ve been going back and forth the entire month trying to figure out a topic for my monthly blog post, but I just couldn’t zero in on anything of interest. It’s the curse of the writer’s block. However, while going through some photos I took during Wonder Con last weekend, I realized that I haven’t really blogged about my Ninja Turtles fandom. And that’s kind of a shame because they played such a huge part in my childhood, and they continue to inspire and entertain me to this day (with the exception of Michael Bay’s movies – I’m a fan of Ninja Turtles, not the ugly, illegitimate love children of Shrek and The Hulk).
Writer’s block. It’s more like a cinder block, really. Sometimes I can feel it weighing me down, tempting my forehead to meet my desk in a violent manner. Repeatedly. It’s the most frustrating foe in a writer’s rogues gallery and equivalent to Batman’s Joker, Thor’s Loki, or Adam Sandler’s agent (for the love of Odin, please tell Sandler he doesn’t have to accept every vomit-inducing script he reads). Writer’s block is especially difficult when on a deadline. As an MFA student, I fall under that category, having to produce a packet of new fiction every month. Packet number three is fast approaching. It’s not a good time to feel that cinder block hovering above me, but I can already see the hard, gray corners forming. I had a fun story idea initially. After trying to flesh out the idea and plot some of the events, I had realized this story wasn’t going to work as I initially planned. There were too many plot threads to squeeze into a short story. Now I’m struggling to come up with an alternate idea. Writing a humorous horror story is harder than it looks. Just as ask Stephenie Meyer. Don’t worry, that’s a little joke. See how it sparkles in the sunlight? Meyer has more success than I’ll ever see in five lifetimes, so it’s fine.
What happens when a writer runs into the inevitable block? What can you do to crush that thing into little pieces like a Mortal Kombat test of might? Here are few techniques I use to overcome the writer’s most dreaded adversary.