Wednesday, April 2, 2014
B is for Block: Writer's Block, and How to Cope
Great! I knew I liked you.
Now that you're hooked, let's talk about writer's block.
For several years, I worked as a marketing consultant for a firm I adored, and one of the coolest things about my job was coming up with creative ideas. There were times when I'd literally be tasked with being zany and creative, and these were my favorite times by far.
Except... being creative rarely ever happened while sitting around a meeting table. That was usually where the assignments were dished out, though. And generally, when being watched expectantly by several pair of eyes, my creative juices would run dry. "Let me think about it and get back to you," I would say.
That's what I'd say, but it's not exactly what I meant. What I really meant was, "Let me stop thinking about this so hard."
Because for me, the biggest creativity killer in the world is over thinking. Sure, there are times when I have to meticulously outline, plot, and analyze. And those things certainly have their place in the writing process. But once it's time to sit down and actually write, I do my best writing when I'm not writing at all.
If I've spent too much time in front of the keyboard debating over my next sentence, I know it's time to pack it up for the day and go do something else. When I'm busy doing something else, I typically find my mind wandering right back to my writing and lingering there. I become distracted by my writing, instead of being distracted from my writing, if that makes sense. By the time I get back to my story, the words have all but typed themselves.
We each have our own way of coping with writer's block, and the "do something else" method certainly won't work for everyone. But if you're looking for a reason to step away from the computer for a few hours, then I suppose this is as good as any.