I would like to introduce to you all my first guest poster (you may applaud). For this slot, John Hansen is supplying some words of wisdom on Writers’ Block, that insidious syndrome which afflicts all writers at some point in their career. Since it is now about half way through NaNoWriMo I imagine a lot of writers out there are feeling the sting of this affliction.
As authors, we all become ill, at some point in our lives, with the highly contagious writers’ block epidemic. This irksome disease is often transmitted through mad and unsuccessful attempts at writing stories and, sadly, there is no vaccination for it, nor can one build up immunity to it. It lurks in words and soon-to-be-formed pages, watching, waiting, prepared to infect yet another helpless writer. And as much as we, as writers, try to prevent writers’ block from infecting us in the first place, a vaccine has yet to be developed, but it will never. So if we cannot prevent writers’ block that begs the question: how can we cure it?
There are a number of successful home remedies used to cure writers’ block, but you requested Dr. Hansen’s opinion and it’s Dr. Hansen’s opinion you shall get.
- Don’t force yourself to keep writing – This, surprisingly, is a very common mistake. When some authors get writers’ block, they seem to think that by forcing themselves to continue writing, they will overcome the writers’ block. This is not true at all since that is not how writers’ block works. It’s like saying that if you break your leg, the best way to heal it is to force that leg to be constantly active as if the pain would suddenly go away because of this. It just doesn’t work.
- Relax, take a deep breath – So if you shouldn’t force yourself to write, what should you do? Well, first of all, don’t worry too much about writers’ block. It will go away soon, I assure you. Instead of cursing at yourself to come up with the next sentence and the next sentence and the next sentence (this does not make for quality writing), I advise you to sit back, turn away from your computer and take a deep breath. Don’t get worked up over writers’ block – that never helps – just calm yourself, clear your thoughts and pay no heed to the blinking cursing on your computer screen that seems to be sneering at you.
- Walk out of the room – The best cure for writers’ block seems too easy to be effective, but it is. After your have relaxed, stand up, stretch your legs and walk out of the room. I recommend walking around your home for a few minutes and then return to your computer afterwards. This will help to rejuvenate the creativity within in you, dispel all that anxiety, and a little fresh air – not the stuffy atmosphere of your room – will clear your head of those irksome cobwebs.
- Splash water on your face – You wouldn’t believe how well this works. If writers’ block has you so stressed out that you can no longer concentrate, simply go up to your sink, fill your hands with cold water and splash it on your face, again and again. This will help to revive your sleepy muses and invigorate your creativity. Cold water does wonders. After several splashes of that icy water, you’ll be ready to conquer that gosh darned writers’ block, guaranteed.
- Find something to distract yourself with – A great way to rid yourself of writers’ block is to find something else to occupy your time for awhile, even as short as a minute. Talk to someone, watch a funny YouTube clip, visit those beloved online forums, admire your blog site stats – do anything you want; it doesn’t matter as long as you are distracting yourself from writers’ block with an alternate activity. The advantage of this is that it will help to clear your brain of all thoughts, worries and whatever else lurks within the confines of that messy head of yours and will allow for a fresh start when you return to your computer.
- Don’t be afraid of failing: just write! – Once are finally ready to conquer those malicious words, it is time to return to your computer. Do not let your computer’s imposing presence deceive you; you are its master, you are its keeper, you control it and all of the words it will form. As frightening as it may be, to overcome your writers’ block don’t stray away from your computer; just strut right up to it and write. And write. And write. Once you have done this, you can kiss writers’ block goodbye. At least for the day…
John Hansen is the author of several short crime stories and an unpublished crime fiction novel. He has a very interesting, unpredictable (sometimes good, sometimes bad), creative, disturbing, random, insightful and humorous mind. You can him at home, cursing at either his computer. Or sometimes you can find him on his couch, staring at the blank TV screen as if it is some magical, awe-inspiring promiseland. But in most cases, it isn’t. John’s blog, The Incessant Droning of a Bored Writer (http://incessantdroningofaboredwriter.wordpress.com), is a book blog with an edge of mystery/thriller/crime fiction that includes book reviews, author guest posts, author, agent and publisher interviews, (somewhat) insightful posts about writing written by yours truly, along with its fair share of cool facts, randomness and all around insanity. Be sure to subscribe to it if this post was of interest to you since you’ll get much more like this!