Is it that life interferes with creativity? That’s a big part of writers’ block—at least it is with me. A sick baby…a significant other with an issue that demands more TLC than usual…an adult child with a problem that’s a lot harder to fix than the scraped knee he got on his first fall off a two-wheeler. The possibilities for life intruding are endless and almost impossible to ignore.
Sometimes it’s not life but my story that stalls out. My hero doesn’t want to do what I planned for him, or my heroine comes across as too stupid to live when she reacts to him in a way that pushes along the story line. I try to force the story along until I give up and let it go in a different but maybe not a better direction.
When my writing stalls out, that’s when I (the world’s worst housekeeper) decide my office needs rearranging or my windows suddenly require cleaning. Or maybe I (an indifferent cook at best) conclude that if I succeed in making that cheesecake that requires the use of every small electric appliance and specialty kitchen gadget I own, my writing block will miraculously disappear. (It doesn’t—I just get frustrated when I discover somebody drank the Grand Marnier I was saving just for this recipe.)
So what’s the cure for writers’ block? I can’t turn off life, my story won’t fix itself, and the distractions I create only last a little while and create physical exhaustion to go with the brain inertia I was trying to heal.
Sometimes a brainstorming session with a fellow author/friend helps. It’s amazing how a second, fresh take on a problem makes it somehow become surmountable. Other tricks I’ve used with some success include making a change of venue—that is, moving my writing out of the confines of my office onto the patio or into a quiet, serene park away from home. Before gas went to $4 a gallon, I used to take long, scenic rides in my car, having aimless mental conversations with recalcitrant characters and imagining how they’d react to what I was looking at.
I’ve also done what I’m doing now, LOL: avoiding that ominous, blank monitor syndrome by writing a blog entry. At least it’s a little bit productive—I think!
How do you combat writers’ block? I’m anxious to hear other takes on the subject, before I drive myself crazy. Along with my eternal gratitude, I’ll donate a download, any of my published stories the winner may want, for the comment that works best for me. (Winner to be announced on this blog on May 1, 2012, or whenever I finish LOVERS’ FEUD, whichever comes first.)