I wish I had a nickel for every person who has spoken with me about writer’s block.
I don’t believe it makes a difference if you are a plotter or a panster; at some time in your life, you will experience writer’s block.
How do you deal with the infamous blank page?
I find it useful to examine why I am drawing a blank, or my characters have stopped talking. Many times it is that part of the novel that we all dread, the middle slump. Since we all know we want to avoid that, just possibly, we put undue stress on ourselves and cause our stream of conscious to become, derailed.
Keep in mind that it is your SFD or $hitty first draft. Only you will see it, read it, and know that your characters decided to go on strike.
Some causes for the strike can be that you don’t want to deal with this part of the story. Maybe it is too close to you. There are many land mines with writing, and I find it refreshing and often times cathartic when I work my way through a story.
If the words are not coming, turn off your ‘IBM Selectric’ and go do something else. As an artist, I find if I am busy with some graphic, or a painting, my characters will want to see what I am doing and come out and play.
Now, why do you suppose that might be?
When we are between awake and asleep, in the shower and yes, doing something with our hands like coloring or painting, your brain produces something called Theta waves. A different part of your brain is active and guess where the characters hideout? Yes, you have knocked on the door, rang the bell and now you have huffed and puffed the proverbial threat, all while trying to color between the lines.
One thing that I find that assist me is I will put the project up, and work on something else, such as this blog. Hours, days, weeks, and even months later, I will start at the beginning of the project and reread it. There you will find the epiphany. The Ah-Ha moment will become apparent and you will see where your GPS took you on a wrong turn. You might have to scrap a few paragraphs or chapters, but that is how my process works. In ten years, I have written well over thirty novels, so I must know something.
The literary process, to me, is the gold standard of how I wish to live. How can I tell the best there while remaining true to who and what I am? Truth over lies, love over hate and yes, and a dirty mind is necessary at times to keep it real.
We are the perfect juxtaposition of Jekyll, and Hyde, only most of us ‘hide’ that dark side while putting on our happy face. In my books, I rip the Band-Aids off. One of my critics told me that she did not like the F word. Umm, don’t read it. If my characters use that vernacular guess what, the F word is there.
Honesty, truth, and kindness will take you far in life. Knowing who you are will assist you through those bleak times when the blank page is striking fear into your heart.
“Write the shitty first draft and own it!”
Much Love -TW