Pushing Past Writer's Block

Photo credit: MyDigitalSLR on Flickr
I’ve read more than my share about writer’s block. Some say it doesn’t exist. Others say it’s just part of the journey. Still more make money writing books about how to conquer it.

Many use the metaphor of a brick wall when describing it, and I think that’s fair enough. It certainly does have wall-like qualities. You’ll be writing along one day, perfectly at ease then BAM! Suddenly you don’t know what to do. Where do you go from here? How do you connect this scene to the next?

WHY IS IT SO RIDICULOUSLY HARD TO WRITE A SINGLE WORD?

The interesting thing about the brick wall metaphor is that many say getting past writer’s block is like breaking through it. I like to imagine a wrecking ball crashing into it and bits of writer’s block debris fly everywhere while the author laughs maniacally and continues to CONQUER THE WORLD THAT IS HER BOOK.

Eh-hem.

My experience, however, is that you can’t always break through with a wrecking ball. Sometimes, regardless of how hard you stare at the wall, the marvelous wall-destroying idea doesn’t blossom in your mind. Sometimes it does, and that’s when you go crazy with the demolition, but not always.

Upon keeping stubbornly to my 1500 words/day quota, I discovered something interesting about writer’s block. You see, you can’t always destroy the wall with one fell swoop (though that would be nice, wouldn’t it?) Sometimes instead, you have to shove your back against it and push.

What I mean is you have to write through the block.

No, it’s not easy. These are the days that the writing will come a little sluggish. The times when you have no idea what the next sentence will be or where it will come from or even where it will take you. But if you take breaks, work hard and most importantly keep to your goal, the words will come. I promise. They may not be the best words you’ve ever written and they certainly won’t flow the nicest. At the end of the day, however, you’ve met your quota.

And slowly but surely, day after day, you’ll push that wall back until it gives up and crumbles beneath your feet.

What do you do to get past writer’s block?

3 comments:

Lyn Midnight said...

Ah, bless you. I do the same. :) This habit was actually aided by NaNoWriMo actually. Some writers don't want to participate as they view it as a Writing Crap contest. Well, I'd like to ask them how that's any different from any other writing day... What I mean is, if you can write THROUGH the block, as you said, you don't need to worry about crap because soon enough it gets better because we practically program our brains to follow the schedule. I read an article about this, very helpful, and I wish I could remember the source. Oh well... Thanks for this tasty lunch teart, Ava. Happy mongering!

Ava Jae said...

Exactly! Writing is all about shoving through the crap to find those gems. But if you don't start with a clunky block of clay, how will you create your masterpiece?

Thanks for commenting (and the well wishes!)

Uva Be Dolezal said...

I fight with myself constantly, not about writing, but about revising something over and over without end like a schizophrenic table. So I research, and then do some more research and edit if you just don't "feel' the next line, I think there is usually a reason. You might just need brain food or a walk outside with a journal book or something. And if all else fails plug your brain into a video game, or TV or better yet a book on your reading list.. or go to blogs like this :D

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