How to Eliminate Writer's BlockbyBOSTONFICTIONWRITER©
As you can tell from my 425 stories and 52 poems, I don't have any problem with writer's block. I used to, though, when I was younger. Finally, after long writing dry spells, I decided that my writer's block was attributed to not having lived enough of life, yet. I didn't have much to write about, then. I didn't have any stories to tell.
Actually, now that I think about it, my writer's block back then may have been from having too much testosterone. It's difficult to concentrate on writing stories when there are so many young women waiting to meet you. Ah, those were the days, young, dumb, and having writer's block.
Now, that I'm older and will be 88-years-old with my next birthday (cough, hack, wheeze) on July 26th, a Leo the lion, I have plenty of stories to share. By the way, I can use a new thick pile terry cloth bathrobe if someone doesn't know what to buy me.
I have plenty of surefire ways to eliminate writer's block.
1. Get away from the story. Leave it for a few minutes, hours, days, weeks or months. Start a new story if you can. Frank McCourt who wrote Angela's Ashes took 30 years to write his Pulitzer Prize winning novel in 1996.
2. Watch television. Read a book. Go outside and take a walk or a drive because the new images and things that you feel, smell, and hear, may induce some thoughts and reignite your story. Besides, all the while you are doing something else your brain is still percolating your story. Much like a computer that never shuts down, your mind is an amazing organ.
3. Take a nap. Trust me, this really works. Only, just before you put your head on the pillow and close your eyes, think about your story. Think about what you wrote or what you want to write. Fill your brain with those thoughts. Even read your story over before taking a snooze. Your sub-conscious mind will percolate your story while you sleep. More often than not, as soon as you wake up, you'll have plenty of ideas to help you continue writing your masterpiece.
4. Print out your story and read it out loud, really loud. Read your story as would an actor read his role. Put real feeling into reading your work. This will not only catch typos but also will stir thoughts in your mind about your story that you never thought you had.
4. Take a shower. Weird, huh? I don't know why it is, but I get so many of my ideas for a story while I'm washing my hair. Go figure. After having written so many stories from taking so many showers, I have the cleanest hair.
5. Go for a long walk. Some of my best story ideas happen when walking my dog in the dog park. The place where I walk my dog is so beautiful with hill and dale and trees and water that it's difficult not to have feel lots of emotions. Often times, as soon as I walk in the park I think, what to write today. Usually, I never answer my question, until I arrive home and sit at the computer.
6. Take a large pad of paper and free write and/or draw and/or doodle and/or scribble. Trust me, this really works. Only as you are doing this exercise, try and keep your mind free of thoughts, that is, until the thoughts that come are about your story. The more you do this, the more you will free the blockage in your mind.
7. You can do the same activity on a computer keyboard. Just write a bunch of unrelated words. Don't think about what it is you are writing, just write. You can list them in a line or write a bunch of nonsensical sentences. Allow your sub-conscious mind the control to choose the words while you just type them. Eventually, from what you have written will emerge a pattern of thoughts that will motivate you to write.
8. Write only when inspired to write. You can never force yourself to write. If you try and force the words, they are never any good, anyway.
Many people ask me where I get the ideas to write so many stories. It does not take much to inspire a story that will motivate me to write it. It can be a word, an image, a thought, or a picture.
I'm weird in the fact that normally, I get the entire inspired story in my mind all at once, the beginning, the middle, and the end, including the title. It comes to me in a rush like a fast forward movie. I've even gotten thoughts for novels like that. Sometimes, I can't type fast enough to record everything before I forget it. I've forgotten more than I've captured. Matter of fact, as evidence by some of my stories, my better stories were forgotten and never written.
I think this is one of the reasons why I'm such a lousy editor because I don't see my inspired story as words and sentences and paragraphs. I see my story as a whole story and even though I read over several times, it is difficult for me to read each line individually without seeing the entire story unfold in my mind. Maybe, I should have been a movie director.
9. Write within your window of inspiration. When I first started writing, my window of inspiration lasted only for a few minutes. After the window closes, all my writing was forced and not nearly as good as when it was inspired writing. The more you write, the longer your inspired window will remain open.
Now, my window remains open for hours at a time. Inspired writing is always the best writing. It just flows. Inspired writing is the closest thing to free writing and when you are experiencing inspired writing, you should never stop writing to read over what you wrote or to correct and edit mistakes until you feel the inspiration waning and stop. Then, sometimes, by reading over from the beginning what you wrote, you can continue to force open your window of inspiration.
10. Know your preferred time to write. My time is very early in the morning, 5am to 9:30am and late at night, 10pm to midnight. Rarely do I write anything in between and if I do, it's never any good.
11. Know your limitations. There are some days that I just don't have it. I couldn't write a sentence if I tried, so I don't. Then, there are some days that I'm possessed. I can easily write 5,000 words or more in a few hours.
12. Never under any circumstances should you write while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. How dare you tarnish the artful image of writing by drinking or taking drugs? If you are unable to control your need for intoxicants, you may mail them to me so that I, uhm, can help you continue your writing while clean and sober.
No, really, you don't have to thank me. It's my pleasure. Just write me for my address where to send your cases of alcohol and drugs.
13. I've saved the best suggestion to help you eliminate writer's block for last. Whenever you find yourself staring at a blank page, whenever you can't clear your mind to focus on what it is you want to write, whenever you are stumped and frustrated...read my stories and give them all a five vote.
I know, it sounds ridiculously self-serving, but trust me, it's not and it really works. Granted, you may have to read through a few hundred of my stories before your mind is clear enough for you to continue with your writing, but so long as you always give me a five vote, the process works like a charm.
Yes, there are those non-believers who think after reading only one of my stories that they may lose their mind. Well, lunacy is the principle behind writing and what makes for a good writer anyway, is it not? What better way to go crazy and to reignite your writing process at the same time then by reading my stories and giving them the ultimate vote of five.
Now, it is important that you always give my stories a five vote otherwise; I can't guarantee that this will work.