Monday, July 21, 2008

Writer's Block

At a writer’s forum I visit, one of the most asked questions is How do I get rid of writer’s block? Answers from other writers range from there is no such thing to try to figure out why you are blocked. It seems to me that writer’s block has become a blanket excuse for not writing.

If there is such a thing as writer’s block, I feel it is more behavioral than anything else. In other words, we find other things to do rather than writing- go to the market, socialize, clean the cat box, watch the comedy channel, play Spider Solitaire on the computer, or even call Great Aunt Ethel who hasn’t seen us since we were six and doesn’t even remember us.

Excuses, excuses.

I don’t want to try to figure out why I don’t want to write. It’s easier just to admit the truth- I don’t want to write, I would rather (fill in the blank). That’s when I take responsibility and writer’s block becomes a choice rather than some psychological condition destined catapult me into a therapist’s chair (and take all the money I could be making if I were writing).

My cure to writer’s block is to write. I have a set time each day, five to six days a week, when I commit to sitting down and writing. On weekdays, I write in the evening for 45 minutes to one hour. On weekends, I am more flexible and will often write in different places, sometimes as little as a half hour, other times as much as two hours.

What helps me stay focused is to have several projects going at the same time. If I make the choice not to work on one, I will work on the other. I try to keep some type of a deadline in mind. Perhaps, I want to finish editing chapter six of my novel by the end of the week, but I also want to continue writing my short story in two weeks. If I have my priority on track, I will finish editing chapter six and then move to the story. If I have my priorities in the wrong order, then Spider Solitaire will pop up on my screen (all right, I open it, it doesn’t just pop up) and I will play a game. But, I always have the choice whether to continue my game or write.

If I’m smart, I make Spider Solitaire a reward for completing a day’s writing. Writing is hard work. I must pay attention to detail including spelling, grammar, and style while I use that creative and physical energy that can drain me to the bones. Rewards for hard work are a must.
Remember, those of you who do believe in writer’s block, this is my opinion only because, if I allowed myself to believe in writer’s block, I would probably use it as an excuse not to write.

I am still trying to find a home for one story. I am working on another short story that I want to submit to Glimmer Train, as well as editing my novel. My short story has priority because it takes less time to write than my novel. Finally, I have been considering a volunteer position in our local writer’s club, but I am not sure I will have time for it.
Time to get to work on my short story just for my reward of Spider Solitaire.

3 comments:

Writer Freak said...

Yes, there's nothing easier than not writing. "Spider Solitaire." I got a kick out of that one, because it is so, so true.

Susan Littlefield said...

Hi Craig:

When I got my new computer with Vista a few months back, all I found at first were these HP Games-they "tease" you with a free play, then to play furhter you have to pay!! Well, I did a lot of writing because the last thing I will pay for is games. However, sooner or later I found Spider Solitaire...and it is so addicting!

I am working hard on avoiding the Solitaire until I have completed my writing portion for the day (It's kind of like eating- eating too much makes me unhealthy, writing too much makes me feel GREAT! So, the more I write, the better off I am.

I enjoy the interactions at WD- you really contribute a lot to our wonderful little community of writers. :)

Birdlee said...

Hi. I don't know about Spider Solitaire. Please tell me how to find it. Meanwhile, it's nice to be blogging with other writers. I started a blog at birdlee-fedupwith.blogspot.com.
Come share what you are fed up with
or anything else you like.
Write, write, write!
Do I have to send you a personal invitation? I don't know who you are yet, so how?

Hello, Everyone! I am throwing out a reminder to followers of this blog that I have launched a new website which I am now maintaining at w...