Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Blank Page of Death

Writer's block is an unfortunate phenomenon that periodically attacks everyone who puts pen to paper. It's like a basketball player missing layups; a pitcher missing the strike zone; and an American not being the most beautifulImeantalented person in the universe.

In short, it's a terrifying event. Something that you're used to doing, doing well and enjoying suddenly becomes K2-esque task. The screen, devoid of words, taunts you. Dares you to be creative. And your creativity runs screaming into the corner, where it hides behind an end table and sucks its thumb.

How do you cajole it back into functionality?

Every writer has a different method of dealing with it, and here comes a cliche, there is no wrong way to clear up writer's block.

For me, it's a matter of steadfastness. Of staying the course. This basically entails staring at the screen, writing a few sentences, rewriting the second one, deleting the first one, then swearing under my breath and deleting all of it. Eventually I'll get one good sentence. Then I'll hang a second one on it. And after a while--we're talking hours, sometimes--I've accomplished something that I can walk away from until the next day.

Others suggest getting up and doing something else around the house. A sketch-writing class I took at Second City included an entire session on getting your creativity out of first gear using various exercises. I know a few writers who keep several projects simmering at once, so if they get hung up on one story, they can dive into another.

So let me just ask you: When that blinking cursor is staring you down, how do you fight back?

1 comment:

M. Gants v4.0 said...

Hmm, usually just doing something else helps me.

...but so does drinking a bucket of extremely strong espresso, or a beer, or maybe even just a quick bike ride - anything really that jogs your brain into another state...