Thursday, December 28, 2006

Thursday Thirteen

It's really a meme thing that lots of bloggers do, partly as promotion, partly as a way to get the wheels turning in a different fashion. Page Smith wants some useful writer things.

So I poked around in the hidden recesses of my computer and came up with "Thirteen Ways to Deal with Writer's Block."

In a previous life, I was a teacher. I was the mean teacher that would make you write. I didn't care if you wrote "I have nothing to say" millions of times because I truly believe that at some point your brain will rebel and give you something interesting to say.

Plus, waiting for a muse doesn't really work if you are writing 50,000 words in one month (aka Yes, I did it. Three times. But I'm not nearly amazing as a woman I met from Green Bay. Her word count was over three times the required amount.

So, without much further ado, Thirteen Ways to Deal with Writer's Block!

  1. Have an outline before hand. Use the outline time to think of all the the wild "What if" scenarios, instead of trying to work it out during the story.
  2. Stop in the middle of a sentence. It's really easy to pick up and keep going.
  3. Stop when you know what it coming next. Again, if you know what to write next, it's easy to keep going afterwards.
  4. Do the unexpected. "Suddenly, a penquin appeared in the room..." is a great way to shake things up, remind yourself that this is supposed to be fun and get more words out of your characters' mouths. You can always fix what doesn't work with editing.
  5. Keep your butt in the chair and write anyway. Painfully, one word at a time, until blood is streaming down your face from the exertion. Or, until it is easier.
  6. Open a new document. List all of the reasons you can't write. When the page is full, you're characters will look pretty damn enticing to write about again.
  7. Invite your character to lunch and ask what should happen next. Yes, I have conversations with people I've created. Both the real ones and the imaginary ones.
  8. Muses don't exist. Writers write. Waiting for a muse is like waiting for the boy (or girl) you had a crush on in 6th grade to notice you. Unless someone gives one of you a kick, nothing is going to happen. Writing is the kick.
  9. Allow yourself the freedom to make mistakes. If necessary, turn your font to white so it matches the background. If you can't see it, you can't edit it.
  10. Figure out what motivates you. I love seeing my word count meter go higher and higher and higher. I'm motivated by the numbers.
  11. Make it a habit to open your manuscript first and email last. If you always answer email first, you'll always check it while you write. If you have to wait, you'll zoom through your word count quota.
  12. What? You're still stuck? Then tell the story from a different character's point of view. No, I don't care that it is currently first person. Just do it and see what some else thinks of whichever event that's already happened. Who knows what you'll come up with until you do it.
  13. It doesn't exist. Most people who experience writer's block have other issues. One thing that NaNo really opened my eyes to was the maxim, "When you have time, write." I have a full time job, two small kids (6 and 3) plus a household to run. You train yourself to write regardless of how you feel. Even if it's crap, it's crap that gets you back in the grove. Plus, if you use the tricks above, you don't get stuck. It may or may not be crap. Take care of that during editting.

These are the things that keep me going. I don't remember when I last had writer's block.

Procrastination block. Well, that's a whole 'nother post.


Edie said...

Stacie, this is a great list. I'm stuck right now. Reading this make me remember another time I was stuck. I sat in my comfortable chair in my living room with a pad of paper and a pen and started righting from my characters pov. Just anything. On the second page I got up from the chair, went up to my computer, and started writing for real. I had my scene.

Thanks for reminding me. I'll do that very thing now.

slpenney said...

Edie- I'm glad I could help!