Thursday, April 18, 2013

Fake Your Way Through Writer's Block

Real talk: I like to pretend I don’t get writer’s block. I do this by staring at the screen for a few minutes, maybe typing a line or two, then going off and doing something “important” and complaining about how I have no time to write.

I’ve heard all the tips and tricks for overcoming writer’s block. I’ve heard people claim that writer’s block is not a real thing, it’s just laziness or fear or an excuse. Personally, I don’t think there’s any magical wall built up in my brain that just prevents me from writing every now and then, or some goblin that comes and steals all my ideas in the night. I think it’s a mood, like any other. You’re either in the mood to write or not. And, like any mood, you can pretend you don’t have it.

You know how when you see that one person that you don’t really like but have to get along with because you see them every day, so you smile and go, “How are you?” and all that? Or when you’re feeling really down but you show up at a party and act like everything is hunky-dory? It’s all about misleading others into believing that you’re feeling a certain way when you’re not. If you’re good, you can even fool yourself.

If Severus Snape can fake being evil for years, you can
fake your way through a few pages.

That’s usually unhealthy. But I think that in the case of writers, we sometimes have to fool ourselves if we want to get anything done. If you’re having one of those stare-blankly-at-the-page days, don’t say, “Damn that writer’s block” and turn on the tube. Write through it. Do what I did to get this blog started and type nonsense until an idea hits. Pretend you’re writing and that you’re excited about it. Fool your brain. Or at least make it so annoyed with you that it agrees to cooperate. It’s effective. You may not crank out your best work ever, but crappy pages are better than no pages. 

This method may not work for everyone, but it works for me. Do you believe in writer’s block? How do you deal with off days?

1 comment:

  1. I've heard some writers say they don't believe in writer's block. But I think you can feel stuck sometimes. When I'm stuck, talking to a fellow sometimes helps. Or, I get in my car and drive around. Sometimes doing something mundane like washing dishes helps. Getting stuck sometimes means I need to take a break from my WIP and let things percolate a bit.