Not really a Prince of Amber, but rather an ex-pat New Yorker that has found himself living in Minnesota for the last 9 years, Paul Weimer has been reading SF and Fantasy for over 30 years and exploring the world of roleplaying games for over 25 years. Almost as long as he has been reading and watching movies, he has enjoyed telling people what he has thought of them. In addition to his reading and gaming interests, he can be found at his own blog, Blog Jvstin Style, the Functional Nerds, the SF Signal Community, Twitter, Livejournal and many other places on the Internet. And one day he will write his own “trunk novel”.
How he battles writer’s block:
The words must flow, for anyone who spends time manipulating the written word. Be it a book review, or responses for the play-by-email-games I run and play in, or even my as yet unsuccessful forays into fiction.
But the words do not always flow to my desires. Sometimes getting the words, ideas and concepts to come, or to be translated into words, is not as easily as I’d like. Temptation to beg off and play some Civilization IV, or follow what’s happening on twitter, or go out and play with my camera, instead, hover as invisible demons, whispering that it doesn’t matter that the words don’t come, that there are other things to be done.
So how do I deal with it? How do I make the word count I have set for myself?
Discipline: Social media is the kryptonite of word count. If I decide to go reading RSS feeds, or twitter, or anything else, the time allotted to writing can melt like snow in the summer sun. So when it is time to write, even if the words are difficult to come by, the temptations aren’t there to ruin the trickle of creativity entirely.
Get up and get active. Sometimes, staring at the keyboard when words do not flow will not, in the end, helps me even if I have the social media firmly turned off. So, getting up, walking around the apartment for a bit, or outside, for a few minutes is a way to unlock that creativity. I let my mind wander as my body perambulates, and the sticking point on that review, or the piece of fiction I want to tackle can come to mind naturally.
Blood Sugar: Sometimes the words don’t flow because the body isn’t being taken care of. Muddled thinking and unclear thoughts can especially strike me when my blood sugar has dropped to precipitous levels. Sometimes all I need is a snack to take a hammer and chisel to the writer’s block.
Take a Third (Fourth) Option: Sometimes I have to leave it, sleep on it, and let my subconscious work on it for more than the few minutes a walk will give me. At that point its time for me to work on something else. Tackle a different scene, a different post, a different review. Perhaps the writer’s block is idiosyncratic to that particular piece of work, and writing something else will let me make forward progress with something else.
And if all of that fails, only then its time to give it up as a bad job. There’s always tomorrow.
running + coffee.
go for a run, that’ll force my brain to focus on what i’m thinking about (instead of channel surfing or playing on twitter), and then a big cup of coffee when i get home. doesn’t always cure the writers block, but works most of the time.
and Sarah, this is another wonderful series of articles! 🙂
I get these hairbrained ideas! I’m glad you appreciate them!