I asked this on Facebook:
Who believes in writer’s block? How do you overcome it?
And I got a few responses. I’ll post half today, and the other half another day this week.
I still don’t believe in writer’s block. Or muses, as I said. I think we stall ourselves and that we also enrich ourselves with our own ideas. But here’s what everyone else said–and there’s some good stuff here!
Erica Glenn: A friend of mine wrote this while dealing with a bout of writer’s block: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ACpAVgrJAOs&feature=player_embedded
Laura Card: I’ve never had the luxury of believing in writer’s block. When I was a journalist, I had deadlines set in stone. As a writer now, I also have deadlines from publishers and because of my own desires. When I wake up at 5:00 a.m. and don’t want to write, I ask myself, “How badly do you want this?” If I’m stuck a little, I go back and read what I’ve already written or collected about what I should write. That get’s me going.
Cynthia Leitich Smith: I dance in the dark to the soundtrack of Olivia Newton John’s “Xanadu.” It delights the cats.
Monelle Smith: If I have no ideas/words for a project, I work on another. Easy fix for writer’s block, and saves me from a lot of existential angst.
Kim Williams Justesen: I had writer’s block so badly when I was getting my Masters degree that simply sitting in front of a keyboard would cause me an anxiety attack. I would cry, shake, and have to get up and move away from the computer in order to cope with it. It wasn’t just getting stuck a bit, it was fully believing I couldn’t write and had no business trying. It took a lot of work and a patient mentor to get past it.
Cari L. Sadler: When I have writer’s block, I step away and write nonsense. I play until what I am working on becomes play again.
Christina Diaz Gonzales: Sometimes it’s just best to plow through and write anything because you can always revise a poorly written page- you can’t revise a blank one.
Nikki Grimes: I read a few pages of work by three authors with whom I feel a particular kinship. I think it’s something about their literary voices that resonate with my own, for some reason. In any event, reading their work always leads me back into my own: J. California Cooper, Lucille Clifton, and Gary Soto.
Jennifer Reed: Either plow through or if that doesn’t work walk away- do something else for a day or two…
So there are the hints for you.
Courtney Lowe: All I have to say is, “AMEN,” to the things Elizabeth Gilbert says about creativity and the pressure we place on the individual psyche. Rebecca Stead passed this TED talk along to me last February.
Hope it’s helpful!
Melissa Wyatt: I’ve always loved the Norman Mailer idea that writer’s block is simply a failure of ego. But in my personal experience, most of the time when I am stuck–even really really stuck–it’s because I have gone in the wrong direction and need to back up and figure out where I made the wrong turn. And it is almost always when I try to force the story to go where I think it needs to go rather than where it organically wants to go.
Ann Angel: Sometimes writers block is fearing to go deep into the story because it might be painful for the writer and the characters.