Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Writer's Block - the Gift of Inspiration

Writer’s Block – the Gift of Inspiration

By Brad R. Cook

Writer’s block. The dreaded blank white page! That blinking cursor calling like a beacon – “come on start typing,” repeated over and over in perfect rhythm. It’s hypnotic, lulling the writer into a trance without words. The stark white page blurs like a blizzard crossing some endless arctic expanse.

Blinking and blinking, until it drives one to… tweet about not writing!

There are cures to writer’s block,
Walking or exercising,
Petting the cat in your lap, the dog at your feet, or the alpaca in the backyard,
Cleaning, but I only recommend this for the most extreme cases.

But these are all things that take you away from the computer. I would argue that writer’s block is a gift. Freed from the constraints of that next scene opens the writer up to a universe of possibilities.

Don’t think of it as the brain’s inability to form a word – it’s just the subconscious’ way of telling you to do something else.

Seize control of that blinking cursor, start typing and let the words flow…even if all you write is: start typing and let the words flow. When the mind isn’t preconditioned with character conversations, plot twists, scene descriptions, and finding our most repeated words, it is open to write whatever inspiration provides.

If you find yourself staring at the blank page…
Try poetry, or even just short prose.
Write a conversation that shouldn’t be in your book.
Write a scene from what may be your next novel.
Blog, pen an essay, or drop a letter to the editor.

The point is to write something beyond normal. Nothing can be very inspirational. There have been TV Shows about nothing, whole books about nothing, and most academy award winning movies seem to be about nothing. Writing about nothing – which yes, is really writing about the ordinary – allows one to focus on other aspects of life. In nothing, anything can be inspiration, there are no limits, there are rules, and there are no conventions to follow. Twist nothing into something – besides, isn’t that what writers are supposed to do?

So it’s not writer’s block, its writer’s freedom, and that blinking cursor isn’t a mind numbing curse, it is a beacon of the liberated mind.

This post came out of a bout of writer’s block…so it may not always work…but at least there’s always Twitter.

How do you deal with Writer’s Block? Let me know in the comments.

Brad R. Cook is a historical fantasy writer and President of St. Louis Writers Guild. Please visit or follow me on Twitter @bradrcook

1 comment:

  1. I doubt suffer from writer's block often (though it is getting more frequent, I'm noticing), but when it does strike, I try and do something active.

    The best thing for me seems to be going out on a run, because 1) it's healthy and 2) I hate it. I want to think about ANYTHING but running while I'm slogging along, so it's a great time to figure why I'm stuck and how to fix it. Or dream up new plots, if I'm between projects.