When writers hit a wall (and no, I don’t mean the fourth-wall)
November 4, 2011 6 Comments
Four days into NaNoWriMo and everything is moving swiftly. Your characters are championing outrageous obstacles, your setting is a dizzying hybrid of dystopian delight, and you know this is the month everything falls into place.
And then, inexplicably, it happens.
Your inspiration loses steam and you’re left wondering if that pesky, sprite of a muse will ever return in time to fill the 1,670 word deadline for the day. Worry not, travel-worn bloggers! Four of Dorchester’s authors detail how they address these concerns, and thus, offer writers a bit of advice. We thank Rose Lerner, Graham Masterton, Caitin Rother, and John Everson for their time!
Rose shares her own experiences with traversing alternate writing channels as a way to alleviate the block itself.
I had [writer's block] for a long long time after my mother died. But the thing is, it wasn’t really writer’s block. It was historical romance block, because that was always something I shared with my mother. I wrote A LOT during that time, but I wrote romantic fanfiction for TV shows. I was able to get excited about that because there was a built-in community and audience to share it with. And when I was finally ready to dive back into historical romance (or rather, fall flailing back in: it didn’t happen naturally, it took a giant shove), my writing muscles weren’t rusty and I’d learned a lot in the meantime. So I think if you’ve had writer’s block for a while, you need to sit down and figure out why. What’s missing now that used to get you so excited? Is there something else you still feel that way about? Give yourself permission to write whatever the heck you want. Keep writing and practicing your craft. Give yourself time—but do force yourself to come back to your original idea every so often and see where you’re at.
Good luck, everyone!
Graham takes the straightforward approach when it comes to his craft!
I was trained from the age of 17 as a newspaper reporter and then spent the next 10 years being a magazine editor, and in those jobs you simply don’t get the time or the opportunity for writer’s block because you are always working against a deadline.
Nowadays I have more ideas for books and short stories than I will ever be able to complete in my lifetime. I know some writers like music in the background, but I prefer silence. All the sound comes from inside my head. My advice to anybody who wants to write is just to write, whether you feel in the mood or not. I currently have two protégé writers, and I am very hard on both of them. Get on with it. Stop being pretentious and get something down on the screen, even if you delete it all later.
After detailing her busy writing schedule earlier this week on the blog, Caitlin elaborates on how to combat the nasty writer’s block bug.
[...] I honestly don’t have time to have writer’s block, but if I do run into a wall, I simply switch gears and either mull the problem or let my subconscious work on it until I’m ready to give it another shot.
Last but by no means least, the following is an excerpt from John’s successful foray into the NaNoWriMo challenge, which kick-started his second novel back in 2002. Tune in Monday for details!
Squelching your inner critic is probably the hardest thing a writer can do. The inner critic is the voice in the back of your head that says everything you’ve just written… or wrote yesterday…or are about to write is utter tripe. Your inner critic can make you stare at a blank screen for those few precious hours you have allocated for writing, or it can make you waste 45 minutes wrestling with a single sentence or paragraph that just doesn’t feel right.
Your inner critic is your biggest enemy to rampant productivity. And rampant productivity is what NaNoWriMo is all about.
How do you weather the tides of inspiration? Reply for your chance to win a nifty tool every writer needs to succeed! Or rather, throw at their monitor when the going gets tough. I know I certainly need one of those.
Signing off (believe in me who believes in you!)—
Jillian, The Zombie Intern