Friday, September 10, 2010

The Dreaded Blockage

Here I am, my second post, and I'm already talking about writer's block. Not a very uplifting or inspirational subject, hmm? But if you're a writer, you understand. It's that moment you sit down and look at your story and an icy lump settles in the pit of your stomach and you think, "oh God, what words come next?" but there's no answer.

Unfortunately, writer's block is a real problem for some writers....okay for every writer. We all face it at one point or another, whether we're willing to admit it or not. And it sucks. It may not be a block of epic proportions where you're incapable of writing for weeks or years. *shudders*  I don't even want to think about that kind of block.

So I'll think about the kind of blockage most of us experience: the temporary, short-lived block. Of course temporary is relative. It could be minutes, it could be hours, it could be days. God forbid, weeks. Whether you're struggling with a first draft or revisions, that feeling of staring at the screen while your mind skitters around thinking about everything but the story, is horrifying.

I don't know about you, but when this happens to me this is usually how it goes:

I look at the words and they just don't make sense. It's like Cyrilic or Klingon. I panic because I've self-imposed a deadline and I'm on a tight life-schedule and I just don't have time for writer's block! Which, of course, only makes it worse. I start fidgeting and my stomach gets all knotty. My leg starts doing that bouncing up and down super fast jiggly thing.

My Muse has abandoned me! What the hell do I do now?!

I think, gee, maybe if I distract myself the Muse will show up again. I'll trick him/her into action by pretending not to care.

I wonder who's on Twitter? (I go check out Twitter and make banal comments of my own then Tweet comments to everyone else).

I check e-mails on all my accounts, which takes some time because I've got my real name acct, the family acct, my school student acct, my school instructor acct, my pen name acct, my small business acct.

I realize I need to harvest my crops on Farmville before they wither and die (Facebook, here I come!).

I go back and read (and comment on) Tweets I missed while checking e-mail and harvesting crops.

Hmmm. Bet I can find something cool on YouTube (I scurry on over and enjoy).

OMG, I can kill tons of time while I wait for my Muse to get his/her head in the game by catching up on all the blogs I haven't read today (I lurk the blogosphere, reading and commenting...getting ideas for future posts ; ).

I go back and read the Tweets I missed while watching YouTube videos and reading blogs.

Pay the bills? Sure!

Let the cat out? Why not?

Get a donut and coffee from the kitchen? Of course!

(Check Tweets again)

Play with the kids? You bet!

Mow the lawn? Maybe not.

Call mom?  Okay, definitely not. Time to actually face my writer's block

(Gotta check Tweets one more time, and a couple of the e-mail accounts)

Okay. Now I'm really going to face it. *sigh*

Now it's time to lament: Why me? Why now? It was going so well just yesterday! Words were flowing like a lyrical stream! Why is today any different? It's just cuz I'm a crappy writer, I know that's it. Just because I had a good day yesterday doesn't prove I can write. Why oh why oh why?

I'm XX years old, I've done nothing impressive, discovered nothing important, been nothing  interesting, and  nobody would ever want to read anything I have to write. (cue pathetic music, tears, wailing, and hair pulling)

Okay, so maybe it's not quite that bad but that's what it feels like.

What do I do to overcome writer's block? Usually if I plug my brain into my MP3 player, go through the Twitter/e-mail/Facebook/blogs/donuts routine, then force myself to face the screen, my Muse will at least reluctantly show up.  If I reread the last chapter or two, my Muse is usually impressed enough with him/herself that they'll grudgingly participate in today's writing. And once I get started....sometimes all it takes is one word ....I can keep going from there and forget the block ever happened.

Until the next one and I have to do it all over again.

But I'm so close to the end of revisions I can almost taste it. Two more chapters to revise, add a couple of scenes, and revisit and rework the old prologue and tack it back on the front of the MS and I'm ready to send to betas!

So how often are you blocked? And what do you do to unblock? Don't tell me you've never experienced it, because I know you have. C'mon...tell me. Tell me!  Tell Me!!!

1 comment:

Raquel Byrnes said...

The bouncing leg...oy! I hear you! I find that working on an entirely different project...not facbook, but a writing project, actually jump starts my brain again. Good luck with your work!

Edge of Your Seat Romance