Float Wisely: Writer's Block and Other Nonsense

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

We all get writer's block and blah, blah, blah. Even if you're not a writer, I'm sure you still get writer's block when you're composing a breakup email to your cheating boyfriend or attempting to write something sweet (and more emotional and memorable than what your little sister is going to write) in the Mother's Day card you bought twenty minutes before meeting your mom for brunch on her annual holiday. *shrugs* Writer's block can pop up anywhere.

The truth of the matter is this: We all get stuck. Whether we're writing or drawing or building or learning...sometimes we hit a wall and it breaks our nose and then we're bleeding all over the place and the last thing we want to do is charge the bricks again.

But we need to. And this is what I tell myself when I'm stuck. 

Don't try this at home. I'm being figurative.

I need to charge. Because the brick wall that just broke my nose is like Platform 9 3/4 from Harry Potter and I am never going to get to Hogwarts if I don't run full-speed into the wall. (Wow. I had no intention of throwing a HP reference into this post, but whatever. It applies.)

This chick lost BOTH shoes. So, yeah. I win.
So here's my advice on writer's block. (And, for the record, I feel weird giving "advice" because that makes it sound like I've got stuff figured out when, really, I have no idea. I'm floating along just like everyone else; on an over-inflated inner tube with a flat beer in my hand, a sunburn I'm going to curse in the morning, and a missing flip-flop that's probably at the bottom of the river becoming part of some trendy fish's human shoe collection.) Crap. There I go again. My tangents are getting out of control. What was I saying? Oh yes. 

My advice.

At this point you're probably thinking, "Wow. I'm not taking ANY advice from this crazy, one-sandaled, drunk river girl."  I don't blame you. Feel free to click away at any time.

OMG! Purple pumps? Yes! *click*
BUT...if you're still reading in the hopes that I'm about to say something really enlightening and completely worth your time (and by "your time" I mean your employer's time--don't act like you're not sitting at work right now snooping on the internet with that carefully practiced "I'm in deep concentration" look you've so perfected through the years so your coworkers THINK you're diligently organizing inventory or something... Dear God. I can't stay on topic for the life of me.) then, by all means, read on. 

My advice: Just write.

I know. Really anticlimactic. Sorry.

Why does Bonnie always get screwed?
I know everybody says "just write" and that's like the last thing you want to hear when you've been banging your head against your desk for three hours and you're really hungry but you don't want to get up to get food because you'll have to pass the TV on your way to kitchen and the TV houses the gorgeous faces of the Salvatore brothers so there's a good chance you'll end up sitting down and watching Damon and Stefan protect Elena from all the ridiculous choices she INSISTS on making (really Elena? You're willing to die? AGAIN?) instead of finishing your manuscript--which is NOT cool because you have a deadline and a super rad agent that you really, really don't want to disappoint so...no midnight snack for you!--but you should still do it. (Write, that is. Not watch reruns of TVD until your eyeballs burn.)

*big heavy sigh* I'm not even going to bother apologizing for that one. You knew what you were getting into when you read past the missing flip-flop.

Bloody top hat.

Here's what I'm saying. When I get stuck, I open up a new word document and write whatever the eff comes to mind. I don't write a story, I just write nonsense. Below is an excerpt from my latest writer's block free-write(ish) practice, just to give you an idea of how I roll. I was writing a flashback for AVOW involving a character wearing a top hat when the proverbial brick wall jumped in front of me and yelled, "Boogie-Woogie-Woogie!"


What the eff? I have no idea what to do with freaking Nathaniel and his freaking top hat. And why the hell did guys ever wear top hats in the first place? It makes no sense--unless they all needed to pull small, fuzzy forest creatures from their heads to impress the ladies. I doubt the ladies were impressed. You know what I'd be impressed with? A regular hat. One that didn't bump into carriage roofs and block my view at the theater. I'm just saying, down with top hats. Unless it's Leo DiCaprio wearing a top hat in Gangs of New York. Then it works. So do suspenders. Actually, no. Suspenders are weird regardless of who's wearing them. Wait, no. I just got a mental image of Leo in suspenders and it does, in fact, work. It's settled then. I'm making Nathaniel's hat fly off his head and get run over by a train and THEN I'm putting him in suspenders. Wait. Were there trains in eighteenth century England? Shoot.

Float wisely, folks. Don't become part of a fishy foot fetish.
See? This is the nonsensical rambling of a a girl with writer's block. But you know what? It helps. I swear it really, really helps. Even if all I do is type out curse words or Mrs. Damon Salvatore over and over again, it still clears my head. So maybe try it sometime. When you're stuck or mad or overwhelmed, just write.

Says the crazy girl with one shoe...  ;) 


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