I am stumped as to what to write about today, or as many writers would call it, I am inflicted with writer’s block. However, I took on this NaBloPoMo Challenge and I want to see it through to the end. So I decided to do some research on writer’s block and share what I found here.
Famous Writers on Writer’s Block
I found this great blog post, 13 Famous Writers on Overcoming Writer’s Block. A few of the best ones I highlighted here:
In the middle of writing something you go blank and your mind says: “No, that’s it.” Ok. You’re being warned, aren’t you? Your subconscious is saying “I don’t like you anymore. You’re writing about things I don’t give a damn for.” You’re being political, or you’re being socially aware. You’re writing things that will benefit the world. To hell with that! I don’t write things to benefit the world. If it happens that they do, swell. I didn’t set out to do that. I set out to have a hell of a lot of fun. ~ Ray Bradbury
The best way is always to stop when you are going good and when you know what will happen next. If you do that every day … you will never be stuck. Always stop while you are going good and don’t think about it or worry about it until you start to write the next day. ~ Ernest Hemingway
Writer’s block…a lot of howling nonsense would be avoided if, in every sentence containing the word WRITER, that word was taken out and the word PLUMBER substituted; and the result examined for the sense it makes. Do plumbers get plumber’s block? What would you think of a plumber who used that as an excuse not to do any work that day? ~ Philip Pullman
Thanks to this NaBloPoMo Challenge, I have discovered that one of my biggest roadblocks to writing is perfectionism.
American poet William Stafford offered this advice to poets who suffer from writer’s block: “There is no such thing as writer’s block for writers whose standards are low enough.”
He was not advocating that we put out rubbish, but everything we write does not need to be Pulitzer Prize worthy either. Writing is about communicating. It is about sharing information, insights, revelations, and concerns with others. I know when I am able to keep that forefront in my mind, I don’t suffer from writer’s block as much. The evidence is this post.
My Top 5 Writer’s Block Remedies
All that said, here are a few things that I have found to help me get through those times when I am stumped for something to write:
5. Imagine having a conversation with a friend about your subject then write it down.
4. Get physical – exercise, garden, have sex, gives your muse a break.
3. Get out – whether it is out in nature or around throngs of people, give your muse something to get inspired about.
2. Take a shower – this never seems to fail for me that I will get a great idea in the shower, always when any kind of writing implement is in another room.
1. Show up for work and write – this was, by far, the most oft recommended remedy offered by professional writers. Take your writing seriously, make it your job as Phillip Pullman alluded to in his quote above.
Although it is not one of my top five remedies, many people use prompts to get their writing engines started. You can find writing prompts all over the internet, but here’s a website, 911 Writers block, that has a unique approach for getting past your stuckness.
What do you do when you are stumped for something to write about?