Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Writer's Block Remedies... Tip #2

TIP #2: Charlie vs. Charles... Make it a TKO

Imagine two people, Charlie and Charles.

Charlie is youthful.  He loves life and everything is a mystery.  Nothing is impossible.  Point in case:  Charlie believes with his whole heart that his toys come to life when nobody else is around.  He spends hour after hour devising new ways to sneak into his room and catch them.  Maybe it doesn't happen, but he doesn't mind.  Nothing, after all, is impossible and he knows that he just has to find a new way to catch them.

Charles is Charlie, decades later.  (Two, five - it doesn't matter how many decades it's been.  The point is that he's grown up.)  Charles no longer goes by Charlie; he is taken more seriously as an adult without the childish nickname.  Charles has a job and responsibilities.  Dignity is important to Charles.  He fears looking like a fool in front of his peers.  He loves life, but knows better than to believe in Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy or things like that.  His toys have long since been put away.  He called them out for what they really were - JUST toys.  Nothing special. 

Charlie is still there, but Charles has pretty much hidden him underneath all the maturity.  Sometimes Charlie pops out with a wild, crazy idea.  Charles blushes, thinks about how ridiculous whatever the thought was and shudders at the teasing he'd surely receive if he vocalizes it.  Charlie fades away, each time becoming more and more transparent - he's barely visible at all anymore, so lost he is in Charles's hidden thoughts.

If you haven't been reading this and nodding your head because you also know what it feels like to cringe at some of the crazy, silly thoughts you've had... then I'm not quite sure you're human ;-)  OR you're just really, really lucky!

We (writers) all have two selves.  The Charlie and the CharlesCharles is a major cause of writer's block.  When you're having trouble, when you feel like anything you write is ridiculous and would never work, do this:  take Charles out of the equation.  Tie his hands behind his back.  Duct tape his mouth.  Give him blinders.  And then, extend your hand to Charlie.  Invite him to the forefront of your mind.  Give him free rein - let the ideas be silly and free and fun.  I think you'll be surprised with what you develop. 

Later, of course, let Charles back out.  You need him for real life, obviously.  And he'll be instrumental in the editing process.  But when you're working on that first draft - shut. him. up.

♥ me


  1. I was nodding. :)
    Though I couldn't stop thinking about my favorite YouTube video. "Charlie Bit me." If you haven't seen it, watch it. Its so precious (and hilarious).

  2. Hmm....Think I may lock Charles out of the house for a while. He's becoming annoying. Will let him back in when he promises to behave.

    Good post :)

  3. Interesting concept.
    Problem is that my inner Charlie just wants splosions and action and loud dialog. My Charles wants deeper meaning, struggling with inner conflict and desire. So I kind of need to listen to both.

  4. Amanda - Charlie Bit Me. Never heard of it and just laughed until tears literally streamed down my face. THANK YOU for that!!

    Quillfeather - That's a great idea... Maybe he can meet up with my Charles for a beer while they wait to be let back in ;-)

    Iapetuss999 - I could see how you'd need them both in that case... My own Charlie doesn't ignore the deeper things, but Charles does add a lot to them when I let him give his opinion. God, that sounded weird when I just reread it to myself, haha.

  5. OMG, I love that "Charlie bit me" video! Oh my, so funny.

    Sara, loving the inner Charlie analogy! Great tip. Every time I have writer's block, I shall call upon my inner Charlie ("Charlie? Psst. You there?")


Yay! I love when you have things to add :)