Monday, October 19, 2009

Writer's Block Remedies... Tip #1

Over the weekend, a friend from college e-mailed me.  She heard through the grapevine I was working on a novel and confessed that it had always been her dream too.  She'd been working on a story since August, making time on the weekends to write.  But every few weeks she hit slumps and couldn't think of how to push her characters forward*.  It's been immensely frustrating, and she's considered giving it up with the thought that if she were meant to be a writer, it would be easier.

I had to laugh.  I wasn't trying to be cruel (as I explained to her) but this big rumor that writing comes easily to people who want to write is so false!  I love, love, love to write.  Have loved it my entire life.  But writing both does and does not come easily to me.  If you're a writer, I'm sure you know what I mean.  If you're not - don't worry about it, just stop assuming that it's always easy ;-)

She described the type of writer's block that I like to call "concept constipation".  And I sent her a long, long e-mail outlining all sorts of techniques she could try.  After hitting send, it dawned on me that I suddenly had a lot of great material for the blog!  Plus, in my first post about writer's block, I promised to give out that very same information.

So as not to overload you with one ginormous post, I've decided to create a series of posts about writer's block remedies.  I'll try to post at least one a week.

*I also gave her props for writing something character-driven.

TIP #1:  Word-A-Day

A few months ago I signed up for two word-a-day e-mail services (dictionary.com and wordsmith.org).  I did so because I wanted to enhance my vocabulary - something I think everyone should strive for.  But I realized along the way that, in addition to teaching me, these words sometimes helped kick up new ideas for what I was writing.

For example, one day the word was bilious, which is an adjective used to describe something extremely unpleasant, or ill-natured; irritable.  It was the perfect way to describe one of my 'bad guys'.  So I wrote it in - and then added to what I'd written so that the way it described her was shown, instead of just told.

I created an e-mail folder and saved all the words that I thought might help with what I'm writing.  I suggest that you do it too.  Then, when you hit a block and can't think of where to take your story next, here's what you do: 

Search the folder I've just advised you to create.  Pull three (or more) random words from it and WRITE THEM into the next part of your story. Sure, you may cut everything you write - but at least your creative juices will be flowing again!  I can pretty much guarantee that even if you don't use what you've written, along the way an idea will slam into you and you'll know exactly where you want to go.

Now.  Stop reading blogs and GET BACK TO WORK... (After signing up for word-a-day e-mails, of course.)

♥ me

1 comment:

  1. Hmm...I woulda told her that weekend writing doesn't work...she needs to write every day...even if it's just 100 words.
    Then her brain will keep working on the problem instead of taking a week off.


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