The counter to writer’s block

Frequent writing.

That’s it. The most effective counter to writer’s block is to always write. Unfortunately, it’s a long term thing, not a short term magical cure. The thing is, the people who have the most problem with writer’s block are more likely to be people who don’t write often. It’s a very vicious cycle, as I will illustrate below.

Writer’s block –> writer doesn’t write –> writer isn’t used to writing –> writer doesn’t know what to write –> writer’s block

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Now, the key to frequent writing is to just write. It doesn’t matter how bad it is. A lot of people get stuck at this stage. If they see that their story looks horrible, they’ll abandon it. Most prevalent among perfectionists. Alternatively, there are people who will keep editing what they’ve written until it’s perfect before they’ll continue. Unfortunately, rare are the stories that are totally perfect. This continuous editing usually ends up being a huge waste of time. Also prevalent among perfectionists.

Another problem is that some people just can’t be bothered to write all the way to the end, for various reasons. Now and then, I have rare moments where I know how I want the story to progress from the beginning to the end. It should be perfect. I have direction. I have an ending I can work towards. The problem is since I know how I want the story to be (usually everything has already played out in my mind, a few times, in a few different ways), it makes me lazier than usual when it comes to penning it all down.

The main problem for people starting out (or starting a new project) is that they have no idea what to write. They stare at a blank piece of paper, jot down a word or two, a few sentences if it’s a good day for them, stare a bit more, leave. There are plenty of tricks for getting ideas all over the place, and a little creativity goes a long way. I remember reading an amusing story about someone trying to get rid of a writer’s block, and failing.

For people starting off or those who, due to real life being a nuisance, have not been able to write in awhile, it’s perfectly fine to start off by writing something that has a less than average length. Try writing a very, very short story (6 words).

“I love you.”

“But I don’t.”

Or maybe a story that’s only three sentences long.

I hit James. James hit me back. We both got detention.

It may not be spectacular, but it’s a start.

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Posted on February 8, 2012, in Writing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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