Thursday, April 17, 2008

The No-Lose Way to Crack Writer’s Block

The No-Lose Way to Crack Writer’s Block

Simply write about the writer's block.

Poof! Gone!

See how easy that was?

Just let out all those impotent feelings. Let them flow and spill all over the page.

That can't help but work, right?

I mean, once you're writing, you're not blocked anymore.

Actually, the best way to avoid writer's block is to stop using the phrase altogether. It's such a negative thing. Why are you putting that obstacle into your head in the first place?

My advice is, from this point forward, just erase it from your brain and do your best to have fun with the process. Revel in your self-expression. You won't always be perfect. So what? That's the challenge. There's a wonderful joy in polishing a piece of work that's formless into something beautiful.

Bottomline, if you're really a writer, you can write pretty much all the time, even if it means making yourself sit in your chair for hours fiddling until suddenly the words pour out of you. Or as Quincy Jones once put it, referring to Michael Jackson's special magic in producing great music, "ass power."

In other words, the power to force yourself to sit your ass down to do the work.

Don't suffer from low-frustration tolerance and give up so quickly.

Write. Write badly, in fact. Allow yourself that freedom. "All first drafts are sh-t," Hemingway once said. And, other than with Mozart's composition and a few other exceptions, Papa was right. Our jobs as writers, as artists, is to sculpt the sh-t into something profound, something that resembles art. It won't happen every time out. That's okay. Try again the next time and time after that.

But, please, if you're blocked too often, you may want to reassess your choice on being a writer. Maybe you're not blocked at all. Maybe you merely have nothing to say.

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