Monday, February 9, 2009

The No-Fail Way to Crack Writer’s Block

The No-Fail Way to Crack Writer’s Block

Okay, guys, are you ready? Here it is:

Simply write about the writer's block.

That's right.

Just let out all those impotent, hopeless, corked-up feelings flow all over the page.

That can't help but work, right?

Because once you're writing, you're not blocked anymore.


Another great way to help avoid writer's block is merely to stop using the phrase altogether.

I mean, my god, it's such a negative thing. Why are you putting that obstacle into your head in the first place?

Try erasing that phrase from your brain and just do your best to have fun with the process.

Revel in the delight of your self-expression.

You won't always be perfect. But so what? That's the challenge. There's a wonderful joy in polishing a formless piece of work into something beautiful.

The truth is, if you're really a writer, you can write pretty much all the time, even if it means making yourself sit in the chair for hours and 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 let yourself suffer from low-frustration tolerance and give up so quickly.


Write badly, in fact--allow yourself that cushion, that freedom.

As Hemingway once said, "All first drafts are sh-t."

And, other than with Mozart's compositions and a few other exceptions, Papa Ernest was absolutely right.

Our job as writers is to sculpt away, refine, polish, until we feel we can let it go, or until we reach our deadline.

It won't happen to our satisfaction, or to our editors and readers, 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 just have nothing to say.

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