Thursday, January 7, 2010
Dear Mike: How do you deal with writer's block?
Reader Question: Does someone like you ever get “writer's block?” What are some of your tried-and-true ways to get around it? It drives me crazy.
Mike: Listen, every writer has had times where he/she can’t get the words down easily, if at all. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stared at a blank computer screen for a half-hour at a time and couldn’t think of a thing. It’s natural. And that’s what you should understand. Unless you’re on deadline and need your story in within minutes, don’t panic. In fact, I never use the phrase “writer’s block.” It’s the equal of an epithet to me. I don’t allow others to use it around me. It’s negative and only heightens your anxiety about not producing words. Simply view slow periods as a natural part of the creative process. Unless you have some sort of psychological problem, you either have nothing to say at the moment. Or you’re trying too hard. Or you’re just too tense, in which case I would recommend drinking your favorite beverage (for me, espresso with milk), or putting on your favorite music (for me, it could be anything; depends on my mood), and think positive, peaceful thoughts (I love imagining soft ocean waves). If all else fails, write about the writer’s block, which, of course, is a built-in contradiction. It also HAS to work, right?