Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Strike Among the Hired Help? Down with Writer's Block!

I sit and stare at the blank screen, the little typing do-hickey flashing on my screen, mocking me. It knows I want to write--no!--it knows I need to write and yet it flashes it's rebellion, refusing to produce the words I need, the words I want.

"Stare all you want," it says, "but I shall not budge. I shall not yield to the whims of you writers. All day long I'm at work! All day long I move across your screens and make words appear for you. I go here, and there and back again, correcting YOUR mistakes. I've had enough, I say! For once, I shall not do as you bid. I shall stand here and rebel and no matter how much you stare, I shan't move an inch. All those words in your head, that's where they will stay as I stand up in protest today!"

... Okay, so that doesn't really happen and that little flashing line doesn't ever go on strike in reality, but when you find yourself stuck in a story that is what it feels like. As much as you'd like for things to progress and as much as you try different ideas and tactics, you may find yourself moving nowhere. And all this because of writer's block. [Or, the STRIKE AMONG THE HIRED HELP!].

Write a line, then erase it. Write once more, and back goes the line, preventing you from moving forward and keeping you held back. As it flashes on and off, it taunts you. Daring you to make it move and yet telling you, as it stays in one place, that you can't. Curse that mocking line!

There are many different ways to get over that road block and many ways to move that line. One way is simply to leave. Stand up, walk away and do something else. Clear your head of all thoughts. If you spend too much time over analyzing or thinking about a situation, you will not be able to derive an answer. Your brain will simply be too tired and too tangled up in itself to see straight. Never good for writing. So, leave that mocking line and go outside, go read a book, watch a movie, just let your thoughts wander to where they will and you may find the answers coming to you soon enough.

Another way could simply be to close your eyes [if you can type without looking]. Put that text cursor out of sight and out of mind and just let your fingers explore the keyboard, writing what comes to your head without worrying about how it sounds or how it looks. In this you can better visualize what you're typing, too, which might also help, it depends on the person.

I find talking a plot out with people is also useful. Even if you don't use any of their ideas, they can help unlock the doors hidden in the corners of your mind so that new ideas may spill forth. I'll ask my one friend, how do I kill my villain? and she'll give me all these good ideas, but I won't like any of them, and yet, through talking to her, I can devise my own method.

We can boycott the strike and win if we just try hard enough! That little text-line shan't win in his rebellion and words will prevail in the end! Just find what works for you and force it forward!

The cursor blinks at me. I blink back and smile and close my eyes. Try to mock me now, little do-hickey, I think. I am the wordsmith and you are my employee. There is no escape. And with that, my fingers begin their dance...


Things I've learned about France (or at least Normandy)

Well there we go, my second European country. In some ways, very similar to England (a lot of meat and potatoes, fancy churches, pay toilets...