Beating the Writer's Block
I’ve been staring at my computer screen all week. A lot of it is filled with documents from previous endeavors, but any thoughts lately have been eluding me. It’s nothing new, I have spent countless hours wondering what to write, or how to make sense of the blank buzzing inside my head that almost always appears when I try to put words on the page.
Writer’s block is hard. I have it a lot. There are times when I think of all the great things I could write. I plan stories in my head, or my mind begins expanding on a topic for countless reasons. It’s not planned, it just happens. Yet when I sit down to actually create something my mind goes blank and I get tired almost as if I’m trying to struggle through an essay or work that I don’t want to do. It is the oddest thing, because when I think of writers I often think of people who couldn’t contain their words even if they tried.
My imagination is strong. It has been ever since I picked up my first copy of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I go from a familiar to new place and I’m not just driving to another city, I am going from one world into another. When I am alone in the forest, I can feel and hear the vibrations of the trees and the water and the air. Anything and everything can plant the seed for a story. Yet when I go to create them, they disappear.
When I was younger, I became enveloped in my writing. Maybe it was just the onslaught of technology that made my brain over-stimulated and it can’t slow down long enough to let it flow. Or, maybe it’s laziness, or some other lack of motivation.
In these moments I have been trying to beat the block (#beattheblock). I was reading Lauren Graham’s book and she brings up the egg timer method: removing all technology except your laptop (no wifi), and putting on a timer, writing whether it’s your project or twelve pages full of “I hate writing.” And when I’ve done it, it seems to have worked. I’m doing it now.
I mentioned in my introduction post that my intention with this blog is primarily to keep writing. Even if I end up typing out a page of random gibberish. Something that always stuck with me (conveniently received from Lauren Graham’s other book, Someday Someday Maybe) is the idea of quantity becomes quality. A fancy way of saying practice makes perfect – you constantly write, and even if a lot of it is crap there is always something that will be good. Like job hunting, you may get a million failures before you succeed even a little.
Here is my challenge for myself and anyone reading: Work on something without focus. Don’t worry about what the product turns into or what others might think. Start with the quantity so that it has the chance to become quality. Make your goal to work, not to succeed.