Friday, June 13, 2008

WRITER BLOCKED! Top 10 Reasons For The Disastrous Fate of Writer's Block by ROBERT W. WALKER

TEN: Not enough sleep. A writer needs his sleep. Some of the best stuff comes of the sub-conscious. Weariness, when it comes knocking, will shut you down fast, resulting in a Writer’s Block.
So write while unconscious however you can. Keep pencil or pen and notebook at hand. When you wake with an idea at three in the morning. Jot down a single word or phrase and it should come back to you full-blown in the AM when you read this jog-to-your-memory. Works for me. Try it.

NINE: Too much sleep! Writing is a conscious effort and requires work after all, despite the juicy help from the unconscious mentioned above. Too much of anything turns to poison, even sleep. Often you are not writing because you’ve found other things to occupy yourself with like dusting or vacuuming, or playing ball and jacks, or taking too many naps. One brief nap during the day, good sleeping habits at night will keep Writer’s Block at bay.

EIGHT: Over-indulging in food. Yes, I am convinced of it. A major distraction to writing—already a sedentary exercise. Have a Snickers bar and a cup of coffee but keep writing. Okay, reward yourself but not until after you’ve finished a scene.
Make your office as far from the refrigerator as possible. If you do go for a bite, the walk will help those cramped legs. Food, like so much else, is a distraction that can lead to what else—Writer’s Block.

SEVEN: Allowing kids and other family to distract you from writing. A constant threat in a household with children. You must CONVINCE children that your writing is not just a fun time or playtime for you but SERIOUSLY IMPORTANT to you. If you
cannot convince children, or sister, or brother, or husband, or wife to grant you your writing time, you will be plagued with Writer’s BLOCK coming from all these directions. Other people will be the block! Stiff arm your loved ones. You have to tell them that unless there is blood, you don’t want to hear from them
during your scheduled meeting with yourself at the office.

SIX: Allowing Hallmark to determine your holidays and weekends off can induce Writer’s Block. Seems every time we turn around nowadays there’s another day declared THIS DAY or THAT DAY. For Father’s Day, I want to get a chapter written. That’d be the best gift for this writer. The worst gift is to be stymied by my
“special day.” Bahh-hum-bug if you will but I’ve written over forty novels be working weekends, holidays, and days off from the job.

FIVE: When the paint on the wall over your computer keyboard begins to peel and rain down over the keys, finding a home in the crevasses of your beloved hardware, well now this—after a while—this can stop one cold with the block. Stop is to exchange the keyboard for a scraper and a paint brush, and thus results
the dreaded Writer’s Block.

FOUR: When the grass on the lawn begins to resemble the famed Serengeti Plain—and if you have no lawn, then when the garbage bags begin to reach the ceiling—this can induce Writer’s Block.

THREE: When the electricity and water is shut off to the home, and you haven’t the money for Motel 6, this can induce Writer’s Block.

TWO: Life throws us lemons like the examples above, but the really, true major life crisis we face from turning fifty to a death in the family to an approaching tornado, earthquake, tsunami that create circumstances that are not only out of our
control but bearing down on us—well these certainly cause the most dreadful and long-lasting of Writer’s Block, but even from these we can bounce back and take up the pen again in time. I mean you can write before the storm and after the storm, but you can’t write amid the storm of such life experiences, and if you
can, you are SuperAuthor and Superman rolled into one. What I am driving at is that Writer’s Block exists for everyone, including those not writers—it stops readers from reading, sculptors from sculpting, CPAs from counting widgets. We seldom hear of CPA Block but that’s because CPAs are not a “glamorous” as we creative types, right?

ONE: Fear + Anxiety + Depression = Major, hard-to-come-back-from Writer’s Block. Negative feelings, negative vibes that well up from whatever source are going to impact and impinge on any creative endeavor and yes non-creative endeavor. Any feelings of inadequacy to the task will take a toll. Any bad karma can kill
an idea or a sentence in its tracks. Any self-abasement—even the words, spoken or thought—can deter progress on a work in progress or kill one just getting underway. Depression, the mother and father of black time misery, will shut any person down—including we authorial types, despite an alpha male personality.

How much more in the way of rich stories might we have seen from Hemmingway or Styron had they not suffered debilitating depression? Talented young people grow up believing that the one thing no one, no God, can take from them is their ability to
perform in their chosen art. Not so. Depression has you relinquishing all decisions, and writing stories and novels is all about making hundreds, even thousands of decisions in crafting a world.

To combat these various causes of THE BLOCK, try desperately to never have a single problem ever arise in your life. HA! Yeah, I know. Okay, so now you know that I equate Writer’s Block with LIFE BLOCK. Do all you can to remain upbeat about the small problems that interrupt your “flow” and actually work at being able to leap right back into that flow if you are pulled out of your story. Do this by realizing that there are computers in the world that do four jobs at once; you ought to have the capacity to do two jobs at once—parenting and writing—at LEAST. Do all you can to remain calm, postive, cool, and collected to avoid Life Block in daily life in general so as to avoid Writer’s Block in your writer’s life in particular.

That’s my top ten list and my best advice and ammunition to use against THE BLOCK. I hope it helps. Does it make sense? I suspect it does.
Happy Writing and Avoiding THE BLOCK. Today I learned that GEICO –despite the Gekko and for all their smiling and chatting me up are not going to pay for the damage one my car. Gotta smile and keep writing to pay for them damages myself.

Rob Walker
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The Unreal McCoy said...

I remember reading somewhere that a famous author (Can't recall who.) said, "There's no such thing as writer's block. The problem is that you don't know the story."

Dennis Collins

Jeffrey Redmond said...


So, you have ten valid points. But sometimes the grass is more important than writing. I mean, all those nasty weeds are out there, laughing at you.

Kids can be locked up. The dog can be let out. And the wife can, um, be "Yes, dear" replied to enough times to almost pacify her.

Then the REAL writing can begin! Unless, of course, the commercials are over and the TV show is back on. And

[Oh, sorry. Have to stop. The phone's ringing]



Jeffrey Redmond