Writer’s Block – Cidney Swanson

Writer’s Block

Writer’s block can cover a host of issues that stem from a number of sources ranging from something as simple as fatigue to something as complex as clinical depression. Most of the time though, it doesn’t come from anything quite so dramatic. Most of the time, writer’s block crops up when we’re afraid to commit our words to paper or when we have “run out” of things to say. 
Although these causes are really dissimilar, the solution for both is the same. B-I-C. Butt in chair. As in: you need to sit down and just write.
Have you ever primed a pump? There’s a campground I visit every summer where we have to do that. You pull that handle up and down a few times and it seems like nothing is happening, but then all the sudden you’re jumping backwards to avoid being drenched in icy fresh water.
Your brain is like that pump. It needs to be primed, and often it will look like nothing is happening for the first little bit of B-I-C time. Inspiration really does follow perspiration though, and as you get your mind to recognize that you are going to go through with this activity right now, your mind will usually supply you with a few things to jot down. And then a few more. 
Still feeling stuck? Here are my two favorite ways to get unstuck.
1: Interview your characters. You can ask them anything, really. Sit at your [writing instrument of choice] to do this, and actually write out the Q’s and the A’s. I find out all kinds of amazing stuff when I start asking my characters questions.
2: If you’ve truly tried, truly done your B-I-C time and you’re still stuck, go take a walk. Sometimes a little change in scenery will loosen things up. Or maybe it’s the physical motion that does it. I’m not sure. But before you take your walk, ask your brain, “So, what happens next?” and see what comes up!

2 Replies to “Writer’s Block”

  1. The pump metaphor is perfect! That's exactly what it feels like. It helps to keep in mind that you don't have to write 2,000 words a day when you put your butt in the chair. If you start with just writing a paragraph every time you sit down, it gets easier to write more and more.

    If I tried to interview my characters…LOL, they would probably say something along the lines of "I HATE YOU. IT'S YOUR FAULT MY LIFE SUCKS!"

  2. Thanks, Laura! You are so right about just getting a paragraph down! As for your characters saying snarky things, try offering them double chocolate brownies before the interview. *winks*

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