Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Writer's Block in Disguise

Geralt via Pixabay
In one of her recent Facebook posts, author and author success coach Deborah Riley-Magnus posed this question:
Author survey question of the day ... I don't believe in writer's block, but I do believe in fear that can paralyze the fingers. What are your tricks to get over the blank page and get the ball rolling on those rare occasions when you're uncertain or concerned about the project at hand?
My response came quickly and easily:
Just write. Anything. Words on the page are easier to edit (even if you delete them all when better words show up) than a blank page. 
I believe that. And, like Deb, I don't believe in writer's block, or, at least, I refuse to call it that. Sure there are extenuating circumstances, but when it comes to day-to-day writing roadblocks, it's much easier to slap a handy label on them and go do something that's not as much work than it is to sit down and put words -- any words -- on a page or screen.

It only occurred to me after I responded to Deb's post that my writer's block (again, assuming there is such a thing) comes in a different form.


I'm very good at following my own write something -- anything advice once my butt is in my chair. Unfortunately, I'm equally good at not sitting down to write in the first place. I can create a day's worth of things I should do instead, thus completely circumventing Deb's question in the first place.

In theory, the answer to this dilemma is equally plain and simple:

  1. Stop doing everything else.
  2. Sit down.
  3. Write.
It's not that writing is that easy; some days, pushing a rock up a mountain would be less difficult and more fulfilling. But there's only one way to get better at it, only one way to fill pages with words, only one way to turn those words into stories and books and articles and that is to sit down and write. Write messy, write nonsensical, write garbage. 

Just. Write.

Now all I need to do is practice what I preach.

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