I sit down in front of the computer screen and… nothing. No inspiration, no plan, no idea what that next blog will be about. Now what do I do? I have Writer’s Block and that means I’m drawing a total blank. Panic sets in as I try to figure out how to explain to my devoted readers why I’ve got zip.
If you’re a writer and have experienced this debilitating disease, you know it can last for hours, days, or even weeks. I thought I would try to isolate and identify some of the various symptoms and suggest a few cures to help the sufferers get over the horrible mental anguish caused by this terrible affliction.
This condition is characterized by the writer constantly finding new topics to write about while doing day to day things. They’re totally thrilled when the ideas surface, but are in no position to be constructing the related prose. Shopping, driving, eating, showering, cleaning, and other mundane habits leave the writer unable to physically write when enlightened. They finally arrive at the keyboard and nothing happens. Every idea has vanished.
I truly believe the simple cure is to avoid these dreary undertakings until your ideas have all been explored and recorded. A writer needs to develop strong priorities and sometimes has to get used to being hungry, dirty and housebound. The creative juices must flow freely. I’m sure family members will understand.
In this case the writer has numerous topics to exploit in his quest for a new masterpiece. Unfortunately he can’t get past the first couple lines. Once he types that first sentence or two, that idea is over and gone. There is nothing left to say. The shoulders drop and he hangs his head. With the first idea not working, he tries the second only to experience the same result. Now the shoulders come up, along with his temper and he goes for the third with teeth clenched. Surprise – he can’t even produce a full sentence. His ‘Spellchecker’ is going crazy as his fingers fly willy-nilly over the keyboard. Frustration has taken over. Writer’s Block reigns supreme.
Take a break, Sweetie! This writer needs that sixth morning coffee just to relax.
The cure can take a few minutes. First he needs to calm down and recognize this disorder as the source of his horrendous writing pain. Handling it can only be done with a calm mind and steady hand. Deep breathing works well. Going back to his first idea (it was probably the best anyway), he will now calmly follow that first attempt with whatever enters his mind. Using the idea itself as a mantra, he types. Trusting his fingers, he relates whatever is in his head. When all thought is exhausted, he leaves the keyboard for at least two hours. Only upon his return to the screen does he read the result of this exercise.
Occasionally this works and the results are sometimes impressive. The best thing this procedure does is keep his computer in one piece and safe to write another day.
AAADD – AGE ACTIVATED ATTENTION DEFICIT DISORDER:
This disorder, as the name indicates, usually affects older writers, but don’t be fooled. There is no age limit, and it can affect anyone. How it works seems quite simple and innocent. The writer has an idea and intends to write it, but on the way to the computer, he notices the carpet need vacuuming. When he goes to get the vacuum, he finds the closet in disarray and decides to straighten things. While doing that he finds an old hat and trying it on, realizes the mirror is badly smudged, etc, etc. This can go on indefinitely. If he ever gets to the computer, he’ll start sharpening pencils he’ll never use, cleaning the computer screen, and then locating the hand vacuum to get the dust out of the keyboard. When he decides to check email or the internet, it’s over. I’m sure you get the picture. Nothing gets written and he really can’t understand where the day went and why he is so exhausted.
The worst part of this affliction is, if he does get to the computer and he does start to write, he can never remember what he was going to write about.
I am so sorry – I don’t have a cure for this one.
The true definition – the writer sits down and has no idea what to write. There are no ideas, no inspirations, not even excuses. He is tapped out and generally disgusted with himself. The book needs an ending. The blog needs to be posted soon. The short story needs a plot. What’s he got…NOTHING!!!… ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!!!
I will attempt to provide a few simple exercises to release the horrible guilt that goes hand in hand with this condition. Each process is independent and the writer will know if any of these suggestions are working:
The simple and usually best idea is to go to your book shelf and find old classic books that no one remembers -use the story line but add a couple vampires or a few zombies – perfect!
• Read a non-writing magazine like Fashion or Sports Illustrated (no real writer reads these) and try to steal an idea from those pointless articles.
• Message other writers (especially actual friends who may trust you) and casually ask them about their latest ideas. Be sure to act really enthusiastic and interested. Then their super-egos will tell everything – they can’t help themselves.
• Phone friends and bring up the subject “Did you ever have an idea for a great story?” The answer is usually quite ridiculous, but a good writer knows ideas can be triggered by nonsense. They say everyone has a book in them – they didn’t say good book, just a book.
• Try the internet and go to the obscure sites and try to find ideas there. Try them all – even the Weather Network. Ideas can come from anywhere.
My last strategy might be the best over all. Try a Google search by typing in “Ideas for a book/blog/short story”. I’m confident the results will be stimulating. Hopefully breaking the Writer’s Block by this methodology will be extremely successful.
After all, as I’ve been told many,many times, and it still scares the daylights out of me, Google Knows Everything…