All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
Google this: writers block blog posts. 23,600,000 hits. Make that 23,600,001. Yes, I know that all of those hits aren’t actually blog posts on that topic, but there’s a LOT of ’23 ways to overcome writer’s block’ articles out there. I read one the other day. It was pretty good. But it also threw out gems like, “Make a list!” Make a list? Isn’t that what we do when we can’t think of anything else? (Sorry to that blogger. Feel free to slam me in some way, to your much larger audience.) There are seminars you can attend to beat writer’s block. Here’s an idea: Don’t attend the seminar!
So, I’m in the middle of my book. Trying to write my way out of Act 2 into the big downhill, thrilling, ride to the final loop with a big finish… And it’s a quagmire. I’ve got my main character pursuing a secondary character whose been on maybe 4 pages, and I’m not even sure what that guy’s purpose is (other than being inconveniently in the proximity of the protagonist.)
BUT, I DO NOT HAVE WRITER’S BLOCK.
I could skip this section of the book, write the next chapter and come back and look at it fresh. But no, I’m going to push through and figure out why this might be the best part of the book. Because it’s bogged down, I’m going to take this as a sign that something else BIG needs to happen. A terrible hurricane! A violent confrontation! The birth of a baby! (Um, no.) In fact, my not-writer’s-block has me writing more (often) but fewer words. I’m pretty sure this is where Dean Koontz or Clive Cussler hand the book off to their co-writers, and pour themselves a brandy and schedule a massage. Sorry… I’m just taking shots at everyone. I read a lot of Koontz in college and I get that his readers like it when a seemingly normal mystery suddenly has an alien or a ghost attack someone. While his books weren’t for me, I read 6 or 8 of them, and guess what? If that many people read 6 or 8 of my books I wouldn’t care what some one-novel-under-his-belt oil salesman said about my surprise-this-is-a-sci-fi-book catalogue.
Now… if you’re reading this because you have writer’s block, stop. You don’t. It doesn’t exist. Maybe you have questions about your idea. Maybe you’re just lazy. Stop reading this blog now. Seriously. Seriously, because I’m about to start making fun of you (the royal “you,” not you specifically.)
If you are reading this because a) you don’t have writer’s block, or b) you don’t write, so you can’t have this affliction: Let’s consider this… I write almost exclusively at night, after the kids are in bed, the kitchen is clean, and (REDACTED Reality Show) is starting. More often, I start writing at 11:00 after my wife goes to bed. I don’t sit there for an hour and write 4 paragraphs. I write for an hour, feverishly. To hear my fingers work the keys, you’d think I was copying it. Yes, I have an outline… a loose one… but I don’t know what I’m going to write next. I started writing this blog post 15 minutes ago without knowing really what it would say. I don’t know my thoughts until I have them.
Pity these “professional writers” who spend 6 months and have nothing to show for it and take 2 years to write a book. They have the luxury (just enough money to keep the lights on) to get writer’s block. They can take three years to write a book and still eat. Someday I aspire to write only one book per year, because it’s selling enough that I don’t need to write two. I’ll take my family to some cabin where I’ll expect them to entertain themselves while I brood over the laptop like some movie character.
The next time someone tells you they have writer’s block, tell them the government is spraying chemicals on us all from passenger jet through the contrails.
There, think I’ve made my case: Writer’s block doesn’t exist. This blog post and the last 1,000 words of my book are proof. If you are a writer, I told you to stop reading, but since you’re still here, go write. Readers, thank you. Go antagonize your writer friends. Chemtrails people, buy The Grandfather Clock. It will introduce you to a great new conspiracy.
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