By Darien Gee
Quote of the Week: “I write when I’m inspired, and I see to it that I’m inspired at nine o’clock every morning.” Peter de Vries
Prompt of the Week: Start writing with this first line—She winked at me.
One question I get asked is if I ever get writer’s block. Writer’s block is that frustrating phenomenon that happens when you find yourself frozen, unable to write another word or hating every word you write. There are countless debates about writer’s block, what it is and how to fix it.
I don’t believe in writer’s block. I believe that you can get stuck, yes, and there may be stretches of bad writing, too, but to really hit a wall that stops the writing process altogether? No. If that happens and you feel truly immobilized, I’d wager it isn’t writer’s block, but something else entirely. And until you figure out what that something else is, you won’t be able to push your writing past where you are.
So what if you’re merely stuck or can’t get a scene to work? Or the writing feels flat or uninteresting? Or you just plain hate what you’ve written and don’t ever want to pick up a pen again? My advice is to stop. Stop, put that writing on the shelf, and turn to another writing project altogether. Use a writing prompt to get you started. If you’re able to write, and if you find yourself liking what you’re writing, then chances are you’ve hit a roadblock with your other work because you are trying to make something happen that doesn’t want to happen. When you go back to the original piece, change something: point of view, a new chapter, a new scene. Airlift yourself out of the stuck place and keep going. The writing will tell you what to do next if you listen.
If you need to, take a break, even a long break. But don’t be gone for too long—like most things, writing improves with practice. If you want to write, you need to be writing. It’s as simple as that.
I love writing but that doesn’t mean it always comes easy. Writing is work, especially if you are crafting a story, and especially so if you are crafting a story for publication. Many writers have a daily schedule and they stick to it religiously, be it measured by hours or word count. I have never been able to stick to any sort of set schedule and write whenever I can, as often as I can (I’d love to blame it on the kids but this was true even before I had them.) I write, then edit and revise, and then I write some more. Do I get sick of my work at times? Yes. Do I hit roadblocks? Of course. Do I have days where I’m sitting and staring at a blinking cursor until I can no longer feel my legs? You betcha.
But do I ever get writer’s block? Nope.
And an invitation for those of you just joining us: take the 2012 Summer Writing Challenge by writing a page a day or ten minutes a day until August 2. For more information look at the June 7 North Hawaii News issue online under “eEditions.”
Until next time, write well!
Darien Gee aka Mia King is a national bestselling author based in Waimea. For more information visit dariengee.com or miaking.com.