The fabulous W is up in today's Blogging from A to Z Challenge - and my topic:
No, not sun block. Writer's block. And oh, how I wish I could say I had no idea what that was.
Unfortunately, I know it all to well - and according to Wikipedia (don't judge my sources. :)), I have a condition:
Writer's block is a condition, primarily associated with writing as a profession, in which an author loses the ability to produce new work. The condition varies widely in intensity. It can be trivial, a temporary difficulty in dealing with the task at hand. At the other extreme, some "blocked" writers have been unable to work for years on end, and some have even abandoned their careers.
Wow. After reading that, I think I'd be inclined to seek medical attention. Or therapy. Or shock treatment. Or all of the above.
But I digress.
Oddly enough, my best time of the year to write, is between April and June - probably because that's when high school prom and graduation are taking place, and that feeling in the air gives me all kinds of inspiration. But my worst time of the year is definitely between September and October (ha! Go figure, it's when the kids go back to school!) - and it never fails every September, that I find myself sitting and staring with wide, blank eyes, at my computer.
So what do I do when this happens?
Well, last August I wrote a post for Road Trip Wednesday, on this exact topic - which I though I'd repost, since it was so fitting:
From August 24th, 2011, my post on writer's block, and how I beat it:
Similar to Friday Fives, Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ hosted by the fabulous ladies over at YA Highway. Each Wednesday, they post a weekly writing - or reading - related question, and I get to answer it here! And this week's topic is something near and dear *insert glaring sideways and growling here* to my heart:
How do you beat writer's block?
Around this time last year, I'd been well under way on a new manuscript (which I'd started last July). However, around 6 weeks into writing it, I started to sputter out.
Don't get me wrong, I had plenty of ideas of where I wanted the story to go - and being as though I'm more of a pantser style writer, I knew I had options. It's just that I couldn't, for the life of me, bridge the gap from where I was, to where I wanted to take the story. So I put it aside and did other things. And every time I thought about it (which was more often than not, as I was really excited about this one), I'd try to write...but nothing happened. In fact, I used the backspace key more than any other key on my keyboard. It was horrible.
I went from writing 15,000 words a weekend (which when I'm on a roll, roughly equates to my average for 2 days of writing) to nothing. Zero. Zilch. Nadda. Nope. None. Boo.
So what did I do?
1. Exercise. I joined a CrossFit box with my husband and started diving into exercise. I knew I needed to get my rear in gear anyhow, and well, since I couldn't seem to get on with my writing, this was a VERY good outlet for me. And while CrossFit is super intense, everybody can do it, as it's completely scalable. I swear. If you don't know what Crossfit is you can read more about it here - or here's a great video:
2. Eating. Boy do I love good food. But thanks to my lovely muse taking a 'round the world vacation, this time I decided to try eating right. Hubby and I started cutting out Gluten from our diets and introducing more Paleo type recipes. For those of you unaware of Paleo, you can read more about it here and here - it can be pretty hard core, but it doesn't have to be - and you can adjust it to your lifestyle. It's all around just better for you. This is still a huge challenge for me, but something I'm really trying to commit to.
3. Reading. I read lots and lots and LOTS of books. Over 65 books between July and November of last year, to be exact. Not only does it help kick your writing into gear, but it's so great to help hone your own craft.
4. Hanging Out. I had some time off last year and was able to do things like hang out at the mall. On a Tuesday. At 11am (really, I've always envied anyone who can do this...*le sigh*). Which, during the summer, is the perfect place to spy observe my target audience: teenagers.
5. NaNoWriMo. Ultimately, this was EXACTLY what I needed to kick my muse into gear. A deadline. A challenge. Competition. Who knew? Thanks to NaNo, I wrote over 60,000 words in the month of November and finished my manuscript. It. Was. Awesome. I was on fire and couldn't stop writing. On more than one occasion, I heard my alarm going off to wake me up for work - and I so didn't want to go to the office. I wanted to write! A big thanks to NaNo, for giving me that push to get my manuscript finished.
Eight months later, I still find all of the above helpful in combating writer's block - especially working out or running. But I'm always looking for new ways to tame the beast. So with that, I leave you with: