Friday, June 18, 2010
Writer's Block; Is it Real?
I have been writing for over 25 years and have to say, I don't get writer's block. I'm lucky because I started my writing career working for newspapers and believe me, there are no writer's blocks in newsrooms. Newspapers have deadlines. If you're given assignment and told to write four or six or 12 inches by 6 PM, you do it. If you can't make deadlines, there are a lot of bright young writers lined up to take your job. Working for newspapers also taught me to write fast, get all the facts up front and to always spell names correctly!
I don't have deadlines anymore, well other than those that are self-imposed, but I still don't get blocked. Oh, I may run out of steam on one project or get bored with it, but then I just shift to another piece and work on that for a while. Because I freelanced for so long, I always have multiple projects going. Right now I'm working on and alternating between: a memoir, an article about my rescue dog for an anthology and three novels. I also write a blog twice a week and do some freelance articles for a variety of magazines. That's not much I know, but I'm semi-retired, I've been writing for a long time and I'm getting lazy.
If you're the kind of writer who only wants to do one thing at a time, that's fine. You still don't have to get blocked. Instead of staring at that blinking cursor, write nonsense, write a poem, write something but whatever you do, don't stop. That waylays madness. Once you stop writing you'll talk yourself into being blocked and that's not good.
Try to write something every day, even if it's only in your journal. Remember, you're allowed to write crap. You know you have to revise your work anyhow, so just write. Start by copying lines from one of your favorite novels or paragraphs from a magazine article. Your brain will take over and before you know it the words will flow again and your fingers will be flying across the computer keys.
I guess I don't understand writer's block or why writers get blocked. I mean, do plumbers get blocked? Do teachers get blocked? Have you ever heard an accountant say, "I couldn't go to work today, I'm blocked. I simply cannot add another number." I'm afraid that poor accountant would starve to death pretty fast. So, like the plumber or teacher or accountant, you show up at the page every day and just write. Don't worry about writer's block, it doesn't exist.
Here's a quote from comedian and author Steve Martin about writer's block that I love: Writer's block is a fancy term made up by whiners so they can have an excuse to drink alcohol.
Carlene Rae Dater has published over 350 pieces of short fiction and non-fiction as well as nine novels and a non-fiction book. Her tenth novel was released in May, 2010. Visit Carlene’s blog at: www.CarleneDater.com.