So, You Have Writer’s Block
Congratulations! Having writer’s block confirms that you’re a writer. Only writers get writer’s block. If you weren’t a writer, you wouldn’t even know what being blocked from writing is. I love writers, and I love writing. I’m glad and proud to be a writer! But, man! do I hate writer’s block. And yet I’m a writer, so I get writer’s block. Yes. I am this lucky.
My writer’s block is obnoxious. It snickers and sneers and says “Nanny, nanny, boo, boo!”
So what should you do when the snicker of writer’s block thwarts your productivity? You just bust through it. That’s what you do. But how? It sounds so easy, but when you sit down to do your busting, what happens? You surf the ‘net, check your bank balance, make a decision to change your hair color… My hair is brown now. Yesterday it was blonde. In about a week, it will be blonde again, but then I’ll probably go brown, maybe with a blonde streak — Writer’s block gets you sidetracked by everything and anything, except busting through.
Well, I have busting tricks that sometimes work for me and if applied properly, they may work for you, too.
Once I share with you these little secrets, you can slap the sneer right off your writer’s block and leave its taunting melody behind you.
Writer’s Block Bust #1
The first trick is so easy and so effective and it only takes a minute. For this to work though, you need to be dressed to the shoes. Your shoes can be sneakers or boots, slippers or heels. But you should be wearing shoes, and it helps to be wearing clothes so you don’t look or feel too weird. (You may have guessed I’m not really a fan of the “earn a degree in your pajamas” plan. However, it is up to you.) Now, close your eyes and raise your arms out like an airplane. Inhale deeply through your nose and breathe out slowly through your mouth, lowering your arms as you exhale.
Here’s the secret: Think of the friendly, giant Kool-Aid Jug busting through the wall on the old commercials. See his gigantic-ness and feel his energy as he busts in on the scene. Now open your eyes. That’s you! You’re the Kool-Aid Jug and you’re busting through the brick wall that is writer’s block! What a relief!
(After you do this on a few occasions, you can modify the activity to a simple shout, “Hey, Kool-Aid!” and you may get the same results.)
Now you are free to get to work! You can write now, you’re smiling and all of your obstacles are gone. Just start writing and don’t look back, except maybe to give a wink and smile to the Kool-Aid Jug. Write about how you felt busting through that wall! Write about your favorite Kool-Aid flavor. Write about how awful the Kool-Aid powder tastes before you add the tons of sugar it calls for. Once you get some words down, you will remember how great you are at writing and now you can keep going. Now you can write that article on the implications of socio-economic diversity on small urban communities that you’ve been meaning to get to. (Now there’s a topic!)
If the “Hey Kool-Aid!” didn’t work, or you want to try something else, then here’s another trick that works equally well.
Writer’s Block Bust #2
Writer’s block can come upon you suddenly and strip you of your magical writing powers. This is why sometimes when my snickering writer’s block shows up, I think of a favorite TV show I loved as a kid. First I watched the show in black and white and then delighted when it went technicolor. But the best part for me was at the very beginning: the cartoon of a pretty witch riding her broom up around the moon and stars. I’m talking about Bewitched, of course, starring Elizabeth Montgomery as Samantha Stevens.
Well anyway, let’s get rid of writer’s block. In a loud, clear voice, repeat after me:
“Calling Dr. Bombay, calling Dr. Bombay. Emergency! Come right away!” That was Samantha’s famous call for her family witch doctor, whom she summonsed whenever some strange symptom of an unearthly disease appeared at the Stevens home. Virtually all of Samantha’s sicknesses manifested by stripping her of her magical powers.
To be stripped of magical powers that help you get through your chores or whip up whatever you want is akin in my book to having writer’s block.
So you’ve just summonsed Dr. Bombay and he will have the remedy. Yes, he will appear in an outrageous costume, appropriate for whatever bizarre activity he was interrupted doing, and herein lies the antidote to writer’s block. So, get started writing! You can write about what Dr. Bombay was doing before he was summonsed, what he is wearing (surgeon’s scrubs or a matador’s ornate ensemble, perhaps). Just get writing and don’t stop. Then you will remember what a gifted writer you really are and you can be rid of this dreaded case of writer’s block, at least for now.
I hope you get results with my little tips. Do you have tips to share? Please post them here.
What about you? How do you bust through writer’s block?
Left: This is me in downtown Salem, Massachusetts at the commemorative statue of Samantha Stevens riding her broom around the moon. Among her many feats, she’s also a writer’s block buster!