Zoning out is a writer's best friend

A question that many new authors ask is how to overcome writers block. These same folks also find themselves asking why they can't put aside more "trivial pursuits" so that they can focus on their work. They don't see how the two are related.


If you are struggling with writer's block, the first thing you need to do is get as far away from your desk as possible. Next, you need to do one of two things, turn your brain completely off or stimulate it with inspiring content.


The first is the shower principle in action: take a nap, do the dishes, doodle phallic shapes for a bit. Hell, stare blankly at a wall for a few hours. The last thing you want to do pressure your creative side. The creative process is beholden to no schedule and the sooner accept this, the happier your creative life will be. If the story isn't tearing its way out of your imagination and onto the page, then it isn't ready yet. It needs to cook a little longer. Sure, you could throw all the ingredients in a bowl and crank the oven up to 500 degrees and eat whatever comes out fifteen minutes later, but its going to taste like garbage. It just is. Stop opening the door and poking at it, just let it cook. (sorry, I've been watching a lot of cooking shows lately) There is also the need to consider that rest and decompressing are a vital part of the creative process. We're not writing machines. Whoever convinced you that you have to write for hours and hours every single day no matter what was probably at least part cyborg. If you are a human, you need to take days off. Artistic burnout is very real.


The second option should be fairly obvious. If you want to make, you have to consume. I'm all in favor of watching art house films and read Pulitzer Prize winning books but don't discount the value of dumb sitcoms or those kinds of films that get labeled "guilty pleasures." Sample a bit of everything. The wider your library of influence, the more interesting combinations you can try, the deeper your characters will be, the more believable your plots will be. You get the picture. It's true that great artists steal and the more eclectic your toolkit, the more original your collection of stolen tricks will seem.


Writer's block is a myth. You're only blocked because you're stretched too thin and your cup runneth dry. Give yourself a break,, literally. You'll be pleasantly surprised how the ideas flow once you do.



 

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