Dia(B)log

Breaking writer’s block

Any writer has been there. Your weekly page goal is 125, you’re on page 110. It’s Wednesday afternoon. Nothing is working.

Over the years I’ve used many methods to overcome this inevitable challenge such as “get moving” (walking my husky four miles for the second time that day) to “getting out” (watching two women get in a hair pulling match over Italian pumps at a Nordstrom sale when I was writing Inflatable Men). For what it’s worth, I’ve discovered something not often, or maybe ever mentioned that works for me when “journaling it”, “speaking it”, or even “dancing it out” fails to help:

Go out of your way to do something nice for someone when you’re supposed to be at your desk, working.

Then as the satisfaction flows from your efforts, do it again.

That’s right, don’t wait until seven o’clock, do it at ten a.m. Which goes against the discipline of most successful authors – carving out your writing time and guarding it like a man engrossed in his favorite app. Maybe it’s the breaking of the schedule, maybe it’s because you remove the focus from yourself and/or your pesky fictional friends who won’t cooperate. All I know is it’s effective and you’re doing something to brighten another’s day.

After all, being a writer is a solitary and strange job. If fiction is involved it can be downright weird at times (one of the reasons I like it). Sometimes when the words or ideas won’t come, instead of grasping harder at our subconscious, muse, divine intervention, or whatever you attribute your creativity to, we instead need to look outward to get the relief and inspiration we need to get to page 125. Finish book number seven. Or face the demonic first page of a new project.

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