Monday, October 27, 2008

Write! Dammit! Write!!! KIll Writer's Block!!!

I was looking through some old posts today on a forum I used to frequent and I found this little rant about a writer's worst enemy: Writer's Bock!!! EEK!!!

I read it over and I really like what I wrote. I still keep to this philosophy a year later. So I'm posting it here again for all those writer's out there that may wonder how I shove through the nefarious Writer's Block.

With over 1,000 pages of formatted story for As The World Dies and another full length novel being prepped for publication and numerous COMPLETE novels (that will sit quietly like good children until I want to rewrite them or just pack them away), I have faced writer's block a million times over. I have been writing since I was 12. And I' 37. Writer's Block is an old Nemesis of mine.

Let me say firmly that walking away from a story is dangerous. Leaving it sit is dangerous. Ignoring it for another project is dangerous.

For a lot of writers, a new story is like a new crush. You get all giddy and tap away at your keyboard (or write long hand) and write and write and write then bam! The wall hits and you're like.."err...I didn't know my crush was a total BITCH/ASSHOLE."

So you either work on the relationship or you walk away. Walking away (i.e. taking a break, writing on something else, etc) is a good chance of blowing that relationship for good.

I hit the wall when Jenni and Katie reached Nerit and Ralph's place and again when they reached the Fort. I hit about a hundred more walls along the way. Each time I felt daunted by what was to come.

Now taking a walk, etc, may help you out, but commit yourself to the story before you do that by writing at least a few lines down of what you think is coming next. Keep focused on the story.

With As The World Dies, I could not read any zombie genre, but I watched zombie flicks and other horror that had that feel. I wrote down notes for future stuff in the story even though I felt I was slogging through muck in the present chapter. I did not commit to any other writing projects because I KNOW the danger there.

I look at the slew of unfinished stories that are on this forum and others and its obvious how fickle writers can be. I found an unfinished short story on my hard drive a few weeks ago. I could have SCREAMED when I realized I never ended it. I have no freaking clue what the ending would have been. It's been annoying me ever since.

I have a friend who writes awesome screenplays. Well, at least the first part of the screenplays. He gets very enthused with the concept, writes in a flurry, then hits a wall, gets frustrated, chunks it and repeats the cycle with another story. He never finishes ANYTHING. And it sux, because he's got this amazing mind and so many good ideas.

So what are my tricks to push through? Here are a few of my tricks.

1. Commit fully to the story and make it my only love. -- If it feels half-formed or like just an idea, I write down all the details I "know" and save it for later. If it feels ready to be born and I have nothing else on my plate, then I fully commit to the story. It becomes my focus.

2. I find music that fits the story. Something that keeps me typing. Something that stirs the imagination. Marylin Manson, Sneaker Pimps, Johnny Cash and Rob Zombie were my friends when I wrote As The World Dies. NIN, the soundtracks to Dracula and Queen of the Damned, and various fav goth songs kept me company for my other novel. One idea I have brewing perks up if I put on Crombiechrist or Psychobitch. Another one lives in VAST's debut album. I will NOT listen to music for another story when working on my committed story. I will write notes for the other stories though, but nothing like a chapter.

3. I find someone I can talk to about the story. - This is so important. Find someone who wants to hear about it and can ask you questions or push you to explore something more fully. My friend Morris was a great help with As The World Dies. (and no..there is no sequel, Morris!) Its good to have someone to bounce things off of.

4. Write Anyway- This goes against the grain and it may feel utterly empty, but do it ANYWAY. Sometimes, what you write when there is no flow, kicks ass. Sometimes it sux. Sometimes it shows you that you've gone a wrong way. Sometimes it just lays there lifeless until something switches in your head and suddenly you get this burst. Some of As The World Dies chapters were push throughs. I HATED them. And usually those were the chapters that people loved.

I honestly do not believe in walking away from a story unless you intend to walk away for good.

So my bet advice when Writer's Block hits......WRITE. Just fucking write. And you'll bust the wall down.

And that is all *steps off soapbox*

Hehehe...I"m off to battle...WRITER'S BLOCK!!!

*note I cap Writer's Block because in my head its this mean ol ogre sitting in my way and that is his name. :)

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