Thursday, September 07, 2006

Grinding the Java - Writer's Block

Dear Dead Beat,
I suffer often from writer’s block. What can be done, if anything?

Dear Desperate,
There’s no such thing. Writer’s block does not exist.

At it’s worst it is an excuse for being lazy, at best a necessary part of the writing process.

That’s the good news.

What has become known as ‘writer’s block’ is usually one of two things: 1) Poor set-up; 2)A necessary subconscious part of the writing process.

Poor set-up simply means not allowing yourself get into the right frame of mind to write. Perhaps there are too many distractions or simply poor discipline at play. ‘Writer’s block’ begets ‘writer’s block’. We can easily set ourselves up for it, repeat whatever caused it the time before. So create a good writing environment and a good writing discipline. It helps to write at the same time and in the same place. We get used to it. It becomes a ‘writing’ environment. A good writing environment begets a good writing environment. So have regular writing periods and stick to them as best as you can. No slipping off for endless cups of coffee, or checking your emails. Once the pattern is created we go in with a better set-up. The set-up to write. If you are stuck in the beginning, write anything down (words beget words). Write about how stuck you are, but stick with it. Day after day. Discipline is everything.

Now as for the ‘block’ being a part of the process. Sometimes in writing we need to let things shift around in the unconscious mind a while. We have all sorts of writing skills and strategies at play in our mind that we know little about (old Dead Beat has studied this quite a bit, the unconscious processes using the NLP -Neuro Linguistic Programming method - the what Dead Beat? - Never mind!) Anyway trust the unconscious to do its part. But stay at the page. No slipping away - “oh well the good old unconscious will figure it out while I grind the java” - no you must stay with it, and it will all spill out (no, not the coffee).

However watch out that you do not confuse this unconscious process with poor discipline and poor set-up attitude.

No excuses, remember.

Forward any questions to Dead Beat through the comment section.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear Dead Beat,

Someone recently described a piece of my writing as sentimental. What do you think was meant by this?

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