“You write your first draft with your heart and then you rewrite it with your head – William Forrester (Finding Forrester).”
See, even something as dreadful as writer’s or artist’s block can be made into something fun. I guess I prefer “Creative Constipation” over writer’s block, artist’s block and whatnot. Creative Constipation sounds more creative.
In this particular post, I’ll focus on how I overcame my writer’s block. I’ll write a follow-up to this one showcasing the steps I took to overcome my artist’s block. This is not a flow chart, it’s not a step-by-step guide. Play with the order as you like. Another point, I extensively use these particular four steps when I’m stuck with an idea and they always work for me.
Before we start, let’s get one thing clear, writing is a difficult job and an even difficult art to master. If you do not respect the words, they end up coming back, with full blown karma, to bite you in the ass. Or what we officially call writer’s block.
Step One – The Identity Crisis.
A room full of emptiness, lost in pages. Does that sounds familiar?
So often we end up getting lost and confused by one simple question. What should we write?
My answer, “Write what you know and if you don’t want to, atleast take inspiration from it. Not all of us live in middle earth or NYC or have access to a time machine. None of that means our life is a bad one.” Write how you perceive things. I, as a reader, want to know how you think, what your views are. There are hundred variations of this particular advice but they all convey one message, “Write from your heart.”
Step Two – The Vomiting Conundrum.
“Writing about a writer’s block is better than not writing at all – Charles Bukowski.”
Don’t type, write. I know, I know, “But I type faster, I do not like ink pen, my handwriting is not good,” but I’m asking you to write, not to catwalk on a ramp.
Just write. Shut down your computer. Separate your analogous and digital desk. Write. Just write. Do not write for it to be eloquent and perfect, write ugly.
You can stare at a blank screen, you cannot stare at a blank page, if nothing you’ll doodle and that can be creative too. Whatever the case, using the old method of writing keeps your creative juices flowing. Use index cards, Post-it notes, whatever works for you.
Step Three – The Mattress Experiment
Write either early in morning, or late in night. First identify whether you’re a morning person or night person. Pieces I’ve been most satisfied with are the ones I wrote around 12:30 or 1:00 in the night. Your right brain (Your inner critic) is groggy at that time. Words flow more smoothly. Whatever time you choose, make it a routine, take notes whenever you want but write on that particular time.
For me only one of it works. You can try experimenting with both but I’ll advice that you do not write both early in the morning and late at night. Do not force yourself into something you’ll end up hating. See what works for you.
Step Four – The Zazzy Expedition AKA “The Thought Incubation.”
Writer wherever and whenever you want to. Take notes. Free yourself from paragraph and dialogues. Doodle down ideas (that’s one of the best way).
Read before you begin writing. Read quotes and use them to start your writing (I do this a lot, almost all my written work contains a quote at the top).
But write. Just write. Generate momentum. You overcome writer’s block by writing. Do not pretend as you have to write beautiful woven words, a perfect jewel everyone will appreciate, show that piece of paper your ugliest side, the one you always ignore. Good writing is not about finding the right word. You need to make others feel the emotion. And emotions are ugly (Atleast in their most stripped form).
As an after-thought, do not make writing more difficult than it already is. Writing is fun, do not constrain it with perfectionism. And if nothing works, just talk to yourself (I know, people will call you crazy), and write that.
Believe it or not, that’s the best thing you’ll ever do.