The most fearsome enemy to any writer, attacking without warning, without predjudice and without compassion, is (gasp, dare I say it?) WRITER’s BLOCK.
I feel a bit like Harry Potter speaking Voldermort’s name aloud to the horror of his fellow witches and wizards.
Writer’s Block is a curse to creativity. It’s as if all the characters and situations and what if scenarios, which normally ricochet around your brain have been sucked into a worm hole leaving only a void behind. It’s painful, it’s frightening and it’s self inflicted!
Writer’s Block is the residue of fear. For me, it is the fear of not being good enough. For you it may be fear of exposing yourself to criticism, fear of rejection, fear of humiliation, fear of failure, fear of success, the list could go on and on. Regardless of the fear that keeps you its prisoner, Writer’s Block is your prison.
It’s time to conquer your fear and get back to the business of writing.
Begin by identifying what is holding you back. As I said, I’m afraid of not being good enough. To counter this, I use a technique called free writing. I think about a situation and then write continuously for ten minutes, without stopping, without censoring any word or phrase or thought. Knowing that mistakes are acceptable, that the objective of this exercise is quantity not quality frees me from my prison.
Use every opportunity to write. If you have stalled on a novel, write a short story, an article, a poem, write in your journal, write a description of the checker at the grocery store, give her a name, a bio, a life…The idea is: JUST WRITE. I stall when editing. Sometimes I just can’t look at the story any more. I get so frustrated, I just want to chuck the whole thing and start over. At times like this, it’s better for me to turn my attention to a short story or write an article. Before I know it, I’m relaxed and confident.
Last, but not least, READ. Reading a good book always inspires me. Imagine if JRR Tolkien let fear stop him from writing. What the world would be missing! Every book is full of lessons you can apply to your craft. You can read a book and see the way a particular writer develops characters, overcomes obstacles or weaves their words. You may find tools to use and traps to avoid in your own work.
(c) Lisa Hood
Lisa Hood is the author of "Shades of Betrayal" and “Shades of Revenge”.
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