Saturday, February 13, 2016

Real, actual cures for writer's block (I swear)

     If you're a writer then at least once in your life you've experienced that dreaded moment when the words just will not flow no matter what you do. 

     The ideas are in your head. You've waited all day to write. You sit down in front of your computer, or you have your notebook and 1.6 mm pen (their ink is so squishy) and suddenly you can't do it. Maybe you're nervous you won't get it right. Maybe it's an emotional scene that's hard for you to write. Maybe there's a bunch of crap going on in your life that is somehow preventing you from working on your favorite hobby or life's dream (stupid life crap--as if it isn't crappy enough as it is). Maybe you're too physically and mentally exhausted from your day job and family/friend duties to have the mental energy to write (writing is kind of paradoxical that way--it's fun and relaxing, but also takes mental energy). Or maybe there's just no logical reason at all. 

     You just can't get the words out.

     If you're lucky, this only happens every now and then and only lasts for maybe a day or two. Sometimes it's scene specific. Other times it's life event specific. Other times there's no rhyme or reason. 

     If the block plagues you long enough you probably start to feel a great gaping hole open up inside you. You miss writing. You've had it with people and their well-meaning suggestions for how to fix it. You're probably sick to death of the phrase "writer's block." You probably didn't want to read my post just because of the title. You've probably read every freaking article, blog post, book, paragraph, tweet, and piece of graffiti on a wall in an alley behind a Chinese restaurant ever written on the subject. You're probably sick to the death of the very word "block" and anything that remotely resembles a block. If you have children, grandchildren, nieces or nephews, or friends with children and they want to play with blocks you want to throw their blocks into the fireplace. Don't do this--the child might cry, and then you will be so guilt-ridden that your writer's block is guaranteed to go on for at least an extra month. 

     Don't worry. I'm not going to subject you to the standard solutions that you've all probably heard a million times. You know: write something different, stop trying so hard, outline, talk it out with a friend, take a walk, just sit down and write whatever comes to your mind, and blah blah blah. Nope. Not going to tell you these. Now I know you might be thinking: didn't you just tell us? No, I didn't. Honest. It just looks like I did. 

     All right. Here are my new and fresh ideas:

     1.) Go over to Spotify or Apple Music or whatever music subscription you use. Pandora (though I love it) won't work for this one. If you don't have a subscription, get a free trial, just don't forget to discontinue it before it runs out (gets me every darn time). Now do a search for "O Fortuna." Yep, you'll get a crap load of results. At least fifty, I think. Now, you'll have to sift through and figure out which are actual remixes and which are just the same version played by different symphonies. It's cool--it will kill a bunch of time and take your mind off the fact that you're supposed to be writing. Now once you've done that put all the ones that are actual different versions in a play list. And yes--now you are going to listen to them. 

     Yes. Each. And. Every. One. Of. Them. 

     Rate them. And yes--I actually did this. Some of you might remember me tweeting about it. 

     Okay, so I'm only being half-truthful. I made it through about 20 of them, and I only rated them in my head. There's an interesting heavy metal/rap-ish one (though I never really got the whole heavy metal/rap combo thing), and a cool techno version. 

     Pretty soon you may also be able to do this with the Game of Thrones theme song. I don't know what it's called, but I've started to hear lots of different remixes played at hockey games. At first I thought it didn't really go, but then I remembered how violent hockey is. 

     2.) If you have a Wii, make a Mii for each of your characters. Yeah, I know it's cheesy and dorky, but so what? And yes--I've done this. Though not for all my characters. Yet. This is also a good cure for insomnia. 
     
     An alternative to this is going through magazines or random pics on the net and finding ones that best fit your character.

     3.) Go "window shopping" online for your characters' clothes. In my YA novel my characters go to the Homecoming Dance, (because you can't have a YA without Homecoming--unless it's dystopian or AU) so I found pictures of each of their outfits. Yes, I did. I even found suits for the boys. You want to make something of it? It killed so much actual writing time. But when I was done I did lots of writing. I swear. 

     4.) Write a blog post about ridiculous ways to cure writer's block.