On Writing #10: Beating Writer’s Block

(A blog-note first: I will now be posting something new every Sunday! Check back every week for a new article!)

Writer’s block is something I’ve been having extensive experience with recently, since the birth of my daughter interrupted every routine, from writing to Martial Arts. Until about June, I was on a daily grind of at least 500, usually 800-1000 words. And they were good words.

Now I’ve “fallen off the wagon”, and for a good long while. I have new rhythms in life, new responsibilities at work and at home that threaten to eat every second of time I had.

How you overcome writer’s block is a two-step process:
1) Fill up your soul with images and emotion.
2) Put your Butt In Chair (BIC) and write (preferably on a scheduled basis.)

Let’s start with an explanation of Step #2:

BIC. This is what I’ve been avoiding. The alone-lonliness of writing. The fear of having no words, no mind, no beauty left in my soul to share. I just haven’t had any ideas, and when I tried to write anyway, everything was dead and lifeless.

Still, I will be trying to schedule time at lunch every day to write. At least 30 mins, with a goal of 100 words. This WILL work if I do it — and it will work for you too — the problem is DOING IT. It’s not fun to sit there with no ideas and write crap until the ideas come.

Now lets move onto Step #1:

This has been a long dry spell for me, with many false starts on projects, but at least one very successful story. But as I’ve told others in their dry spells, the secret to writing READING, and more than that — reading INSPIRING WORK. Read something that will inform your stories — style or substance or content/facts or even just something AMAZING.

Listen to high-quality audio books during lunch or morning commute. Carry an old 120-page paperback in your back pocket to read at spare moments during the day. Read another book before bed and jot down ideas and lines you like.

From good writing comes good ideas. These are sulfur and mercury of our alchemy — the Red King and White Queen, male-female in union that gives birth to the philosopher’s stone we are seeking. Throw yourself from the lip of your alembic and dive in.

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