What NOT to do.

Here are some techniques you may have already tried to get over your writer's block. You've probably noticed that they don't work very well, but you may be thinking they would work if only you were more diligent about them. Let me reassure you -- if these techniques don't work for you, it's because they don't work. In fact, if you want to insure you won't be writing again any time soon, here are 4 sure fire ways to go about it:


Call yourself names, tell yourself what a lazy slob you are for not writing, measure yourself against the successes of others, diminish your accomplishments, remind yourself of every missed opportunity -- after all, anything less firm would be self-indulgence, right?

My own experience of this kind of self-abuse is that it is nothing short of crippling and serves no purpose except to make you feel bad about not writing. As if you didn't feel bad enough about not writing. Imagine heaping that kind of cruelty on someone else in order to get them to work. How successful do you think that would be? And how much would they resent, hate and loathe every minute under your authority?

So why do you think you should respond to beating yourself up by becoming more enthusiastic and committed to your work?

Of course the other end of the spectrum is to abandon the idea of a writing career entirely. Obviously you weren't cut out to be a writer. After all, real writers WRITE -- they don't sit around and stare at blank, pulsating computer screens without being able to produce a single, usable sentence. Right?

Now it is possible that you actually don't want to be a writer, and that is just fine. It's a personal decision and a valid one, and one to come to after much thought and consideration. It doesn't often take, though -- like any addict will tell you: it's easy to quit; I've done it lots of times -- and it certainly won't help you get over writer's block.

It's starts out harmlessly -- a little playing with numbers. If I could write 400 words a day, 5 days a week, I could finish a 100,000 word novel in -- let's see -- 40 weeks, which is 10 months. And 400 words really isn't very much, so if I pushed it a little I could write maybe twice that amount, which would be 800 words a day, for 5 days a week or 4000 words a week, which would give me my novel in -- wow, only 5 months. That means I could write two novels a year and still have summers off to practice neurosurgery!

The only problem is that it doesn't take very much for a seemingly reasonable goal (400 words a day, 5 days a week) to become an something utterly insane -- with the kicker being that you rationalize as you go, so even though objectively you might be able to see that the new goal is absurd, there is still an inner voice that says you should be able to accomplish it. And of course, the stricter and more rigorous the schedule, the greater potential there is to screw up -- miss a day -- and suffer the ego blow that comes with failure

Another soul destroyer. As bad as not writing makes writers feel, there's a great motivation to make all the suffering have been worthwhile by producing from it a piece of work so elegant, so insightful, so brilliantly funny yet utterly tragic it gives meaning to all the pain.

Of course, after all this time incubating, nothing less than God's own perfect tale will do. All you have to do is sit down and write it. And when you can't -- since last time I read the rules, those pieces don't just come out on demand -- you are plunged back down into being useless again, totally trapped in your writingless existence, with no way out but that one tiny, perfect pinhole that you just can't see.

Of course all this is not to say that there is NOTHING you can do about writer's block that won't backfire. For some suggestions of what might help instead of hinder, move on to the page of "things that might help."


m a i n  m e n u / m y  o w n  p a g e