Some writers claim to have never had writer’s block, or to have found surefire ways to overcome it. A friend once told me her guaranteed method for curing writer’s block was to say she was quitting the writing game. And the concept of writer’s block can be a really hard one to understand for people who don’t write, for whom writing is a choice rather than a compulsion. Some writers are lucky enough to be paid for their writing but with great payment comes great responsibility and they often have to work under deadline—something that’s aptly named. Depend upon it: when a writer is facing a deadline in a fortnight it concentrates the mind most wonderfully.
For those of us who aren’t being paid for our writing writer’s block can be especially painful because, even though no one’s banging down the door demanding the wit and wisdom of our lips or fingertips there’s an internal pressure to produce and while we all have our mental prunes they don’t always get things moving.
Every writer has their own tips and tricks, though. Back when typewriters were still legal a writer told me he’d get distracted by having to put in a new sheet every few minutes but overcame that by using a roll of butcher’s paper so he’d have one really long page. Some always start a new project with a mental image. Some of us fill up space by paraphrasing clichés and quotes from better writers or mixing metaphors. Some bloggers ask questions they expect readers to answer in the comments, leaving other chumps to do their work for them.
I was inspired to think about all this by this video of actors playing writers facing writer’s block. So if you’re a writer what’s your trick for getting the ball rolling into high gear?