Last year I imagined the next profession in the creative world: writing therapists. Such a qualified professional would hear your writing block woes and counsel you to overcome your neuroses so you can get back to your writerly schizophrenia (hearing voices in your head and writing them down), multiple personality disorder (they’re not imaginary friends; they’re characters), and bipolar disorder (exposing yourself to the entire gamut of human emotional responses so you cry when your character cries).
For those writers facing the dreaded writer’s block, they may at first feel like paranoid hypochondriacs. This is one writing disease the Doc should help you avoid. Patients with this disorder, like me, feel like that if they’re not creating, something is wrong with them. They latch onto a new excuse a week. How do you get over it?
By accepting that nothing is wrong with you. Or your writing.
Stephen J. Cannell said in a bonus feature for the Castle TV show Season 1 DVD: “YOu know what causes writer’s block – the desire to be perfect.” In other words, get over yourself. To me, it makes sense. The pressure to be awesome all the time, the pressure to have the words work, the pressure to be better than that 16-year-old who got on the Today show – it all compounds in your brain and blocks the impulse to get scenes out of your head and through your fingers.
So, I will sit at my laptop and start my self-prescribed Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. When I write, I will tell myself: I desire to write. I desire to create. I desire to make a mess and not care. I can always clean it up later. I desire to be imperfect, because it is the “flaws and quirks that are more interesting.” (another Castle DVD quote).
How have you overcome writing blocks?
2 thoughts on “The Doctor Will See You Now”
I find my ‘writer’s block’ comes from two sources: fear and laziness. You mentioned the fear but often, if I’m honest (and who isn’t online?) I’m just a lazy bastard who’d rather watch Castle than write my own books.
I have to put down my remote, pick up my libation, and head off to my little corner. Like a good dunce.
Then sit there. And stare. It’s me and a blank screen. Who is asking the questions? Who is answering?
Similar to other of Life’s moments, cliches come in handy.
Nevermind the Bollocks, kick the cat, smell the coffee, beat the meat, threaten the children, don the sock (or is it darn?) and Just Write. After I’ve finished covering the page with literary vomit I read for any chunks worth eating and– rarely finding any–hit backspace. Hold it. Hold it. Presto, new page.
Then Just Write, again.
That’s what I do. For what it’s worth.
I like your style, John. It’s a good tip.