So here you are again sitting in front of your computer screen, fingers poised for action and…
What do you do when the muse has left the building and all you can hear is the breeze, wafting through the roomy emptiness of your mind?
Easy. You write about the writers’ block. We have trained for this moment. You have powers of description to rival a literary superman. Just go to it and do it. If you are still struggling to form a sentence, and who doesn’t from time to time, then you need to break out the big guns.
Tell the world that you are quickly, happily, joyously, expeditiously, theoretically, honestly and finally breaking through the wall of wordlessness and you defy anyone to stop you. Trust me, any more than 40 adverbs in any one piece of writing and you will scare the most truculent subconscious into submission. If you keep writing the wall will dissolve and leave you breathless but working.
Of course if you carry the adverbage into your functional piece of prose then you need to step away from the computer and take a long hard look at yourself. What’s that all about?
I’m thinking about the writer and their subconscious.
The funny thing is that everyone has one and we pay it very little attention until it plays up. A little like the hazard warning light on the car.
Are you and your subconscious on speaking terms? If you aren’t then you will struggle to write and eventually grind to a page fearing halt.
Writer’s Block anyone?
So, how do I keep my subconscious happy?
(a) Read – Good stuff in, good stuff out.
(b) Resolve any emotional issues where possible. Forgive the guy next door for throwing the hedge clippings over the fence, forgive your mother for that awkward conversation with her best friend’s daughter, forgive yourself for Chocolate Tuesday.
I am not talking about the huge stuff that needs counselling and a 50 minute hour but life’s irritations. Just let them go. It’s not worth it.
The bird that pooped on your car is feeling better because it pooped and not worse because you are cross about it.
(c) Listen to yourself. If you are struggling to write then there may be an issue with what you are writing. Are you trying to make a character behave in a way that he/she wouldn’t.
(d) Sometimes the subconscious calls a time out because it has something else it wants to say. Leave the piece you are writing and work on a short story. Maybe write a poem or a song. When your subconscious has had its say it will let you work on your current piece.
(e) You are playing Deadline Chicken. Trust me, whichever of you blinks first it won’t be pretty.
Tell yourself that you are not writing the piece. This is not writing the piece, this is just making a list of things I would put into it if I was writing it…which I’m not.
Once you have a basic outline expand it until you have a framework. Then write a little piece for each element of the framework.
Look. Almost a piece of work but not a piece of work.
You should now be able to convince yourself that writing the copy is child’s play. It’s nearly done look.
(f) Problems pass. You won’t always struggle. Everyone struggles. Everyone has blank days and prolific days. People who succeed at writing work on the bad days and don’t sweat it.
Happy Easter to those who celebrate! A Happy Chocolate day to those who partake. It is a holy day so I am obviously going to talk to you about my religion…
There is never a bad time to learn more. Why not, list all of the words you can think of relating to Easter. You will surprise yourself.
Now find a thesaurus and learn a new one!
Q. What if I don’t like dinosaurs?
A. Dictionaries are also really useful
The creators of National Novel Writing Month have spread their craziness to the Spring. Now you can get witty with a word count during April and again I think in July. The joy of camp as opposed to November Nano is the self imposed word limit. Anything from 100 words to 100,000.
Actually I think the limit is 999,999 but no one who wishes to remain sane tries that in a month! Check out the Nanowrimo website or google Camp Nanowrimo and jump in. The water’s lovely.
For a lesson in how to cultivate the joy of writing, you can do no better than view the lectures available on YouTube by the late great Ray Bradbury. If you ever wondered how to tap into your subconscious mind take a tip and listen to the best.