So much of my life was spent fighting writer’s block that I have collected a few tricks which worked for me over the years. I seldom have the problem anymore and when I do it’s short-lived, like being in a bad mood or something.
Here’s the number one best advice I can give another writer – buy The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. The book has been around for a long time. I have a copy and have given copies away to other writers and artists as gifts for years. Cameron will teach you a couple of very simple, but very powerful exercises that will clear your head and allow your creativity to flow.
Once when I was struggling, a writer friend told me to try using a kitchen timer. Here’s the deal: you wind up a timer to no more than 10 minutes, then type away for that time period; anything from gibberish to your project. After the timer goes off, you must stop and you can’t start again for 10 more minutes. Do not break this rule. You will find that after a few tries the words are flowing and you’re angry with the timer. So put it away until the next time writer’s block is holding you hostage.
Another trick that works very well for me on a novel or screenplay is listing scenes I know I want in the project on an Excel spreadsheet – but any kind of list will work. Then peruse the list each time you sit down to write and see which scene you feel like working on. This really works well for me in fitting the mood I'm in to the right scene - funny, clever, sad, light or dark. I use my mood to enhance the right scene. I get a lot more writing done when I work this way.
Similarly, if I have a strong beginning and ending, I work both ends at the same time, and then fill in the middle.
The “trick” that really isn’t has been the most powerful thing in my writing for the past couple of years. I wrote Red Mojo Mama to the Michael Buble Crazy Love CD. In fact, I wore the CD out and had to download a copy to my computer because I’m working on the sequel right now. My heroine comes out to play to this music. I don’t know why. I’ve tried other CD’s. She kinda likes Al Green, but when Michael starts belting out “There’s gonna be a heartache tonight” she’s 100% there. I don’t what will happen with my next heroine – Victoria – she may like something completely different. But I would urge you to see if you can find something musical to trigger your muse. It almost feels like a Pavlovian response – but in a good way.
That’s my personal arsenal against the eternal enemy of writers – the evil “block” monster. I hope one or more of these will help you.
NOTE: The promised YouTube social media list is almost done. Expect it next weekend.