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Are YOU the Writer’s Block? With Donna Cummings
Posted By Carrie Spencer On June 6, 2014 @ 12:01 am In Motivation | 16 Comments
Welcome back Donna Cummings! Today Donna is going to teach us how we are our own biggest block to writing! True!
Writer’s block is a terrible sort of virus. It’s quite preventable, but since a writer is required to imagine the worst possible scenarios as part of their job description–you can see how it doesn’t take long before a teeny bit of doubt multiplies until it reaches epidemic proportions.
Next thing you know, it’s impossible to perform any of the basic word-related functions other humans take for granted. You start to wonder if you used “the” too many times in a paragraph. You despair of writing anything but the book that will cause the earth to tilt on its axis–from all the e-reader devices being hurled in disgust.
It’s no wonder a writer procrastinates by visiting every single website and pinning all of them to their Pinterest boards. (*cough* Well, just the things that relate to the boards I’ve created for my books. Oh, and the 14 zillion funnies I pinned to “Things That Make Me Laugh”.)
This is the moment when I’m forced to admit that *I* am the writer’s block. I’m the immovable object getting in the way of the words I’m trying to write. I’m surprised my stories don’t flip me off and hightail it out of here. Fortunately, they continue their compassionate, long-suffering ways, because they have seen evidence of my ability to write down words, and chapters, and entire books.
Today I’m here to share a few thoughts to help you blast through the block and regain your writing momentum.
The Idea Miser
I just had to dump out most of a half gallon of milk because it was sour. I thought I was being frugal, trying to make the milk last longer, only I was really being miserly, which meant I ended up wasting the very stuff I was trying to conserve.
This happens all the time with writing. We get an awesome idea for a scene and it makes us all jittery with excitement, but then the awesomeness starts to scare us a little. What if we can’t do it justice? So we tell ourselves, “I better save this for an even better book, when I’ve developed some real mad skills.”
Here’s another miserly rationale: we try to hoard great ideas because we believe we’ll never have any more of them. Assuming that’s true (which it’s not), it’s the best argument for using the great idea NOW instead of letting it go to waste.
Don’t Scrooge yourself out of these great ideas. Use them up instead of pouring them down the drain and causing a big ole writer’s-block-sized clog. And for heaven’s sake, don’t be. . .
This is one of the worst of the blocking mechanisms. Our brain continually coughs up ideas, but we tend to toss most of them into the waste bin. “That’s outlandish”, we’ll say, unable to see how it’s outlandish only because it’s new and fresh and we’re trying to make it fit into the current genre parameters. We conveniently forget that today’s guidelines, the ones we’re using as a measuring stick, were once the outlandish ideas–except they weren’t discarded.
For example, sparkly vampires were never part of the mythos. . . at first. Now that glittery guy has sparked a cult following and secured a brightly shimmering financial future for the author. Maybe your outlandish idea will end up being outrageous. But isn’t it better to discover that after you’ve taken it out for a test drive?
It’s also possible that the nutjob notion will send shockwaves through your brain so it will deliver the actual winning idea. So go on. Quit blocking progress and let the crazies out to play. They hate writer’s block even more than you do. And, no matter what, don’t ever be. . .
The “My Way or the Highway” Boss
Some writers fantasize that they’re the boss, viewing their characters as minions who should instantly leap to do their bidding. When they don’t, well, it’s easy to crowbar them into this spot we created for them. Hmm. Why aren’t they talking now? They sure were keeping up the chatter when it was lights out last night.
If we want our characters to be living, breathing people, we have to treat them that way. They know they wouldn’t say or do some of the things you’re insisting on. Or maybe you’ve put them in a foreign land that doesn’t make sense to them, so they don’t know what to do or say.
The best kind of boss has faith that you know how to do your job and lets you do it. When you make a misstep, they’re there to lend a helping hand. That’s the kind of boss you want to be when it comes to your characters. That whole “my way or the highway” thing? The characters have no qualms about hitting the road, Jack. You can eventually coax them back, because they know their story won’t get told without you. But it’ll take some major trust rebuilding, which slows down the word count, not to mention your forward progress.
So don’t be a writer’s roadblock. Strive to be a boss your characters will brag about, and you’ll be overflowing with all kinds of story ideas. Maybe even more than you can handle.
These are just a few thoughts on discovering if you’re the writer’s block, and how to get out of the way so the story can get written. Feel free to share some more ideas!
Ok, ‘fess up. Which kind of writer’s block are YOU?
Join us on Monday for author Terri Austin!
Bio: I have worked as an attorney, winery tasting room manager, and retail business owner, but nothing beats the thrill of writing humorously-ever-after romances.
I reside in New England, although I fantasize about spending the rest of my days in a tropical locale, wearing flip flops year-round, or in Regency London, scandalizing the ton.
I can usually be found on Twitter, talking about writing and coffee, and on Facebook, talking about coffee and writing.
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 Writerspeak by Donna Cummings: http://romanceuniversity.org/2015/03/27/writerspeak-by-donna-cummings/
 Outsmarting Your Brain with Donna Cummings: http://romanceuniversity.org/2014/12/15/outsmarting-your-brain-with-donna-cummings/
 Handsome Hansel – Motivate Motivate Motivate: http://romanceuniversity.org/2014/06/04/handsome-hansel-motivate-motivate-motivate/
 Can I Have 15 Minutes of Your Time? Donna Cummings: http://romanceuniversity.org/2014/04/07/can-i-have-15-minutes-of-your-time-donna-cummings/
 How to Get Past Writers Block by Larry Bjornson: http://romanceuniversity.org/2012/06/29/how-to-get-past-writers-block-by-larry-bjornson/
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