Easter last week was grand, and Monday was pretty good. But then Tuesday gave me both barrels. The sudden loss of a friend coupled with the loss of quite a lot of work within about three hours, and it’s been kind of rough going since. Needless to say, it’s been hard to sit down and write, even though that’s kind of my best catharsis. (Other than, perhaps, kneading bread. Boy, sometimes it really helps to just beat the snot out of a helpless lump of dough and then stuff my face with its lifeless remains two hours later. Hmm… that actually sounds pretty good right now.) But anyway!
Writer’s block. Gr… I always find it vaguely offensive whenever it strikes. (Which, I admit, is a little silly. It’s like getting offended when I have to clip my fingernails. ‘What? You dare imply that I’m human?!’) But strike it does and I have to get over it as quickly as possible. I am a WrAHM (‘Write At Home Mom’- thanks to Gennifer Albin, author of Crewel, for the awesome acronym!) with two small children and a little pal, and so writing time is at a premium. Generally, it only happens at nap-time. (Any of you following me on Twitter may notice that I pretty much only tweet between the hours of two and five AK time.) So if I don’t feel like writing at a particular moment, I’m not going to be able to do it at all for the day. (Nap-time also has to be parceled out between housekeeping, dinner prep, and anything I do over at Susurrations, my artsy blog.) So it is imperative for my forward progress to be able to knock out writer’s block fast.
The trouble is, I suck at knocking out writer’s block fast. But! I have buddies who are in the know. And so I have spent the last week testing out various writer’s block busters. It started on Wednesday. I was whining to my writing pal about my awful day before and she suggested that I try conducting an interview with one of my characters. It seemed a little silly, but I rather thrive on somewhat silly and rapidly produced an exceedingly silly interview with a supporting character: Interview with the Willow.
And it worked like a snap! Suddenly, I was back in my world, ready to roll. But the next day as I sat down to write more, I again felt a little meh on the writing. I considered doing another interview, but then thought of something a teacher had suggested to me way back in high school: jumping jacks. I obligingly hopped around the house as quietly as I could and voila! the words came. Magical, right? Kind of makes you wonder what else is out there.
A few others that have worked with varying levels of success:
Go somewhere new to write. The thought being that going to a new place will invigorate your imagination, I guess. So I tried it, heading over to my local Barnes and Nobles to sit by their REALLY crowded fireplace and listen to teenagers talking about cage fighting. The end result of that? Very little writing, but I did get hit on by a guy with nunchucks who regretted that I was married. So… win? Maybe? Hm. Jury’s out on that one.
Set deadlines. This one doesn’t work so well for me. Kids wake up randomly. Dinner takes up more time than usual. I assign myself awful punishments and insufficient rewards, leading me to dread the writing experience rather than look forward to it. (Less ‘What ho! A challenge!’ and more ‘Noo! It burns usssss!’)
Have multiple projects at the same time. This is my lifeline. I rarely have just one thing going on (which may be why it takes me forever to finish anything), but it’s always easier for me to just hop over to another project for a little while and then pop on back when I get tired of that one. For the day to day, ho-hum what-shall-I-write-today sort of writer’s block, this one never fails. Not quite so good for the days when I don’t want to write anything at all, but still a keeper.
Enact Doomsday Device. And if you’re really needing to just pound out any words at all (read: you’re working on a NaNoWriMo book) there’s always Write or Die, the somewhat terrifying, somewhat funny program that forces you to write in order to avoid triggering varying levels of nasty punishment. (Putting the ‘prod’ in productivity!)
Those are the ones that I’ve tried personally, some more effectively than others. But I’m always in the market for more! What are your go-to block busters? How do you get yourself writing, even when you don’t feel like it?