It is an art we all perfect. We wander through blogs, reading various posts, and then jump to facebook to poke our friends. Sometimes we peruse forums and post in threads, only to end up chatting with friends.
Then, finally, we decide it is time. To end the procrastination and start writing.
Do you ever sit with your fingers hunched over the keyboard, ideas spinning in your mind, but your fingers just hover, unable to move?
Or do you put aside all the temptations, and your fingers take off in a race to see if they can beat the fury of your racing thoughts?
Usually my fingers take off in a race, but lately, I’ve found myself ready to write, my fingers hovering, but then unable to move. It is when I hesitate with writing that procrastination eventually wins the fight, and I walk away frustrated, having added nothing to the story that day. Some may call this phenomenon the dreaded writer’s block.
What causes this? What stops the flow of words?
Sometimes I wonder if it’s events in our lives; if perhaps pain or heavy burdens can stifle our creativity, silencing our words. If this happens, how do we push past such a barrier? Or, more generally, how do we ignite the torrent of words once more?
I don’t actually have a dignified answer to this question, so I open up the comments as a place to discuss your ideas as well as my own. However, what I can do is relate how I’ve dealt with it, and my methods almost always involve tea, some instrumental music, and just typing words.
The words don’t have to be in sentences or really connected to each other; they just have to be words. Sometimes I’ll close my eyes, and just type the words, forcing my mind to focus on each word in lovely detail, and what I end up with is a stream of consciousness that describes sets of words. This amuses me, so I keep writing, playing with words, forming them into intricate sentences, until I break through the barrier and am writing freely.
So now I’m writing freely, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll freely write the novel I’m planning. So then I take the characters, gather them together, and I insert myself, the author, as an interviewer, where I ask questions of each character. In this writing exercise, I find the answers the characters give me often surprises me, and it’s incredibly amusing the results of this exercise. This invokes excitement, and so by the time I finish an “interview” with two or three characters, I’m itching to start writing the actual story.
That’s when I switch back over to my main writing project.
This method works for me every time, and it often has helped me break through the tough parts of the novel, where finding my way to the ending seems near impossible.
There’s also a set of questions you can go through and answer when it comes to characters and plots, but I find its much more entertaining to take the list of questions and form a scene, where I’m showing what it’s like to actually talk with that character face to face. Here’s a set of questions that I often use during my character interviews: Character Questions
Now, this list is just to get you started, but you don’t have to use all the questions in an interview. Also, the interview doesn’t have to take place sitting in front of each other in a room. Often, my character interviews take place with them walking around town, and the character will often turn it into a tour of the town, where I ask a few questions about the character but also ask follow up questions on what the character is showing me in our interview/tour.
Give it a try. It might turn up some interesting tidbits that could form a whole new story idea.