I spent this morning with a student writer with a wonderful story. Fitted with cochlear implants around twenty years ago, she and 7 of her 9 sibs, plus two of her own children all have dealt with a genetic form of profound hearing loss. She’s hired me to help her write a memoir about her experiences, but her biggest problem so far hasn’t been hearing loss. It’s the writing. I’ve never suffered writer’s block, but I can understand the fear of putting down something much bigger than you are. What to do when block stands in your writing way?
Writing Tip for Today: I’m amazed at how many books and workshops deal with writer’s block, but I’m also convinced it’s based in fear. Fear of failure. Fear of pain. Fear you won’t write it as well as you imagine it. My advice is always the same. Write anyway. Pretend everyone thinks your words are worth gold. Write as if nobody’s watching. Whatever you need to do to produce words–short of drinking yourself into oblivion–do that. Overcoming the fear of writing is hard, but if you convince yourself that nothing horrible is going to happen if you write, you might take that first step. To help overcome writer’s block, try these tricks:
- Remind yourself you have something to say.
- Give yourself a word count goal and aim for that goal–no matter how good or not so good those words may be.
- Write as if you have a short time to live.
- Write longhand, shorthand or dictate words into a recorder.
- Write the way you’d tell your story to a stranger–no assumptions.
- Remember that words are like Doritos: you can always make more.
- After you write, tear into a bag of real Doritos and some good salsa or guacamole. Reward!
Try This! What’s your favorite method for breaking a fit of writer’s block?