Writers are very special people. We are so special that we have to have our own special terms instead of using the ones everyone else uses. For example, what everyone else calls procrastination is what a writer would term Writer’s Block. And because writers are so special, their procrastination isn’t just a time suck, it is THE WORST THING EVA!!!
Terrible Writing Advice has a terrific video to help understand this affliction.
Suffer no more.
Okay, so today I was going to dedicate a post to The Doctor and the 50 year thing, but I got side tracked with watching old episodes and this wonderful video. So instead I’m posting this interesting take on Writer’s Block by Amanda Patterson from Writers Write (original here). As per usual, my comments are in blue.
If you write one page a day you will complete a 365-page novel in a year. TA: Or 500 words a day is 182,500 words or two novels (one if you are writing fantasy, or got carried away).
You are crippling yourself by not starting to write. If it seems an overwhelming task to write a whole book, start with an opening paragraph, then a page, then a chapter. Your first sentence is the first step to being published. TA: Remember, you don’t have to start at the beginning, you can just write down the ideas you’ve had, then link them, or turn the ideas into proper sentences and paragraphs.
Most people who want to write have the belief in their creative success systematically driven out of them – by the business world, by their family, their ‘friends’ and their life experiences. TA: But don’t worry, they’ll be the first ones queuing up for a free copy of your book when it’s published. Tell them you’re busy!
If you were told you were going to die tomorrow, would you regret not having written? TA: Always good to write down the list of people trying to kill you, helps the cops no end.
These are the five most common excuses we hear at Writers Write.
You can have your book or you can have your excuses. You can’t have both. !!!
All of the above are obviously important but don’t fool yourself, writers write; pretenders to the throne make excuses. The reasons for not writing are laziness and lack of self-discipline. TA: Losers always whine about their best. Winners go home and fuck the prom queen.
Do you really want to become a writer?
Writing is lonely. Writing is hard work. Writing is discipline. There is no quick fix and there is no one to applaud or to criticize you. You will be your own boss and you will have to motivate and reward yourself. And after all of this you will face the possibility of rejection – the dedicated writer will not stop here.
Remember: You have permission to write badly. (In your first drafts, of course TA: or if your name is Stephanie Meyer or EL James, all your drafts and finished work are written badly)
There is no worse disease for a writer than writer’s block. I’d also say that writer’s block is terrible for readers too, uninspired prose is what we expect from policy and political people, not our entertainment. I’m a fan of Stephen King’s writing advice: set a daily word goal and stay at it until you reach the goal. There is something about daily writing and forcing yourself to write that seems to make things flow.
But Tyson, I hear you say, I’m stuck with no ideas for what to write next. Luckily I was procrastinating whilst writing the other day and came up with a definitive fail safe for each major genre. Any additions are welcome in the comments.
When writer’s block strikes kill someone or blow something up.
When writer’s block strikes describe the main character getting drunk and wallowing in self pity.
When writer’s block strikes introduce a red herring.
When writer’s block strikes introduce new character with rock hard abs.
When writer’s block strikes describe a tree in intimate detail.
When writer’s block strikes have a talking dragon appear, or have the characters go on a long walk somewhere.
When writer’s block strikes cut and paste physics article from Wikipedia into your novel.
When writer’s block strikes cut and paste autopsy reports into your novel.
If you already have vampires, ghosts and werewolves in your novel, introduce ninjas and pirates as characters.
If you are really stuck after all of these ideas, then there is no novel in existence that can’t/couldn’t be improved by the addition of pirates and/or ninjas.