Thursday, March 29, 2012

When it Rains it Pores, no Poors, no POURS or Herein We Slay The Mythical Creature Called Writer's Block

This is one of those weeks, the kind of week where the number of hours in the day and the amount of work that needs to be completed don't match up- as in, er, I got a buncha stuff to do and no time.

I don't even know where to go with the post today so I'm going to take a minute to talk about writer's block and SEX and 1000 elephants. No, actually I'm just going to write about writer's block, but I hate it when people stop reading just because I'm talking about writing.

So there are many opinions about writer's block- much like assholes, every writer has one. I understand that some readers will be offended (probably not the Russian spammers, dang it) especially if you use writer's block as a crutch.   I only speak for myself as a person who, in the past, has used her share of crutches. You, of course, may believe whatever suits. When you're ready carebear, when you're ready.

Writer's block is not a real thing- not for a professional writer; it can't be because people don't pay us if we don't produce anything. Any damned word is better than no word. Once you start writing words you are fine. Artistic angst has its place but you're not entitled to this type of angst until you've created some art. Sorry but there it is. Writers write. Blocked writers feel really bad and share their pain with an uncaring world.

Let me make something clear just in case I was a little wiggly about it before. ADHD is a real thing. Boredom is a real thing. Reluctance to do such a silly job is a real thing. Lack of skill (another post) is a real thing but writer's block is a myth.

Writer's reluctance is not a myth.There is nothing, not a thing in the world, more daunting than a great idea and a blank page. As soon as you, the writer, sully the blank page (screen, whatever- let's call it the writee, um, actually scratch that. Let's just stick with page) with dirty sticky words you have shaped that idea. The idea has left your head and has a shape of its own. The more you write the more animated this idea becomes. Before you know it the idea   is a wild animal that you need to nurture and tame then tear apart and remake. What kind of work is that for an educated person? Reluctance is the intelligent choice.

I think this is why so many writers drink. It relaxes the writer and releases inhibitions. Those writers who don't drink are probably just straight up nuts and/or exceptionally confident. I don't drink and I'm not very confident.

Everyone, well at least three out of three and a half people, that I meet believe that they are going to commit their best great idea to the daunting blank page. Half out of three and a half people that I meet actually sit down and bang out the first 20 pages. About half of that half goes on to finish their first book. Half of those people try to find an editor or agent <or> they clean it up a bit and indie publish. It gets a little sketchy when you get into these kinds of percentages. So we've weeded out the sane and wishy washy people. The odds seem good, right? Yegods and gadzooks! Do you have any idea how many determined drunk and/or crazy  people exist in the US alone? 

Oh writer's block. Yeah, just write. And write. And write. This isn't a job for the weak. This is a job for the rare (though slightly less rare than they should be in my humble opinion) person with a great idea and an amazing amount of determination. If it's a hobby, super. It's a great hobby. 

If you allow yourself to let go of your idea and just write whatever comes out you have the power to tame whatever shape your idea takes. Write something. It will probably sound like the autobiography of a four year old otter. Who cares? A book is one letter strung to another letter that magically lines up into words and sentences and paragraphs etc. Don't let the blank page get to you. So what if you suck? Join the club. You just keep writing until you have what feels like a story. Then you hone your craft and learn about stuff like outlines, plot formation, grammar, readability,  synopses, carpal tunnel...

Write until you can't write anymore. Eventually something you write *will not suck*! That, blogpeople, is the best feeling in the world.