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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Using Writing to Get Past Writer's Block

Last week I was having the worst time getting a hard chapter written.  It was slated to be a confrontational meeting that had multiple characters coming together.  Lots of sub-currents and subterfuge.  I just couldn't get started.  In hindsight it is clear that I was intimidated by the complexity.  I just wasn't sure of myself so I froze.  I stared at the blank page and my notes and NOTHING HAPPENED.

I tried a bit of blogging and a bit of twitter, but mostly it was an excuse to not face my fears.  I even used work as an excuse not to write.  Eventually I decided to take some advice from some fellow writers I had met in a local Pikes Peak Writers meeting, "Just write!"  It didn't have to be the part I was stuck on.  It didn't even have to be something that would go into this book.  It just had to be fun and fiction.  So I did.

My mind had already been wandering over the arc of the story, which will, if it gets that far, encompass three series of three books each.  I decided to hit a scene that would be in book three of the current series.  The funny part is that I didn't expect it to turn out the way it had.  It was a new character in an unexpected scenario.  In short, it was a refreshing change.

Once that scene was done my mind was cleared out and I realized that I didn't really have writer's block.  That's when I was able to see clearly enough to realize it was just old fashioned fear.  I've always found that the best way to conquer fear is to spit in its face and push ahead.  Once I identified my enemy he was toast.  So I forged ahead.

Once I started and got into the swing of things I couldn't stop.  It turned out to be one of the most fun chapters I've written yet.  Keep in mind that I haven't read it yet so it might be total rubbish, but I had fun.  I got past the fear and got a whole new boost in my writing.

The moral of this story, kids is this: Don't accept writer's block.  It is usually masking something else.  Use the very thing that you think you can't do (writing) to prove it a lie.  Once you've done that you can identify the real enemy and put it down.

Happy Writing,

W. Randell Felts

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