Monday, August 2, 2010

Writers' Block Is A B*tch! What I Learned in My Search to Cure Myself



"If I waited for perfection, I would never write a word."
(Margaret Atwood)

And I haven't. I have a dirty little secret. I've been calling myself a screenwriter, BUT I haven't written anything of significance for the screen in over a month. Motivation and inspiration are in short supply these days and I'm trying to break the cycle. So since the first step is admitting that you have a problem, I will confess to you and the whole internet (or the three people who will actually read this) that I have been blocked. Seriously, like effing boulders in my blasted brain.

There are many reasons that writers get blocked. For me, I think it's the fear of writing badly. Some writers can happily write what is a called a "vomit draft." Whilst I HAVE to fix things before I move on. It's almost an obsession. So I get stuck on figuring out a scene or a even just a moment in a script. Instead of coming back to it or writing something else, I wallow in self-loathing because I can't figure out this one little part. Consequently, I do not move on. This is very counterproductive and it leads to writers' block every freakin' time. So sit on my knee kids, as I tell you about some techniques that I came across in my desperate attempt to cure my writers' block. Hopefully, they will be useful to you as well.


One of my favorite professors ever, Malia Scotch-Marmo, once recommended a book to me called Write by Karen Peterson. In it, Dr. Peterson enumerates the many reasons that writers are blocked. We often think we don't have anything to say or rather too much to say. We feel overwhelmed that we don't have enough time or hate the process of revision. To move past block, she suggests different exercises to get the creative juices flowing. Writing with the non-dominant hand can activate the part of our brain that learns new activities and thus can spark inspiration. She also suggests short bursts of work with rewards for completion, thus satisfying our need for instant gratification. There's much more. So if you wanna read more, the used version of the book is like 3 bucks on Amazon.

My brilliant friend Kat recently posted a blog entry called FIRST THINGS FIRST: MAKING CREATIVITY YOUR PRIORITY It's about making a commitment to creativity. I found it extremely helpful. You should check it out. Serious knowledge dropped from a seriously disciplined lady.

I also came across an article by Martha Beck in O Magazine (Oprah haters, sit down:). She talks about how to activate the right, more creative side of the brain. Some of the things she does are a little weird, but I like the idea of reading short bits of several different books to spark ideas. It actually worked for me once.

So help a sister out! I'm struggling. Do you scribes out there have any tricks that you use when you are blocked? Post below, if you please.
Arts

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