Writer’s block. Some writers say it’s a myth. I disagree. Of course, I also write advertising copy and video scripts. When you’re up against a deadline, and you’re tasked with 85-words about that new Ford F-150 truck or telling audiences why a gift card from the local spa makes a great gift, the fear grips you, and your mind draws a blank – then tell me writer’s block is a myth.
The good news? It’s temporary thanks to this patented trick that I, and I alone, have discovered. Bullshit. It’s a common cure.
It’s that simple. Describe a tree outside your window, the weather, a sandwich, tell me a story from your childhood, or ask a question and answer it. That last one works well if you’re assignment is ad-oriented. To wit: “Looking for a truck with best-in-class torque? The new 2022 Ford F-150 beats the Chevy Silverado…” Now eliminate the question, and you wrote an ad.
It works for short stories too. What if a dog found a dead body in the woods? Whose body is it? What’s their story? For that matter, why is the dog there? Does it know the person?
Write down the answers, and bam – you’re on your way.
Writer’s block – tell me about it. I walked into the room, a bottom floor room at a Hampton Inn in Rifle, Colorado, having no idea what I would write for a blog post. So, I just started writing what drivel came off the top of my head, and you’re reading the result. Hallelujah, stream of consciousness is your friend. Now I have choices to make. I can re-write and re-work these thoughts into something a little more polished, or I can just edit for grammar and spelling and leave my brains splattered on the page. And now we get into the nitty-gritty of writing – it’s about choices. The choices you make are what makes it your writing, your voice. Take ownership of those choices. Stream or polish? Does my character do this or that? Do I set it in London or York, or Topeka? Your writing is about choices – even word choices – whether you’re writing a story about a dog, an ad for a Ford truck, or a blog post about writing.
Take the concept about the dog finding a body in the woods. Please. Run with it. I am, and I have no fear that you’ll be plagiarizing my work because you’ll make different choices than I’ll make. That’s why copyright law focuses on the expression of the idea and not the idea itself. How many space operas are there? How many westerns with a sheriff who must face down the bad guys alone? How many stories about dogs and Ford trucks?
Our choices make the work ours, and what you call “writer’s block” is a fear of making those choices or not knowing the question that gives rise to the alternatives. So, start writing. Chances are it will be crap, but writing crap is still writing. And I’m willing to bet there will be something there.
Hey, I walked into this room not knowing what I would write, and I just kicked out 537 words.
Don’t worry. You got this.
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