March 30, 2022 - Writer's Block

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

There was a time when I believed in this. Back when I first seriously started on my path to be a writer, I remember endless conversations in writer and critique groups about writer’s block. There was one person in a group I attended who moaned about being blocked for a year. They hadn’t written anything for twelve months. There were many sympathetic comments, the most intelligent of which was something like “Tsk. Tsk.” While all this was going on, I was wondering why in the world did they continue to come to a writers group if they weren’t writing?

Back before I knew better, I might have called what’s been going on with me this week writer’s block. I was struggling to come up with something—anything—to get me started on The Case of the Pirate’s Puzzle again. Mid-morning, when I could no longer find any notes on concepts and plot points I wanted to include in this book, I knew I was procrastinating. I didn’t need to do more research or planning or reviewing. I needed to start writing. Because, as John Rogers (who is the creator of Leverage and The Librarians, among other things) said:

You can’t think yourself out of a writing block; you have to write yourself out of a thinking block.

I knew I was at that point this morning. I knew that the only way I’d get going on the story again was to start writing, even if what I wrote wasn’t very good. Even if I had no idea where the new scene was going. All I had to do, as Dean Wesley Smith says, was write the next sentence. Because anyone can write one sentence, even if they’re “blocked.” And when you’ve finished that one, Write the next sentence. Lather, rinse, repeat. By the time you’ve written four or five sentences, your brain is on autopilot, and you usually don’t have time to think about writer’s block.

Even so, it probably took me another thirty minutes before I created a new document and started typing. And, by the time I quit writing for the day, I had 1833 words of the 1500 I’d set as a goal. Not bad for being “blocked.”

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A Clash of Kings
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