Conditions pertinent to writer’s block, which I prefer to call being stuck:
You are writing something, or many things, and are dissatisfied with what you’re doing.
You want to write and can’t get going.
You don’t want to write but think you should.
You want to write and don’t want to write at the same time. (You hate yourself.)
- Buy a book called Writing the Natural Way and learn how to “web.” Fool around with it. Break the linearity of your thinking and let the swirling fragments in the back of your mind come to the surface and take you over. (Surrendering is a better way of writing than conquering.)
- If you can read another language, do so.
- Tell yourself you won’t write another word for a week. See how long that lasts. (It won’t last a week.)
- Fixate on a character or a setting and seek its voice. Hear the way the person or the city block or the forest speaks to you. Tone, rhythm, and diction matter.
- Read out loud the worst thing you’ve recently written. Go ahead and beat yourself up about it. Get mad.
- Be willing to scratch out, delete, or throw away large chunks of drivel.
- Revise by cutting; don’t be afraid to attribute thoughts or comments initially associated with one character to another; find your lead sentence which you’ve buried toward the end of a paragraph because it took you that long to get it out; put the lead sentence where it belongs, up front, and write a new paragraph from there.
- Do not be afraid to jilt your old way of writing for something new and stop worrying about whether people close to you think you are a turncoat or a hypocrite. People close to writers (including yourself) don't count; the writing counts
- Exercise to the point of exhaustion, wake up tired, eat a good breakfast, and feel the energy move your pen all over the place. Let this happen without constraint; it’s something I call “white water drafting.” The paper is the water, the pen is the kayak; your job is to get on top of the power that is surging up at you and nothing more.
- Don’t expect every list of ten great suggestions to conclude with a wonderful tenth suggestion. You are the tenth suggestion. Figure out who you are, and everything’s going to be just fine.
Causes Robert Earle Supports
World Wildlife Fund