// March 1st, 2017 // On Writing

Sigh… Writer’s Block

There was a screenwriting instructor in the UCLA Writer’s Program that stated, “There’s no such thing as Writer’s Block”.

I have pissed off many writers by declaring the same exact sentiment.

Why?

Because there isn’t such a thing.

The definition of Writer’s Block according to Wikipedia is:

Writer’s block is a condition, primarily associated with writing as a profession, in which an author loses the ability to produce new work. The condition varies widely in intensity. It can be trivial, a temporary difficulty in dealing with the task at hand.

I can see where you’re coming from. Seriously.

You are blocked and cannot produce more work.

But here’s the deal, as I like to say, just write.

Like today for instance.

I complained, jokingly, that I had tweeter’s block. Seriously. I didn’t know what to tweet. I didn’t have anything to tweet. But I tweeted anyway. The philosopy was to ‘just tweet’.

Thanks to social media, Writer’s may, in fact, have other forms of ‘blocks’. From Facebook Status updates, to Tweets via Twitter feed… and we got it tougher now trying to maintain a 140 character limit due to the limitations of SMS.

Sometimes you’re stuck – sometimes you’re in a rut. But being blocked: well, easy prescription – just write.

You are not incapable of writing. But you may have a block in your story, or just cannot come up with that new idea that readers (or your editor) finds compelling and are willing to read.

That being said – you still can write. And as medicine cures an ailment, writing cures the block.

Where Charlie Brown had Snoopy – you have words that can come from an email, a tweet, status update, text to a friend or something I’m doing now… blogging.

I felt like there wasn’t even a tweet left in me. The subect form my blog post was non-existant. I didn’t have one… then I started to write.

It’ has nothing to do with the book I am writing (which started with note cards a few weeks ag0), but it can lead to a plethoria of ideas as I ramble on and on about writing.

Here’s a little exercise that you can try called 20 in 20.

It’s one of those pesonal defelopment slash writer tools that you can do every day to keep your brain sharp, and to brainstorm a list of 20 ideas in 20 seconds.

Yup – 20 seconds.

The idea is to simply write 20 ideas! A quick list that has to do with – nothing.

Words, phrases, thoughts, things to do, objects on your desk, just anything.

Keep a journal of 20 in 20 – and if you’re ever stuck – ‘writer’s block’ – review your lists upon lists of 20 in 20 and something may trigger a sentence, that leads to a paragraph, that leads to pages of words you would have never written if you didn’t spend 20 seconds on your list.

Here’s a go at it right off the bat.

OK… setting my stop watch for 20 seconds…

Go.

Life
Exercise
Dice
Pens
Telephone
Hunger
Traffic
Drive
Love
Hate

I got through 10 in 20 seconds.

Now, keep going – and get a total of 20 down as fast as you can.

The first game is to try and beat 20 seconds. The second, part is just to finish your list with ANYTHING!

So here’s my next 10…

Go for a run
Fix my tire
Eat
Sleep
Bathe
Punch
Keys
Coffee
Drunk
Vodka

Done.

What can this help you do?

Anything!

Take each word, start a paragraph with each word and do some free form writing. The words aren’t really there for any writing purpose – but you can use them. The exercise is only meant to work your brain!

If you’re there struggling – trying to think – you’re defeating the purpose. Don’t think – just list words. If you are desperate, write down things you need to do for the day. Look at objects on your desk and list those out. Even if you did that yesterday! If that’s what’s happening, add objects to your desk every day!

Do it every day and exercise your brain – like pulling rabbits out of your hat – just keep pulling them out.

Two exercises…

Spend 20 seconds to a minute doing your 20 in 20…

Now… Look at the picture below…

Here’s an exercise for you- look at the picture of Charlie Brown and Snoopy below… Write down 10 things Charlie is thinking about… then write down 10 things Snoopy is thinking about.

I’ll write my list below – but do yours first!

If you had writer’s block… you just did something about it!


Charlie is thinking about:
1. The little red head girl
2. Eating lunch with the little red head girl
3. Thanksgiving dinner
4. Christmas Time
5. Summer Vacation
6. Why Linus carries a blanket
7. Why Snoopy is so loyal
8. Sally
9. A spelling test
10. Talking to the little red head girl.

Snoopy is thinking about
1. Making money
2. Sleeping
3. Going on a lavish vacation
4. Licking Lucy
5. Running Free
6. Howling at the moon
7. The winter snow
8. Eating Biscuits
9. Playing with Woodstock
10. Following Sally around town

Sigh…

I love Charlie Brown… :)

 

 

 

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