Into every author’s life a little rain must fall. One example is that all-too familiar moment when she – or he – can’t think of a single word to put down on that smug piece of blank paper.
The condition is called writer’s block. For me, it feels as if words are trapped somewhere deep inside my skull. They race around in a mad vortex, desperate to escape but far beyond my reach. My challenge is to break them free – and give me back my sanity. (Something that helps the book would be nice, too.)
Every author has different methods for cracking writer’s block. My recipes include the following.
I usually start by getting a good night’s sleep (which is rare, when I’m doing much writing), followed by a long shower. That works well for simple problems with a book, so much so that I keep pads of paper close by.
Then there are the bigger problems, the ones that make an author pace the floor for days or seek out wise counsel. Thank God for friends; they can solve almost anything.
Bone-deep problems in a book are like an enormous Gordian knot and can’t be solved by friends in a single session. (We have far too much fun talking about other stuff; at least my friends do!)
My favorite recipe for breaking free of writer’s block is to attend a baseball game.
Time stops inside a baseball stadium. The green field could be that of 1870, 1910, or 2011. The game moves according to its own rules, not an arbitrary clock ticking away minutes and seconds. Today’s players are compared against those from decades past.
Somehow watching the men perform their rhythmic, athletic dance across that timeless, verdant field spins my mind into a creative time warp. Half of it stays to watch the game – but half sneaks off to contemplate the problem underlying my writer’s block. And abracadabra, solutions start popping up like baseball players coming to bat.
One baseball game can break me free of writer’s block – and line me up for another huge chunk of writing. Thank God for a change of scene!
What’s your favorite trick for breaking free from writer’s block?