I'm reading William Goldman's supposed adapted book version of The Princess Bride, and I'm really enjoying it. Every so often (but not so often as to be annoying), he breaks in with his author persona and explains why he removed S. Morgenstern's original text. For a reader and an author, it's an enjoyable read.
And as someone who loves the movie (Goldman wrote the screenplay for the movie as well), I'm in awe at how well the movie captured the characters in the book. I can't imagine a better Wesley or Humperdink (even though Chris Sarandon is more handsome than what Morgenstern conveyed).
So, I'm working on my own fiction projects, and I've gotten stuck a few times. And I think, "Is there really such a thing as writer's block?" I work through it fairly quickly, and so I'm thinking that, really, it doesn't exist.
Read on and see what you think. Does writer's block exist? Maybe just in the fire swamp of our brains?
As I worked on my short story earlier this week, I reached a point where I didn't know where to go next. It was pretty early in my writing day, and I really didn't want to have to deal with failure this early. I hadn't even had a cup of Earl Grey yet to smooth things over.
I wasn't going to let my first foray into writing for the week stop me that quickly. Since I teach writing strategies just for this very situation, I decided to take my own advice. I opened up my mind mapping software and started graphing the various directions I could go with the next scene in the story. I quickly figured out where I did NOT want to go, and then it was pretty clear where I should go.
Off I went to write.
We almost always get to a place where we get a little stuck. We might need to re-group and step back a little. It doesn’t mean that we’re doing something wrong, or (our real fear) that we're not real writers. We just need to step back.
It's all part of the process. Writing doesn't always look like a finished product. Sometimes writing looks like staring out the window or taking pages of notes or writing down question after question that we're trying to answer in the writing piece. Sometimes writing is about getting clear about what we're doing, what we're trying to accomplish, what our message is...
To get back on track, follow these tips:
- Remember your purpose: What are you trying to do?
- Remember your audience: Information will change based on who you’re writing for.
- What does your audience need to know about a particular topic? And what do they WANT to know. These items can be different.
- How does your book, article, eBook, or whatever help your audience? What problem does it solve? What will the audience be able to do after reading what you've written?
When you get stuck, go back to the basics. Embrace what you're trying to do in the first place. Tap into your purpose. More importantly, step into your clarity and let that fill you up.
Look at being stuck a little differently - what if you had fun in the process? You're creating something near and dear to your heart, whether it's a book on financial health for couples or a short story. Embrace and honor the playful nature of your creativity. It should be a joyous process. Use programs, strategies, or ideas to jolt your creativity.
Know that when you do embrace the creative process, you are connecting to something deep within you. That will be attractive to your readers or whoever your audience happens to be. That is what we’re all trying to do whether it’s writing fiction, nonfiction, an e book – we all need to connect with our audience. The best way to do that is if we are expressing our inner authentic self.
Play. Create. And forget about stuck. I really don't think it exists.