What I Do When I Should Be Writing
Or: How I Conquer Writer's Block
by Margay Leah Justice
It happens to the best of us. Sometime, somewhere along the way, we run head-long into that brick wall of frustration called Writer's Block. It's not our fault, really. It's not like we're bad drivers who jumped the curb and hit the wall. Oh, no, the wall hit US. Trust me, there's a difference. If you're a writer, you know exactly what I'm talking about. If you're not, well maybe this applies to some other faction of your life. Work problems, family issues? Somewhere in your life, there inevitably comes a time when you're faced with a tough decision and your mind goes blank, hiding the answers from you. That's The Block.
So what do you do when The Block strikes you? Curl up in a fetal ball and cry for your mother? (Believe me, I've been tempted.) Scream your frustrations to the heavens? (Okay, so maybe I've done that. Once. Or twice. Okay, more than that - stop pressuring me!) Or do you just throw in the towel and say the heck with it? Well, before you do that last one, let me share with you some of the things I do to fight The Block. So, without further ado, here are...
Things I Do When I Should Be Writing:
1. I knit. Okay, who among you is really surprised by that revelation? If you've kept up with my posts on this blog, you already know that I have a passion for knitting, so is it really any surprise that I knit when The Block hits? Not only is knitting fun, creative, and therapeutic, it has a way of clearing the clutter from the brain. You wouldn't believe how many plot points I've resolved while knitting.
2. I play Mah jongg. This is the only computer game I play with frequency. I don't know what it is about this game, I just love it. Forget Bejewelled Blitz, Angry Birds, or Farmville - they hold no interest for me. Mah jongg is my game. When I play games, which I don't do very often because I have other things I should be doing. What were they again? Oh, yeah, writing, writing, and more writing. Like knitting, you wouldn't believe how many plot points I've worked out over a game of Mah jongg.
3. I plot. Yeah, it seems counter-intuitive, I know, but let me explain. When I have issues with the current story I'm working on, I work on the plot for the next one. Often, that frees up the mind and allows me to work through the other problem.
4. I read. There's nothing like a good book to inspire you to get off your butt and break through The Block. That is all.
5. I watch a good movie. You have no idea how many times I've come up with my own stories by watching a well-crafted movie. Same goes for clever television shows.
Well, I think that covers it. Just a few of the things I do when I'm hit with The Block. What do you do? I'd love to read your responses - I'm always looking for new ideas!