Writer’s block is the worst. Your plot is going nowhere, you want to murder all your characters just to stop their vapid, pointless whining, and you’ve already spent ten pages describing the room where your main character is sitting and brooding on something that has absolutely no relation to the rest of the story. It’s hot out, you should be doing chores, your laptop is burning your knees, and your children haven’t eaten in days because you’ve been glued to your chair, unable to stop staring at the stagnant, blinking cursor in abject terror and humiliation.
So you google “how to get past my writer’s block” and spend a few hours reading about what famous, wealthy, successful, award-winning authors do when their inspiration dries up, and feel even worse about yourself because at this rate, you’ll never even finish a first draft to stick in the back of your drawer and never look at again before you die miserable and alone.
Sound familiar? Yeah. It happens to all of us. Luckily, your internet searching has brought you to this foolproof, comprehensive list of how to lure your muse back to your corner. There’s a lot of conflicting advice out there, but this is the sum total of everything you need to know.
Yeah, you suck right now. But you have to do it anyway. No amount of yoga or illegal stimulants or brisk walks around the block is going to change the fact that your fingers have to get moving. You can go ahead and do your invigorating handstands or whip up that cocktail of raw egg and Worcestershire sauce and ginseng, or whatever floats your boat.
Take a break, order a pizza for the kids, and think about that blossoming love triangle while you sweep the floors. Then sit your butt back at the keyboard, shut your mouth, and type. Eventually, you’ll suck a little less, and you’ll realize that it’s all right to cut out all your lame paragraphs on the second pass. Your pep will return of its own accord as you pick up steam again. I promise.
Do you give up? Are you really just finished with this whole charade? Are you satisfied with simply having tried? Then all the motivational speaking, jumping jacks, and Mark Twain quotes in the world aren’t going to change your mind. When you reach that point, you’re done. Put it away and shut off the computer. Godspeed, pilgrim, and well may you fare.
But if that rubs you the wrong way, and makes you kind of squirmy and angry even if you’re not sure why, it’s because you’re not finished! You’ve just got writer’s block, remember? Come on. Shake it off. Return to Section A. Read, rinse, and repeat.
And that’s it, folks. There’s nothing wrong with stepping away for a little while, and there’s nothing wrong with trying new ways of organizing your story, new writing prompts, or just sitting in a different room to switch things up a bit. There’s nothing wrong with trashing an idea when it peters out and starting something new. Writer’s block is a deeply vexing but completely temporary phenomenon. Write, and you have conquered. Write, and you win. Just make sure someone is watching the kids.