I no longer believe in writer’s block.
I have mentioned recently that I had a 5000 word short story to write within a few weeks (1168 words and 13 days, 1 hour and 34 minutes to go!) and I have been struggling a bit in the last few days. I started with a short short story that I had thought was complete. It had a beginning, middle and an end. I liked it as it was but it was only 1500 words. So, I set myself the challenge of bulking it up to 5000 words for The Bridport Prize competition. I didn’t want to simply insert flowery language with a view to increasing the word count. I knew I would be rumbled instantly. Judges aren’t stupid. I knew I had to add to the story. I had to build in some more twists and turns. However, over the last couple of days, I have been struggling with a slight blockage. I say slight because some words trickled through but nothing of any significance. Rather than giving up, I have found a way to dislodge the blockage for good.
Here’s what I did:
* I opened a new Word document and summarised what had happened so far in the three sections; beginning, middle and end. While I was doing this, questions popped into my head, leading to new ideas. Blockage dislodged. Ta-da!
* The other thing that helped was to completely remove myself from the computer and do something else. I went to make sandwiches for my husband and kids’ lunch tomorrow. While my focus was away from staring at a computer screen I got another idea.
I have read that last piece of advice before somewhere and I’m pleased to report that it is true. I recommend that you try the Word document summary though. It worked for me 🙂
I haven’t tried this suggestion yet but I will if I ever experience a severe blockage:
Take the ‘create crap’ challenge:
Despite the name, the ‘create crap’ challenge is not about lowering the quality of what you’ll do it’s about UPPING the quality of what you have in the world by actually releasing something rather than drowning what you have to share in a giant shroud of blockedness.
The first step in the create crap challenge is to remember that you do NOT have to release your crap attempts to the world. It’s an unblocking technique to use for yourself.