I know. Those of you who are keeping up are saying, “But Paul, last week you told us to write something other than our novel.” But fear not, I will not deceive you. There are many ways to skin a cat (though I don’t know any of them, I keep getting told this by people who I believe know how to skin a great many things), and there are many ways to get around writer’s block.
I was stuck on the same chapter for a good long while. There was laundry, dishes, a dirty toilet (the entire bathroom was dirty, but I pace myself), I only needed 30 more Pokemon, my brother wanted to play board games, my nephew lost control of his bowels so I had to hand him off to my sister-in-law, etc. I’ll bet each one of you reading this post has had more than one moment where you looked at your current work and said, “I’m not inspired to do this because I’m hungry, the apartment is dirty, and I could really use a nap.”
This isn’t an issue of sitting down to write and you have nothing to say. This is an issue of not sitting down, and often times it’s cured by an egg timer set to an hour and a comfortable chair which electrocutes you if you show signs of sleeping. When you start writing again, you will find your rhythm. And you will inevitably lose the rhythm again
Here is how you slug it out. Put on good music. Place some kind of timer down. Maybe use some software (check below for the link) which forces you to write at a quickened pace. Tell friends.
You know what motivates me? People in my industry know I’m writing a novel, and when we talk for business reasons they ask, “So Paul, when am I getting my signed copy?” With a sheepish grin, I respond “First quarter,” and then “Third quarter,” and now I’m resigned to, “Fourth quarter, I promise.” And it’s looking like it might happen. But when I get that phone call during the day, it haunts me the rest of the day. You know what I do when I get home? I write. Forget the toilet. The creature growing in there gets to live for one more day.
To sum it all up, I’ve heard people say this is cruel advice, the “Just write” advice doesn’t take into consideration we have lives. I don’t comprehend the struggle of kids and a spouse. Or even a significant other, for that matter (it’s been 500 days or so, I think). I go home and sit around in my underwear, watching TV, playing Pokemon, and writing at leisure. But I know a lot of people who have kids and they still pop out 500 words or more three to four times a week. Some find the ability to do this six or seven days a week. I hear the “But if you love me, you’ll take the kids for an hour,” works wonders. They either do it, or the marriage becomes brief and suddenly you have time. Honestly, though, I’m not trying to be cruel by telling you to sit down and write. I’m just trying to tell you it really does work. So please, sit down and write.
As with last time, if you do have some suggestions on how to kick writer’s block, or if you have a question for me, please do ask and it’ll show up next time I post! I love feedback, I prefer positive but I’ll take negative attention if it’s all I can get, so please do comment.