I received a question a few weeks ago from a friend of mine. “Do you ever get writer’s block? If so, how do you deal with it?”
Everyone that has written anything has run into situations where they can’t think of what to write or how to write something – at some point or another.
Write What You Know
The truth is, when it comes to writing fiction what I prefer to do is write about what I know. Find something funny, odd or interesting in daily life and twist it. Some of the craziest things in life (and literature) you just can’t make up. Write about the town you live in, grew up in or place you love to visit. Then you know that the details will be accurate, attracting locals, anyone who has visited the location or anyone that can visually see what you’re describing (if you are a good enough writer). Writing what you know allows you to give details that you otherwise might be lacking.
It always amazes me how something as simple as getting up and getting a cup of coffee or taking a short walk and coming back can remove the stress from the mind. I can have something driving me crazy, but getting up and coming back to it after a few minutes… suddenly it all makes sense.
Now, keep in mind, I am mostly a fiction writer. I enjoy a story that doesn’t exist, a person you haven’t met and creature that couldn’t be. So when it comes to writing I tend to think of something odd and look for the strangeness in it.
- That homeless man – okay, he’s begging for money, but how did he become homeless? What is his story? I then try to put myself in his shoes and look for ways that a person who is a normal middle class person, loses his job, family and anyone that might care about him and then is dejected in life.
- That coffee cup on your desk – It might not be an ordinary cup of coffee, but instead an elixir that lets you see through walls. Where did it come from? How long has it been magical and you didn’t even know it?
- Your computer with that webcam, how do you know it’s not being tapped by government agents? Or worse yet, thieves who are casing out your house, simply by watching the webcam on your desk. How will you deal with it and chase down those that are spying?
Find the slightly implausible and make it – plausible.
Most importantly, don’t worry about “writer’s block”. This too shall pass.