Why I Don’t Get Writer’s Block
By Rosalind James
“What do you do about writer’s block?” I hear this question all the time. Short answer: I don’t get it! After ten years as a marketing writer, I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve spent toiling to make alphabet letter tiles or fireplace inserts sound sexy. Writing stories about two people falling in love? Piece of cake!
The longer answer is that the techniques I developed to keep myself on track while writing about Building Your Classroom Library or Our Salon Services have continued to serve me well in writing fiction. Here they are:
1. Take a walk. Or a run, or a bike ride, or a swim. We’re not just giant disembodied brains. Something about moving my body makes the left brain/right brain combination work. I don’t try to force my story to come to me, just let my mind wander. For the first ten minutes or so, it DOES wander. Then somehow, without any direction, it comes back to the book. Often, the scene that appears isn’t even the one I thought I was working on. I’ve learned to trust the process, and go home and write the scene that came to me. Maybe that other scene will appear next time—or maybe it wasn’t right after all.
2. Try a different spot. I often take a notebook to the coffee shop in the morning. The walk up there gets my mind working (see #1), and the change from my normal writing place shakes up my mind a bit. The difficulty arises when I’m scribbling a particularly steamy scene in longhand, hoping devoutly that nobody can look over my shoulder and read what I’ve written—or that they’ll guess why I’m concentrating so hard!
3. Just write. Don’t worry about getting it perfect at first. Your words may start out stilted, but the act of writing will make the ideas start to flow, and you can go back and edit later. I often don’t start at the “beginning” of a scene, as that bogs me down. I start with the “fun” part, the part that presents itself most insistently. Afterwards, I’ll come back and write the graceful introduction.
4. Give it a day. I start each day by going back over what I wrote the day before. I can always improve it. It also jump-starts that day’s work by getting me back into the book.
5. If you’re stuck, move! This goes back to #1. If I’m blanking out, I get up and make a cup of tea, empty the dishwasher, anything to shake myself up. The right idea always comes once I stop trying to force it.
There you go. I hope my tips help. And happy writing!
Rosalind James is the author of the Kindle bestseller Just This Once and the three subsequent books in the Escape to New Zealand series. She is a former marketing executive who has lived all over the United States and in a number of other countries, traveling with her civil engineer husband. Most recently, she spent several years in Australia and New Zealand, where she fell in love with the people, the landscape, and the culture of both countries.
Visit www.rosalindjames.com to listen to the songs from the books, follow the characters on their travels, watch funny and fascinating New Zealand and rugby videos, and learn about what's new!
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