Want to overcome writer’s block? That’s right. Care LESS. Trying for perfection when writing your first draft is the best way ever to stop your writing cold. “Should she hold a rose or a daisy?” “What is the significance of each?” “What if her brother was really her cousin? Would that make sense?” “And her name? Does Jessica say teen?”
Worrying about things like this will do nothing but cause your brain to either freeze or give it permission to go off on some wandering path that does very little to up your word count for the day.
So how do you care less? (and kick that writer’s block to the curb?)
1.) Tell yourself you are only writing this for YOU.
No one else is going to see this. You are just playing. Playing is fun. While playing you don’t have to worry about the rules of gravity and how that would affect your lovemaking scene on Mars. (or not)
2.) Expect bad days.
You have a headache, the dog threw up on your new carpet and a truck crashed into your porch. Things happen. You will bounce back. Your writing will bounce back. This doesn’t mean you take the day off. Why would you? (refer to rule #1) You are playing when you write! It’s fun! It’s the obvious way to escape from your day just a bit. So, open that document with the intention of writing a minimum of 100 words. If that’s all you can write, it’s 100 words more than you had. And there is a good possibility you will write even more than that. Just don’t think “There is no way I can hit my (whatever your goal is) word count today. Might as well check Facebook.” Every word is one you didn’t have before. Value that!
3.) Remember everything can be changed.
This sounds obvious, but we writers tend to take our work a little seriously at times. I know I’ve found myself saying “But he can’t do that because (insert reason that duh I created in the first place).” That’s right I created the because… which means I can change the because. It also means if something is total crap when I read it later I can CUT IT.
What a revelation!
4.) Believe that mistakes are GOOD.
That’s right good. Mistakes open new doors. Penicillin was the product of a mistake. Who is to say whatever mistake you put in your first draft won’t lead to just such a life-saving discovery too? (Okay, that might be overboard, but it might make take you to some new place you wouldn’t have gone to without the mistake.) And remember mistakes don’t matter because of rule #3 – everything can be changed.
So there you have it four ways to care less about your writing and get more of it done.
But just in case those aren’t enough, here are a couple of more writing tips to keep your writer’s block at bay.
Feel/respect the burn!
Yep, just like in exercise and dieting feeling the pain means you are getting something done. So sit down and write until…
When you hit a REAL roadblock respect it.
Ever have a dream where you couldn’t find a bathroom, only to wake up have to go really bad? That’s your subconscious telling you “Hey, idiot, you gotta go!” Your writing subconscious does that too. If the pain isn’t just pain but is instead a nagging feeling that you are wading deeper and deeper into a tar pit from which you will never escape – stop and re-evaluate.
Usually, for me, the issue has to do with Goal, Motivation or Conflict. So start there. What isn’t right? What else could you do? Once you have this worked out, my guess is you will find yourself writing faster than ever.
Now go write, and remember it’s FUN! :)
Lori Devoti is the multi-published author of romantic comedy, paranormal romance and urban fantasy. She also writes the Dusty Deals Mystery series under the pen name Rae Davies. Look for her workshops at Write by the Lake (DCS University of Wisconsin), at various conferences, and here at the How To Write Shop. For more information, visit her website.