How can I get over a very bad case of writer’s block?
I want to write a screenplay and maybe even a few books but I’m stuck. Any help will be appreciated, ma’am…
I don’t suffer from writer’s block, or at least not for more than an hour or so if that much. Which of course hasn’t stopped me from writing about it.
Several years ago I found a video where Stephen J. Cannell talks about blocks. In short he says get over trying to write the perfect whatever. And I think he’s right. I do know that when I start trying to craft ever better sentences or think I can endlessly improve a piece of writing I’ve done I bog down completely for a very simple reason:
I wouldn’t recognize perfection if it walked in the door and introduced itself!
Years ago I asked a friend who was earning his living writing non-fiction why he never seemed to get started on the novel he said he wanted to write. He confessed he just didn’t think he could do it well enough. That fear of not getting it right was stopping him.
When I feel stuck I write anyway knowing that whatever I write I can improve but that nothing happens until I write something.
There’s some sort of a balance between taking your writing seriously and taking it too seriously. Cannell also suggests we have fun writing; that we recognize true professional writers make horrendous mistakes before we see their words.
So throw out any ideas of writing a perfect screenplay or book. Be willing to make mistakes, lots of them. Start getting some words down, and then some more. I love the title of the pop sentence “fail your way to success.” Take it to heart.
And if you’re writing block is so severe you can’t seem to break through get some professional help.
Do you have a question about writing? Contact me and I’ll do my best to answer it.
What suggestions do you have for breaking through writer’s block?
Write well and often,