A debate today on twitter has been whether or not “Writers Block” exists or not? My two cents on the matter is that writers block does not exist, I used to believe it did but then as I grew as a writer I learned that it was purely laziness on my part and the simple fact that I rarely thought outside of The Box. I was also very nervous about how much of what I wanted to write has been done before and how little my stories represented “Original” ideas.
The latter is laughable to me nowadays, because every idea in the present and the future has already been done somewhere, nothing is unique, but you need to understand that every human being is unique and therefore will have a unique take on a story already written. For example, if a hundred writers had to write a story based on Alice in Wonderland every one of them would have a different stance to it. Some would suggest that Alice was a drug addict hallucinating everything that had happened to her, another writer would believe that she had multiple personality disorder and that every other character who was not Alice was in fact her alter egos. Another, would write the story as close to the original as possible, but even then there will be differences, some will make it dark humour, some will make it serious, some will throw in too much drama and one might make Alice a man from a rock band who got kidnapped and taken to an alien world and so on and so on.
Now that has me thinking, wouldn’t that last idea be great? Aliens kidnapping Alice Cooper, taking him to Wonderland another planet, but you see I can’t do that because of so many copyright laws, but it is a fun idea to play with in my mind or as a fan fic.
I can play with ideas like this all day long in any situation. The problem for me is that I have too many ideas and I can struggle to decide which one to play with at the time. I have got to the stage where I have selected five current novels I am working on and having to use random.org to help me choose which one to work on today? I literally list and number my ideas like a maniac. I even have a random scene list which is also numbered to help me fill in boring bits of my story or to prevent boring bits from occurring. If I don’t know what I should do in the next scene, I use random.org and my lists to help me. Each list is categorised. It doesn’t sound very artistic, usually artists and writers are disorganised and free thinking, but I do organise my stuff like this a lot. Granted I lose lists a lot, but I am getting better at keeping them in their place lately.
The idea of writers block is unfathomable to me in recent years. I have learned if you constantly read and learn and if you make yourself look for art of what you are looking for, poetry etc, you will become inspired and if you do this daily as part of your routine, your mind will eventually throw things out at you. Don’t ignore “brain farts” as I call them either – things such as…
I was reading a book about ancient Sumerian beliefs and I came across the title chapter called “The creation of man” I misread it as “The Cremation of man”. This can spark interesting ideas if you don’t ignore it.
You’ve got to constantly stuff things into your brain daily, furiously, eventually your mind can switch into creator mode with little or no effort. Try it.
Think of silver dragons and go to deviant art, flick through the pictures you first see in their search bar that says “Silver Dragons”, do this for 5 minutes, then go to pinterest and do that there again for around 5 minutes, just flick through pictures quickly, you don’t have to look at anything individually, just literally look them over, notice each different scene and do it at quick speed, you are not there for research, you are not there to steal, you are there to feed your mind and it is a hungry monster than doesn’t stop! No idea is stupid, no idea is pathetic, if you get an idea whilst flowing like this, write it down because you’d be amazed how quickly these things pass through, it can be like being on a high speed train and you are trying to keep focused on a particular field you’ve just gone past! Then search silver dragon poetry in google, or silver dragon songs, or silver dragon art in your search engines or snap chat or tumblr or anywhere that is likely to have a search option!
Do this with scenes or creatures or events you want to write about. Writers block is just an excuse for lazy writers. Don’t be a lazy writer. If you don’t love playing with your mind and feeding it like this and you find writing hard work, then you can’t be a writer. Because writers don’t work, they play and they do this every single day. Some scenes are hard but the writing is never stressful or hard work because you love it and if you love something, it can’t ever be hard work! Don’t keep chasing the money either by looking for things that are trending, because trends change exceedingly fast, as soon as you write about what is trending now you are already out of date by 30k words. Play and write for you and read a lot of books; not just fiction books on the genres you like, read broadly, especially non-fiction because that can help you world build.