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Overcome Your Writer’s Block—Tomorrow!
Many authors have had the occasional writer’s block or other catastrophes befall them, causing a momentary cessation in their writing. I know I’ve been subjected to these sorts of things: the world’s largest magnifying glass concentrating the power of the sun on my notebook, destroying all my work; a deadly monsoon on the news, distracting me from the task at hand; even a grizzly bear mauling and killing my wife. But I do what we all do, what must be done: I continue where I left off (or start at the beginning if necessary), shut out the outside world, order a new wife online and finish the task at hand.
I may never have had a case of writer’s block, but, uh… um…
So there’s this guy—a, a lawyer, yeah! No… um… okay, he’s a lawyer, and a wrestler! And he combines the two professions, taking the law into his own hands whenever a defendant that’s obviously guilty gets acquitted. D.A. Kick-Your-Ass, dishing out vigilante justice, laying the smackdown on crime. Yes, that’s going on the back cover… no, that’s ridiculous… oh, I know! How about a continuation of the essay? Yeah, that’s gold, pure gold!
Even some of history’s most prolific and critically-acclaimed authors weren’t immune to bouts of writer’s block or other unfortunate events affecting the writing process—or “writing woes,” if you will.
Why, Shakespeare himself is in the hold of one of the oldest writing woes: he’s dead! You try writing something when you’re deceased, it’s difficult! Even if he were to become one in the hordes of undead, he’d presumably only be interested in the acquisition and subsequent consumption of brains. Frankenstein’s monster, mummies, zombies, and any other manner of undead have historically been uninterested in the fine arts.
Hemingway had a major problem with sticking to the correct tense, especially while he was writing… is… had been writing…
David Embry, a technical writer from Gary, Indiana, once struggled to find a politically correct way to instruct users of his company’s program to save files (he eventually deleted all instances of the phrase “nigga’ please!” in the section). While not necessarily at the same level of significance of Shakespeare or Hemingway, he’s pretty well-known within certain circles of his friends.
If you’re currently struggling with writer’s block, here is a list of words you may find useful in constructing the rest of your piece:
One common pitfall in the writing process is an obsession with proofreading. If you’re still trying to make sure you’ve crossed your M’s and dotted your Y’s, here’s a helpful hint: neither of those letters needs crossing or dotting! You’re welcome—and thank you for being so polite.
Additionally, if you’re writing a fictional story, there is a great general concept I often use that should help you to complete the rest of your piece, or even to start an entirely new novel. First, several characters are introduced, with a main protagonist and antagonist getting the bulk of the attention. Next, an event occurs which creates a conflict of sorts, pitting the protagonist and antagonist against each other. Then, a swelling of suspense and drama come together to keep the reader riveted, and a resolution to the conflict is reached. The characters are visited one last time after the conflict is resolved, bringing closure to the story. Finally, a large “THE END” is placed after the last sentence, signifying the end of the story; this is the most important part—if the models for tragedies, epics, and comedies as put forth in Aristotle’s Poetics are to be believed.
Well, there you have it. Now there’s absolutely no excuse for you to lie to people and say, “I have the entire novel up in my head, I just can’t get it onto paper,” or to whine, “How can I finish my Dumbledore-centric, homoerotic fan fiction at a time like this? My wife just died!” So what are you waiting for? Get writing!