Do Penguins Have Knees?

Hiya friends, welcome back. Like I said on Monday, I’m going to be expanding the scope of this space just a bit. Not only do we wear pink on Wednesdays, but we also talk writing now. (Wow, that was a terrible reference) I’m not sure how this is going to work out, but hey ho we’ll give it a go.

You know when you’re little and people ask what you want to be when you grow up? I had quite a few answers, at five I wanted to be a hitman (yup, told the teacher that), at seven I wanted to be a Brontosaurus (I blame The Land before Time), at ten it was clear for a week my calling was to be a lawyer (I could have arrested my five-year-old self), then alas I landed on writer and stayed there. Of course, like any good adult role models, my parents told me I could definitely be anything, I’m assuming they meant to put an exception in there for the hitman career. What they failed to tell me was that by deciding to be a writer, I had unbeknownst to myself, also signed up for a shitty little thing that came with it. If you’re a writer you know where this is going by now, the dreaded WRITER’S BLOCK!

Seriously, it’s one of the worst things I’ve ever encountered. There you are completely ready to sit down to work on your beloved cast of characters and their amazing lives, and in that moment your brain goes, “Nope not today Rockstar. Today I want to ponder one the great mysteries of life. Let us ponder if penguins have knees?” If you’re wondering, let me save you the trouble of googling that and then inevitably watching penguin videos on YouTube, yes, they do have knees.

I have spent many a day/night tilting at this windmill while trying to put pen to paper, or rather fingers to keyboard, it’s never fun. That being said, I’ve come up with a few things that have helped me in the past and maybe can help you in the future.

  • Walk away writer, walk away. Honestly, sometimes you just need some fucking space. It doesn’t make you any less of a writer if you don’t write on that day.
  • Pick a prompt. There are times I just can’t write on that piece on that day, doesn’t mean I’ll be blocked from writing anything at all.
  • Jump around. I don’t mean this in a literal way, unless you’re feeling quite froggy then have at it, Everlast. I mean write a different scene, a different conversation that you have planned for the story. In my experience, it can be just that one area that I’m having trouble with.
  • Get your read on. I’ve found that just reading can Hulk smash that damn block. It’s like my brain focuses on the thing I’m reading while some little piece of it continues to unravel my damn issue.
  • Go outside, and interact with other humans. I’m guilty of sitting myself in front of my computer for hours, even days on end. Fresh air clears my head, and talking to humans gives me ideas. It’s a win-win really.

There ya have it, my friends, five solid tips to beat the block. In all truthfulness just because it works for me doesn’t mean it’s guaranteed to work for you, but hey it’s worth a shot, right? Please feel free to tell me any other tips and tricks you might have, I’m always looking for ways to get around it. Until next time…

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