Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Writing 101: Forcing It

There are times when you need inspiration to strike, when you have to wait for the right creative mood to hit you. And then, there are times when you just have to sit down in front of the keyboard...and force it to come.


Disciplined

More than any other trait, I think writers have to be disciplined. It's incredibly difficult to sit down in front of a screen for 12 hours at a stretch, making little black characters appear on a white screen. Your family will be all around you talking and yelling and asking questions. Intriguing stuff will show up on TV, and weird questions will appear in your mind to tempt you into using Wikipedia. Twitter will beckon, emails will arrive, phones will ring and at some point you may wander off to go get a snack. Discipline is the only thing that makes it all work. But discipline isn't just about ignoring the TV show or telling your family to hush up. It needs to go much deeper than that.


 
I'm not totally convinced that writer's block is a real condition. It's just another way of saying you're stuck at a certain point. And when you need to get past that hump, that's when you can rely upon your discipline to get you through it. Because sometimes writer's block feels very real. Your mind will be a blank. You won't know how to answer any of the questions you have. You'll find it impossible to bridge the gap between where your manuscript is at and where it needs to go. 

And in those moments, forcing it may be the only thing that's going to work. You have to just sit down and start writing. Get yourself back into the flow of writing. Pay attention to the feeling of your hands on the keys. Watch the words as they appear on the screen. They don't have to be good words. It doesn't have to be something that you'll use. But you do have to sit down and do it. Because once you get yourself back in that mindset of storytelling, you'll find your writer's block slowly fading away. Just start writing something involving your characters, and see where it takes you.

Forcing it requires discipline. And if you have enough discipline to force those words to come out of your fingers, you've got enough to be a writer.

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