For Those Who’ve Been Around the Writer’s Block a Few Times
I’ve been lucky in terms of having suffered from it fairly infrequently. Or rather, I’ve experienced it in a different way. It’s just sometimes I don’t know what is supposed to happen next. “Well Jack,” you are likely thinking, “I hate to break it to you, but that’ the same thing.
Maybe, but I do differentiate them a bit. “Writer’s Block” implies to me that I’m driving along and I’ve hit a wall. It feels somehow visceral and violent. That’s different from simply getting stuck because you’ve run out of gas. One’s a collision, the other’s a petering out. One is a – you get the point.
Car Metaphors Are Obviously Not My Strength
OK, so I find plugging away at it is often counterproductive. I’ve often been saved by walking away. I’ll still think about the problem a lot, but not exclusively. Because I have laundry to do and baseball to watch and emails to fail to return. This loosens up the grip on my thinking a bit, and allows me a little more limberness of thought (gymnastics metaphors are also not my forte).
If that doesn’t yield results after a week or two, I find it’s often good to write about the work as if you were writing to someone and had to explain the problem to them in great detail. That simple, stupid trick fools my simple, stupid mind more times than not, and then I gain the perspective I need to see what the road ahead should – indeed must – look like (road metaphors are essentially car metaphors, so I’ll top there).
Failing that, I return to the writing technique I employ most: Frequent naps.
Second, Unrelated Thing
Our theater company has started a podcast; of course we have – everyone has. Anyway, please subscribe – and maybe even listen to – “New Normal Rep’s Play Date,” available wherever you find your favorite podcasts (it may take a day or two for it to be on Apple podcasts). I will owe you one. And visit http://www.newnormalrep.org to watch a live rehearsed reading of Nikkole alter’s excellent play, Torn Asunder on April 25th at 7:30 EDT, with a online talkback hosted by Jill Eikenberry.