I was asked about writer's block the other day in an interview. First up, don't really believe in it. I do get in my own way, but that's different. I've found it to be true on da WIP. I got so hung up on researching sailing ships (they spend some time at sea) and I'm paranoid about getting it wrong, and also about giving just the right amount info to make the reader feel it but not so much it becomes a dissertation on pre-canon galleons. Well, not much chance of that at this point. I mean, every time my characters took a step I had to look at the diagram I made to see which frickin' deck they're on or where the cabin was located. Readers at least need to know the lay of the land. Er, ship. Whatever. Hell, I needed to know it.

And then I got two good pieces of advice.

The first was from a friend, who said Just write the dang thing and worry about terminology and choreography later.

But I realized writing some of that stuff helps fill in, keeps me writing, keeps my fingers on they keyboard while I'm trying to sort out what the characters will do next. I plot by synopsis, but there's a lot of room left on the page for me to make decisions on the fly.

Still, good advice. I just keep my story bible handy and cut myself a break on some of the details. Problem solved.

And the second (from me!) When in doubt, sit two characters down and let them talk it out.

So I did. And my characters saved my ass. Again.

Oh, and there are always M&Ms. M&Ms always make the words come.

What're your tricks to keep writing?


thinkbannedthoughts said...

I admit, I've been terrible this month. I haven't written a single word on my WIP. That said, generally I give myself Dennis Leary's "Shut the F*** up, quit whining" speech and then I sit down and make myself write.
I'm a morning writer, so no m&ms for me, but tea. I live and die by my black tea.

sex scenes at starbucks, said...

Yup. Black tea.

How about a mini writing retreat in the Tipi soon, yeah?

Peter Dudley said...

I think it's a great insight that filling time with research sometimes is important to let the plot simmer a bit before pushing onward. I've had "writers block" periods where I have to go away for a bit, think through some things unrelated to the existing scene(s). When I come back, often I'm hit with an epiphany that makes the story a lot better than what I'd have written if I'd just powered through the slow period on the plot arc I'd outlined.

My biggest problem, though, is that my obligations leave me with little time. Demanding job. Housework and yardwork. Kids and related volunteering. That leaves me little time for (a) exercise and (b) writing. I find I have to sacrifice one for the other, and that bums me out.

Also, "yes" to black tea. And whiskey. Sometimes side by side.

sex scenes at starbucks, said...

YES! whiskey AND black tea!!!!!!