Another Brick Wall In Your Mind?

Gosh, it's getting tough to write a blog post these days!

I guess I've got to start somewhere if I'm going to create another post on this blog, especially when you have to use a keybaord - sorry, keyboard - that keeps playing tricks on the charactres...oops, characters.

This goddamn keyboard is sitting defiantly in front of me, probably laughing (if it can laugh) at my clumsy effort to type...without missing my p's and q's.

If I tried to type fast, a dinger - sorry again, finger - would miss the right key. If you look at the keyboard arrangement, R is next to T and D is next to F, and instead of hitting the A key I would hit an S! Talk about itchy fingers and potholes in the keyboard!

Well, I could become a one-finger typist plodding on at a safe snail pace. But that seems like a retarded idea fit only for turtles and snails.

Okay, enough of this tomfoolery on the keyboard. I can sense the mental brick wall is crumbling. I guess I have warmed up enough to write about...oh well, writer's block which do affect many bloggers.

See, I've gone past six silly little paragraphs to get to here. Now I'm untying the stifling knot in my head. Let me tell you that when you are having a cerebral blockage, don't drop dead, just write away on anything that comes to a clogged mind!

Remember, you're slowly loosening up, your mind's engine is stuttering but soon it'll be purring again like a well-oiled machine. Yes, you have overcome the hardest part of writing - that's getting started.

“The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of
the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to
become visible.”
~ Vladimir Nabakov

How to unlock that writer's block?

Writer's block is what many writers dread the most. Famous novelist and adventurer Ernest Hemingway was once asked about the most frightening thing he had ever encountered as a writer and he replied: "A blank sheet of paper." That unquestionably sums up that feeling of angst when it comes to 'putting ink on paper.'

Just imagine you want to write and you are facing a blank PC screen. Would that be as scary as facing a blank sheet of paper?

Today, it's so much easier to use a desktop computer or a laptop rather than an old beat-up typewriter to write.  If you type something you don't like you can always delete the sentence and rewrite it on your computer. You don't waste sheets of paper.

Across the blogging landscape, we have seen bloggers who used to post on a regular basis and then one day they started to slow down. And grinding to a halt. If you have been looking around and visiting some of your friendly neighbourhood blogs you'll notice that there's a long period of inactivity on these blogs.

And the first thing that comes to mind is...writer's block. It's the bane of folks who have overused their mental power and now are suffering from dysfunctional brain cells. Burnout.

For some bloggers (or every blogger and writer at one time or another), the 'brick wall syndrome' is just as much part and parcel of the malady all of us writers have to face sooner or later. Yes, you are encountering a writer's block when you have overstretched yourself and feeling lost for ideas.

How to get your creative juices flowing again? 

Perhaps, some good vintage wine will help you to clear the cobwebs inside there! Or it could be a spontaneous outburst of creativity after a cuppa  hot stimulating java. Maybe, you need to do a quick exercise (warm-ups) or freewrites (silly thing though) as I have done at the beginning of this article.

There's no one fix to get things going, it varies from one writer to another - different folks, different strokes.

Sometimes it's a good idea to take a break, pick up your acoustic guitar and work out a song (okay, not everyone is a guitar freak). But you still can listen to music, take a walk, work on your tai chi or perform some other activities that could get your mojo working.

Usually writers can't get started because they try to concentrate too much on the introduction and that bogs them down.

Don't worry too much - or just don't be too fussy at the beginning - start at any point. Just write away in the middle and by the time you come back to the front, you will have a clearer picture of how the introduction will run.

So there. Just don't feel anxious and frustrated. Throw out those negative feelings, be motivated and inspired by whatever that's cooking on your mind. And right away...write!

Another little trick to start is to work on the title or headline first. You can come up with several titles, decide which one can wow the reader and the rest of your writing will start to flow.  Usually, a good title will sum up the direction you're heading in your article. You can pick up some fine title ideas by studying those blurbs on magazine covers. So head over to your nearest magazine store and browse around for some inspiration.

Let's look at it from another writer's viewpoint about how to unlock that writer's block. Jeffrey Deaver, the bestselling author of thrillers and mysteries and creator of the Lincoln Rhyme series, has this advice: "I've often said that there's no such thing as writer's block; the problem is idea block."

Here's another quote from one of the best-known among the few African-American women science fiction writers, the late Octavia Estelle Butler: "You don't start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it's good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it. That's why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence."

Ms Butler (June 22, 1947 - February 24, 2006) won both the Hugo and Nebula awards. In 1995, she became the first science fiction writer to receive the MacArthur Foundation "Genius" Grant.

Finally, here's a little gem of a tip from the late American author James Thurber who was also noted as a cartoonist and celebrated wit: "Don't get it right, just get it written."

Well, folks, that's how you get around a sticky situation, do all the 'crappy' stuff first, then everything willl fall into place. There won't be another brick on the wall 'cos it's tumbling down and you'll be able to see the light on the other side. Write on!


Michael said...

Well written post.

What do you do when you hit the ceiling though?

I have been doing marketing for a little over a year now, and I have reached 100,000 visitors a month, but I'm stuck. How do you take it to the next level?

Markk said...

> Michael: Hmm, there's no exact answer...break down the idea block, be persistent, just write something like what you read in my post...LOL!
James Thurber said it best: "Don't get it right, just get it written."
Or drill a hole through the ceiling and the light shall shine through!!

margo said...

I enjoyed your bit about typing - it was much like watching an old-fashioned typewriter's jammed keys start to loosen. One by one, the keys return to their place, and the ideas start to flow.

Portable BBQ said...

You have no idea how hard it is for me to stay creative and continue to post quality content on my blogs. I have found one of the best ways for me to stay motivated is to simply write down thoughts as I go about my day. This helps have a good subject to write about. If I don't do this I spend hours staring at the screen with nothing to write about. I really appreciate this post. Keep them up. I added your site to my bookmarks, I will check back soon!

Markk said...

> Portable BBQ: Yup, that's good practice jotting down thoughts as you go about your business. I do it, too. Oops, I forgot to mention it in my post! LOL.

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Thank you for the insight. I love the phrase: "Don't get it right, just get it written." Mood is my biggest enemy in writing, that readers would feel the writer's mood throughout the pages :)

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When I try to type fast there are lots of mispelling )) Not only some problems with p's and q's ) I have tried to learn to type blind, but I am afraid that's impossible for me )

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Hannah Stensgaard said...

This resonates so much with me. With me I feel as though I want to write something that I can only describe as 'epic'. Something that will be appreciated by everyone and that is where my writers block starts.

Maybe just 'getting things written' is indeed the start and the way forward...!

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