Writer’s Block

Random Excerpt From The Daily Drivel, 2014/07/21

I do not like to write. I like to have written.
— Gloria Steinem

Answer to a hypothetical question from a hypothetical reader: How do you deal with writer’s block?

I’m not the best person to give advice on avoiding writer’s block, since it took over 30 years after the inception of my latest novel to finish it. There were many times I just wanted to chuck the whole thing. Struggle and Despair! Occasionally I was productive, but there were long dry spells when I didn’t do anything at all. I finally got serious about finishing it a couple of years ago. Even then, the last thing I wanted to do in the morning was get up and write on the damned thing.

I have a file on my computer named The Daily Drivel. That’s my kick-starter to take the fear and pain away from sullying the unsullied whiteness of the unwritten page—write drivel into The Daily Drivel. That’s what it’s for: nonsense, bad grammar, typos and misspellings, rantings, ravings, and piecemeal thoughts. (But what you see here, dear reader, is a cleaned-up version. Really, you don’t think I’d let it all hang out that far, do you?)

What it’s really for is getting you started in the motion of writing without the dire consequences or soul-killing embarrassments of saying stupid things in public. A body at rest stays at rest, and a body in motion (writing) stays in motion. If I can while away the time writing things of no consequence, sometimes if I’m lucky I find that I’ve just typed something of consequence. If that happens, I copy and paste to my manuscript, edit to clean up the grammar, and–if I’m really lucky–I’m off and running on a new paragraph, or page, or chapter.

In my case The Daily Drivel would be better named The Monthly Drivel, except that doesn’t alliterate. Regardless of the name, the process frequently works and is worth a try.

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