First, I think writer’s block comes from so many places. The mental block that we unintentionally place in our mind that keeps the words from coming is placed there by something individual to so many of us. I think each person really has to sit down and examine why? Research your favorite and respected authors thoughts on it. These thoughts are just my thoughts, and could be a lightening bolt for you, or the least relevant thing you’ve ever read in your life:
I make myself write everyday, even the days I’m feeling lazy and tired. There are usually a couple days a month, sporadic and spaced out that I don’t write. When I’m in the trenches of a first draft, my desired goal is 1k a day. That’s been at times higher, or lower, depending on what my family life is like at that time. I have young kids, one at home full-time, and a husband with a volatile work schedule who’s free hours are spend working on work related continuing education. I also require at least eight hours a night of sleep to function, however, there are many amazing people who work with all that, much more, and still write more than I do. I used to find myself jealous of that. There were people who did not have small children, or had family members living near them, or… or… or…
That jealously was what blocked me.
I sit here now, saying, was it even jealously? Or was it more of, One Day Syndrome. You know? One day I’ll have more time. One day the kids will all be at school. One day we’ll live in a quiet area. One day I won’t have to find other means of finance. One day I’ll have an office. One day. One day. One day.
I think I read Stephen King’s On Writing there sometime in my One Day Syndrome illness. He worked a full-time job, sometimes two, writing in the laundry room of their trailer.
Research other writers. Their origins. See how they found motivation and determination in those days. Instead of one days, they carved time when they could.
And so I did.
I carved. Standing in the kitchen waiting for noodles to boil. In the carpool lane while I was waiting for my kid. Out in the backyard while the kids played in the sandbox. In the ten silent minutes I get before the house goes haywire in the morning. Speaking into a recorder while I made the fifteen-minute drive into town. Carve.
Now, I’m not saying that I carved anything good out. No, mostly it was bitter skin and pulp. Rotted bits. I have over 600,000 words on my hard drive I’ve written in the past few years that will never see the light of day. That is fine. Those pieces of bitter and sour diseased fruit made way for the gems hiding at the bottom. At least, in my humble opinion, the gems. The stories that have been hiding in me for thirty years, waiting to find their way out.
Push them out.
Write a hundred first chapters that will never go anywhere. Write a thousand sentences playing with structure. Write a book start to finish, using every single cliché that comes to mind. Don’t think about it. Just put it all out.
Because that’s what I did. I was sure I would never progress past first chapters or beautiful lines not connected to anything else in the world. But one day, my carving knife stopped showing up with mold, and started coming out with the most delicious pieces of fruit I’ve ever tasted. And yours will too.