Writer’s block. These are days that all writers have had. These are the days when the words just won’t come, the muse has left, the brain is empty. Survival skills are what you can use to break through the brick wall of writer’s block and begin producing words once again.
My son-in-law introduced me to a TV program that I would probably have never watched except for him. Cameron, an experienced outdoorsman, loves the program Survivorman and so, the other night, we sat and watched it together. The host, Les Stroud, goes to a remote location creating an extreme situation: boat dies in the middle of the ocean, he is stranded on the beach of a remote British Columbia river, his snowmobile is disabled on the Alaskan Arctic tundra—you get the idea. In every episode he has to figure a way to survive until he can get out of the situation. The host sets up cameras and proceeds to teach the audience what to look for and how to use it to their advantage. Really interesting, but I know that I will never be stranded quite like he is weekly. BUT. . .
Simple Advice for Writer’s Block
What can you use, as a writer, from the advice of Les Stroud? His first words: survey what you’ve got. It dawned on me that those are words which can break through writer’s block. Instead of struggling to get more words on a page that honestly are probably going to be garble, step back from your work. Go back to your basics: thesis, brainstorming sheet of ideas, plot or outline, photos, and so on. Let random ideas begin to form again.
One reason you might have writer’s block is because you have departed from your main thesis or plot line. Re-evaluate your direction, but do it from the very beginnings of the project and do it honestly. Look hard and critically at what you have written. You may have to toss some of those hard-earned words, but if that will put you back on track, so be it.
Another reason for writer’s block is that you simply don’t have enough substance on which to base your writings. Did you do enough research and have enough information about your topic? Did you develop the personalities and backgrounds of your characters before you started writing? It is similar to teaching. If you don’t know anything, you don’t have anything to teach. You have to have information upon which you then can base your writings. You need content.
Analyze what is holding you back. If the reason is not readily apparent, go off and do something else. Later, return refreshed and re-analyze. Sometimes, that reason can be right in front of you and you can’t see it. Survey what you have.
Writer’s block? Use your survival skills and break that wall down.