As I develop and write a feature script I'm working on now, I'm constantly confronted with this pesky little thing called "writer's block." This thing that comes from nowhere to stifle my creativity and ensure I cannot continue even with one more word.
While staring at my blinking text cursor, or sometimes a completely blank page, I can think of a million other things to do, but can't seem to focus on what it is I need to write. Which is what brings me to this simple question: Does writer's block actually exist? If so then how can I overcome it. If not, then why do I find myself stuck?
I never thought of myself as a writer until recently. My elementary and high school educations never covered creative writing (or writing in any depth for that matter) so I never thought I had the skills to approach writing at all.
I still find writing to be incredibly scary and daunting. What will I write? How will I come up with what to write? Why am I writing? Who cares? Am I really even remotely good at this? But slowly and gradually I've been visited by the little fairy of creativity: Flow.
Flow is a beautiful thing. I think all of us have met Flow. Have been completely immersed in Flow. Flow is "the mental state of being completely present and fully immersed in a task," as defined by Scott Barry Kaufman in his The Huffington Post article The Creative ‘Flow’: How to Enter That Mysterious State of Oneness .
As I've learn how to write, that is, how it is I feel I can write, I've understood that I can reach a state of flow, completely surrounded by my story, by my process. It's the best thing ever.
But how do I reach that creative flow? Well I don't have an answer to that other than to JUST WRITE.
Here's a few tips that I use on a daily basis:
- Write about your day: What did you do? How was your morning? Who did you see? What happened? How was the weather? What did you think about? What's on your mind? This kind of writing isn't necessarily creative but I've found that it can get me in the mood to write. Get the vibe going.
- Write about what's happening around you right now: This is an observational exercise that works best if you're out and about. Maybe at a cafe. Maybe on public transportation. Maybe at a park. Anywhere but home alone. Who do you see? What is going on? Describe the people around you. What are they wearing? Describe your surroundings in detail. What are people doing? What are people talking about? What are you hearing?
- Daily journal: Simply keep a daily journal that you write in any time of the day. This can be any kind of writing. Mostly personal. Mostly subjective, but could be purely observationally objective too. A journal can be a great way to dive into a very intimate space with yourself. I find that my daily journal often starts off objective (talking about my day or what's on my mind etc) then gets much more subjective. My journal is a way for me to work through the things that float just beneath the surface of consciousness.
- Throwaway writing: Before you start writing the thing you want, begin by writing anything at all! Sometimes I find that if I just free write before starting the real work, I loosen up and feel a little more ready to attack my main task. It's kind of like stretching and warming up before actually playing the sport you intend to play. You need to stretch and warm up before diving into the good stuff.
Anyways, I hope these tips help. I definitely don't take credit for any of them since I've pick these tips up from other writers and artists. So a big thanks to them.
And a big thanks to you all for getting to the end of this seemingly endless post! I'll definitely be covering more on this topic in the future.