Written by A Guest Author
By Ken Finley
I was sitting in the audience of a writer’s panel at WorldCon in San Antonio when the subject of writer’s block came up. Gail Carrigher was the first to speak, saying there was no such thing. Not one writer on that panel disagreed with her. Several chimed in to express their usual response when they heard someone blaming a lack of productivity on writer’s block. Most were not very charitable.
I was delighted because – I don’t believe in writer’s block. It’s an oxymoron. Writers write. Now, maybe authors and novelists might suffer from a productivity block, but writers? No possible way. If you aren’t writing, you aren’t living. So, what about those other folks – the ones that have somehow lost their way? What can those of us who are blessed with a well overflowing with verbiage suggest to help the less fortunate?
1. First – Don’t Stop
As a High School coach in Academic Decathlon, I meet a lot of bright young people who say they want to be writers. I tell them “You don’t want to be a writer. You either are or aren’t. Have you written your thousand words today?”
3. Carry a recorder
A great quote in Terry Brooks’ ‘Sometimes the Magic Works’ explains that when the muse strikes, you can’t say ‘come back later’.
The muse may not return.
13. What’s in your briefcase/purse
In today’s survivalist terms – what’s in your Bugout Bag? Unless you have a magician with an infinite bag of holding (a real treasure in Dungeons and Dragons and Harry Potter) your characters can’t carry everything. (If you do have an infinite bag of holding, due diligence requires a back story for how each item was acquired. Think about it.) What are you going to have them carry, what are they going to have to find, and what story links to that?
16. Ignore those who say you can’t
It comes back to what I said at the beginning about avoiding situations where you give yourself permission to not write. While I agree that you need to be practical, and make sure you have the income to keep a roof over your head and food on the table, there are several opportunities to be impractical. How do you spend your lunch breaks? I spend mine with a notebook. How do you spend your time commuting to and from work? I spend mine with a micro-recorder. Don’t take a rejection letter as permission to quit. A rejection letter, of which I have a few, is encouragement to try again. Look at your story and ask yourself what you wanted to do differently. Work it through and try again.