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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Tackling Writer’s Block

What is writer’s block? A roadblock in the creative process? Halted production on the assembly line of ideas? Brain fog? Whatever it is, everybody has their own cure to get rid of it. Like heartburn, some people are more prone to flare-ups than others. Some, like me, even prepare to avoid it all costs before there is ample cause for concern.
For instance, I’m in the revision process of my current novel, Indigo Blues. It should be finished in a few weeks and I don’t want to suddenly develop writer’s block as I venture into a new project. But in the event that I experience early onset, I must be fully prepared. That means an emergency supply of chocolate and red wine (okay, it doesn’t have to be an emergency for me to be stocked up), maintaining a clutter-free office, peace and quiet and plenty of internet surfing time to catch up on ridiculous Hollywood headlines. Often my head is flooded with ideas late at night, so it’s always good to keep a notebook handy next to my bed. Taking an early morning walk gets the blood pumping to my brain and if I’m lucky, I’ll remember to write everything down when I get home. And no matter what, I’m always inspired by music. So when I start a new novel, I crank up the tunes that I think my main characters would listen to.
If that doesn’t work, reading a great, passionate novel is sure to spark the creativity inside of me. Right before I began writing Shrinking Violet, I read White Oleander by Janet Fitch. I devoured the book, word by word, marveling at how seamlessly she made the story of Astrid come to life. By the end I couldn’t wait to get started on my own novel. It was a nice way to fuel my writer’s engine and I don’t need to remind you how expensive gasoline is these days!
I’d love to hear what works for you when you’re stuck in a writer’s jam, whether it’s a cold shower or a tax-deductible Caribbean vacation! Write on…!!

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