Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The dreaded Block!!

Writer’s block – the scourge of all writers. Actually I think there’s three types. There’s writer’s block where you sit there with your mind completely blank, unable to think of anything to write. Writer’s block where you’re suffering huge self-doubt about your work and little voices keep saying shrilly and insistently, “This is CRAP! What are you doing? This is never gonna get made! You might as well give it up and go and watch 90210!”. And then there’s type three, where you’ve reached an impasse in a character and a plot and don’t know how to proceed.

I can’t claim to have conquered these three monsters, but I’ve developed ways of coping with them. Type one requires you to roll up your sleeves, take out a pad or open a blank screen and just write. Doesn’t matter what. Spill it out and don’t stop for at least five minutes. Once you’ve stopped, read back over it. Somewhere in there is something you can use – I guarantee it.

Type two is a gremlins-killing exercise. No, you don’t need a food processor or sunlight. You need several DVDs of movies with the most badly-written scripts ever. EVER. I mean the worst type of B-movie or else an A-movie with an awful script. Pearl Harbor would do. Or Catwoman. Or this Christopher Lambert film called Fortress. Sit there and watch it all the way through. You’ll be thinking, “God, this is bad! I can write miles better than this shit!” Let the cardboard characters and on-the-nose dialogue sink in. By the end, you’ll be so angry and fired up that you’ll march upstairs and start writing again, simply out of indignation that this crapola made it to the screen. You have a duty to save cinema!

Type Three is a different animal and requires some thought. First of all, if anyone around you is making noise, tell them to shut up. Or if you live with your parents/small children/crazy elderly people, go outside. Take a walk. While you’re walking, think about the character problem or plot roadblock you’re faced with. By the end of the walk, you will have at least part of the solution.

Remember, you can’t stop writer’s block, but you can drive around it. Good luck!

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