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OTHER ITA SITES:
Beating Writers Block: Melting The Sea Of Perfection
You're staring at the computer screen or a sheet of typing paper.
Right before you sat down to write, you had a ton of great ideas.
Then you sat down and POOF! They're GONE! Just like a wave from the Wicked Witch of the West's magic wand. Doesn't matter that she got creamed under a house. That muse squelcher is still running around giving you writer's block.
The good news: the words really are there. They're just frozen in the Sea of Perfection. You know -- the voice that says, "that's no good", "what kind of crap is that?", "you'll never win the Pulitzer with that dreck," "you're not Shakespeare, you know." And on and on.
The bad news: You have to warm them up before they'll poke their little heads out of the frigid waters and land on the page (or computer screen).
Before you can get the perfect words to come out and turn into a story, you have to write down all kinds of UNperfect words.
This takes a lot of practice. It's really hard for writers to put down the wrong word. Here we are trying to express something and yet we can't find the right word. So nothing gets put down at all. And, at some point, a lot of us give up and go away, hoping the muse will strike another day and maybe then we'll get something written.
Doesn't work that way.
The only way to get the muse to come out and play is to start putting words down on paper. Doesn't really matter what the words are. Just as long as you are typing or putting down SOMETHING, you are melting the Sea of Perfection.
My favorite technique is to start writing ABOUT the story I'm working on. It's a great way to sneak up on the whole writing thing. And, because you're only writing ABOUT it, the really annoying, pain in the muse perfection god can't criticize anything you put down.
Start by writing (or typing): "So I had this idea for this scene where [character name] ________________" and see where it goes.
Just the physical act of putting down the words gets you thinking about your story and gets your mind to start creating something. As you put down your ideas about a scene or character, the muse gets involved, the Sea of Perfection begins to melt and the words that were trapped in the ice start slipping onto the page. And the more you play with them, the warmer they get.
Here are some more phrases to start off with:
"I want to have a scene where _________ happens and [character name] does ____ and _____________" and then see what shows up.
Just make notes about the scene. I can guarantee you that if you do this, and stay in your seat for your entire writing stint (however long you've decided it should be), you will end up writing at least part of the scene.
And here's the other good news. It STILL doesn't have to be perfect. In fact, it probably won't be. Doesn't mean you've destroyed civilization or even earned an extra ticket to purgatory. Just means you got some words down and moved your story forward a little and tomorrow you'll tweak it a bit and fix it or make it better and then get a little more done.
Remember, it only has to be on paper. You're not perfect. No one is. Even Stephen King revises his manuscripts. And if Stephen King or Hemingway or Dickens or Twain or any other writer in the world doesn't have to be perfect, who are you to be the first one?
So sit down and and tell me (IN WRITING), who is in this scene and what is it they need to do?
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