Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Darth Writers Block; An Author's Worst Enemy

*  *  *

She sat, staring desperately  at the blank screen in front of her, her fingers poised over the keys.  The dark figure behind her rested a hand on her shoulder, his presence weighing down on her like a thick, cold blanket.  
Leaning close, he whispered softly in her ear... "Well?  You said you were going to write.  You're free to go; write to your heart's content."
The girl closed her eyes, cringing at the feel of his ice-cold breath on her neck.  "Stop it,"  she said, "why can't you just leave me in peace?"
"Leave you?"  he whispered incredulously.  "Rayne, you know me.  I've been your almost constant companion for years.  Granted, I come and go, but you must admit that I am a much more faithful companion to you than your beloved Sir Inspiration."
"I don't care.  I promised myself I would write, but whenever you're near me, my mind goes black.  My fingers won't respond to my commands.  The words stick in my mouth, and I simply cannot think of what I was going to say.  Why must you torment me so?  Why do you feel the need to plague me so often?"
Behind her, Darth Writer's block chuckled, a smooth, echoing chuckle that spun in her head.  "How I would love to take the credit for such power... but you know that it isn't just me.  It is true that my presence does put a damper on your creativity, grounding you in the real world, but in truth it is yourself that is holding you back."
"Stop-"  Rayne began, not wanting to hear it, but Writer's Block continued.
"Admit it to yourself, Rayne!  You're nothing but a procrastinating sap, full of empty promises.  Do you know how long your friends, sisters, and editors have been waiting for new material?"
"Fine!"  Rayne finally admitted, pulling away from his grasp and standing to face him.  The dark figure stood at least two feet taller than her, making her feel small and helpless, despite her own great height.  
"Enough with your taunts and jabs.  I know I'm procrastinating!  That, however, is mostly your fault.  If you would cease your dominating tactics, I'm sure I could write something.  I'm filled with ideas..."
"...Yet somehow, you never get around to writing them."  Writer's Block laughed.  "Well, don't let me stop your procrastinating ways.  It's alright, I understand.  Why don't you put away your pen... or keys, computer, memory chip, whichever metaphorical term you prefer, and put it off for a while longer.  Let me take this burden from you!  The sooner you admit that you've failed, the sooner you can begin to heal..."
Rayne's eyes hardened, and she glared up at him, determined not to listen.  "Enough of your lies, Darth,"  she  growled, a steely edge entering her voice.  "I've. Had. Enough."
Darth Writer's Block smiled wickedly. "Or you'll do what?  What can you do against me?  Your beloved hero, Sir Inspiration, is nowhere near to save you.  It appears he has other, more important people to visit.  You are a secondary priority to him."
Rayne's eyes darted to her own sword, which rested against the wall, too often unused.  Following her gaze, Writer's Block stiffened, but he still managed to chuckle dismissively.  
"What's this?  The little warrior taking up arms for herself?  Do you really think you can defeat me?"
Grasping her sword, Rayne's eyes hardened as she leveled it's tip with Writer's Block's chest.  "Yes,"  she said with a roguish smile, "I do."

*  *  *

As you may have guessed from my little exercise above, Darth Writer's Block is a frequent visitor of mine.  By now, I've gotten used to it.  I guess you could say, we coexist with one another, and eventually, he'll leave me to my own devices.  However, occasionally (like right now, for instance), he tends to overstay his welcome.  When this happens, there are a few basic methods I use to get rid of him.

1)  I go back to the original inspiration of the story I'm writing.  If I can get back to that feeling that I had when I first started writing, often I can get back into the story itself.  

2)  I change perspective, either by switching to another character's point of view, or going back in the story and following another trail through the twisted labyrinth of the book.  This adds a fresh feeling to the story,  and sometimes that's all you need to get started again.

3)  If those two don't work, then I surround myself with other things that inspire me.  Epic music, other books I've read that are similar to my own, movies that remind me of my story... pictures of beautiful scenery...  anything, really.  If I can draw inspiration from outside sources, sometimes it's enough to rejuvenate my self into action.

4)  If that still doesn't work, then I ask someone to read the story for me and offer their opinion.  My sisters are usually happy enough to do this, and if not, then I'll go to my faithful online forum and have some of my fellow writers read it.  I'm a succor for people's feedback; I have to know what they think.  Who is their favorite character, what is their favorite part, what to they like best about the story, what do they think could improve?  Sometimes, with enough feedback and critique, I can get back into writing the story.

5)  Alright, if I get to this step, I'm pretty desperate.  So what I'll do is I'll STOP WRITING THE STORY.  I'll just take a break and move on to a different story for a while, and concentrate my efforts on that one until the block lifts and I can get back to the original story.

6)  If I've reached this step, I'm in a bad place.  Because if I"m at step six, it means that Writer's Block's influence has spread to all of my other stories, and I'm completely stuck.    I'm praying for my inspiration to return so I can get back to work and feel useful again.
But, alas, what Writer's Block said is true... at this point it isn't just his presence that's holding me back, it's me.  My own procrastination has taken hold, which means there's only one thing left to do!  
Face him myself.  Which is why today, I've resolved to work on my stories, and plow ahead regardless of whether it's flowing or not.  I'll get through this block if it's the last thing I do!

Anyway, I hope this helps any of you fellow authors out there who are in a similar position.  Now, I'm off to see to some siblings of mine, and then it's time to take my given advice!
Eulalia!  Endurance and Victory!  Narniaaa!  For Middle Earth!

-Rayne Speryll


  1. I love this post, Elethia! I struggle with Writer's Block (and his brother, Procrastination) quite a bit as well. I'll keep your tips in mind the next time I need help!

    1. Glad to be of service, milady! ;D Yes, Procrastination, as I've already mentioned, is also a frequent visitor of mine....

  2. A greatly encouraging post, Elethia! I have quite a few struggles with Writer's Block and Procrastination(Like now, LOL) and this has encouraging me to go on and WRITE!!!


  3. This kinda sounds like me when I'm trying to write something for school! I just keep staring at the computer trying to think of how to write!

  4. Hi, Rayne! I just discovered your blog, and this post is awesome! I love how you bring Inspiration and Writer's Block to life with personification. I usually laugh at jokes on the knight-in-shining-armor-theme, so this was hilarious. It has an excellent (or is it depressing?) ring of truth to it, though. You're write about writer's block; you've just got to keep plowing through. It's an excellent exercise in discipline, don't you think? :)

    1. Thank you, Bluebelle! I'm glad you liked it. Thank you for joining, by the way. I hope you enjoy reading!

      If you liked this one, you should check out my later post.... I believe it was in June? Anyways, it deals with Darth Writer's Block's counterpart, Sir Inspiriation. :)
      Welcome to my blog!

    2. Haha! You're welcome! I'll be sure and check that out! :)

  5. I know how this goes, all right. Though I think that Darth Block has a companion in my case--Dark Lord Procrastination. ;-P He is EVIL. ;-P

    1. Indeed, Lord Procrastination is a foul creature. Every bit as imposing as Darth Writer's Block. The worst bit about him is that his influence tends to rub off on us poor writers- he doesn't have to stay very long before we're hopeless procrastinators as well. 0_0

    2. EULALIA!!! *attacks the writer's block monster*
      Incidentally, you read Redwall too?! AWESOME! :-D

    3. Why yes, I have read the Redwall series! :D It was (and still is) one of my favorites when I was younger.