If you ask me, writer's block is just an excuse that is the same as saying, "I'm too damn lazy to write anything right now." I don't have any problem with a writer not feeling like writing, but I do think we should cough up the truth if we are not writing. If your life depended on coming up with something don't you think you could?
Okay, so you're at a standstill with your current work in progress or you have an idea for a story but don't know how to start. You're having trouble forcing yourself to write. Well, then force yourself to write something else. Forget about trying to make something up. Write about you. Write the story of your life. Surely you know that story.
When faced with the concept of writing memoir some people might balk with the claim that their life is not interesting or they haven't done anything special. So what the heck, write about it anyway. I'm not talking about mundane journal entries or Daytimer schedule planner entries; I'm talking about you telling what you did today, or yesterday, or once upon a time on that special day of your life. Make it creative. Turn it into a tale.
Maybe you just went to the grocery store today, bought some groceries, and came home. Come on--think! There's so much more to this story. How did you get there? What did you see on your way? What was playing on the radio? Did someone else go with you? What did you talk about? What kind of car do you drive and how's it running anyway?
Now you're getting somewhere. What store did you go to? Did you see any particularly interesting people? Who did you see there and what did they look like? What was on sale? How much did things cost? What did you buy? How did you pay for it? How are your finances? Will you have enough to get through the month?
"Bor-r-r-ing!" You may say. Make it interesting--you're the writer. Throw in adjectives and adverbs, metaphors and similes, or whatever else you can grab out of your writer's trick bag. Add some humor, inject some action, or elicit pathos. Paint a vivid picture that the reader can see, hear, and sense in every way. Sometimes everyday experience can be the most interesting because we can all relate to it.
Think about the stand-up comic's routine. What makes it all so funny is that we can usually picture it because we've been there. Next time you're listening to a comedy routine focus on why it's funny. A great deal of the humor comes from the presentation, but familiar story content makes us nod our heads with the realization that we get it--yeah, we've been in that same situation and know exactly what the comic is talking about.
Or what about that friend or co-worker who always holds our attention with a riveting story. Why? Again, presentation is a big part of it, but our ability to connect to what is being said makes a big difference in keeping us interested. Conversely, think about the person who tells the dull boring story. Maybe we can also relate to that person's story, but do we care? The way the story is told can be a big snooze-a-rama without presentational pizzazz tossed into the mix.
Try it out. Next time you're bemoaning that you've got writer's block, stop what you're doing and tell your life story. Not necessarily your whole life story, but maybe what you've done since you woke up that morning or what you did before going to bed the previous night. It might end up being a better story that the one you wanted to write in the first place.
Instead of using the esoteric term of writer's block or the artsy complaint of lacking inspiration, just tell it like it is. I'm too damn lazy to write, too distracted to write, or I just plain don't want to write whatever crap I'm supposed to be writing. Hmm--maybe you can write a story about why you feel that way. And please make it an interesting story.
What's your opinion of writer's block? Have you ever tried stand-up comedy? Do you find it easy to write about your life?
On Wednesday my special guest will be Karen Walker who will be visiting Tossing It Out as part of her Following the Whispers blog book tour. Karen's someone who can tell about writing a memoir and she'll be here to give us a few tips on the Do's and Don'ts of memoir writing.