Posted by: michellemuldoon | September 20, 2010

Who’s Afraid Of A Big Bad Block?

Not me! Yeah! No way! At least that’s what I keep telling myself, and usually, it’s true. Every block passes, and I don’t know why. Frankly, I could also care less why. The important thing is, it does. And knowing that should provide me with some relief, but it rarely does.

So, my question is, what to do in the meantime? Is there a way to make it pass more quickly? (Okay, so that’s a couple of questions, but who’s counting?) 

All I can do is give you my answers, and hope they resonate a little with you, and maybe something that works for you, will resonate with me. So, please feel free to share. If misery loves company, then relief from misery loves a party.

When I get writer’s block, I tend to throw my hands in the air and not fight it. I think the more you stress about the block, the worse it gets. It’s like freaking over an exam in university. At some point you were better off going to bed and retaining whatever you can, than staying up for an all-nighter and being too exhausted to remember a thing.  Don’t focus on the block, focus on something else.

That “something else” helps to take care of the question, what to do in the meantime. Since I’m focused on writing features, my answer is, write a short. I like to change the pace when I’m feeling blocked over a specific story, but because I don’t like starting another feature and leaving it, I prefer to write a short screenplay. What’s great about it is, it has a beginning, middle and an end, and you can finish it before getting back to the feature. For me, that feeling of accomplishment, of finishing something,  really helps to break my writer’s block.

I believe it’s important to write, in some way, in some fashion, even when you have little time, little inclination and little inspiration.  I think those are often the symptoms of writer’s block.

How do I choose a topic for a short? How many pages do I like to write? Is the genre or nature of the story important?  I think we all know what my next blog will be about, don’t we?

So, tell me, how do you swat that pesky writer’s block? Do you do something different? Do you buckle under the strain? Do you consume vast quantities of red wine and chocolate? Do you travel to the ends of the earth, or at least to the corner mall for said red wine and chocolate? Or do you huff and puff and blow that big bad block down?

Inquiring minds want to know. Honest, we really do!



  1. This might seem strange to you but I think writer’s block is a loss of emotion; at least that’s what it is for me. Alright hear me out on this. You’re out for a walk and suddenly this great story pops into your head. You start developing these emotions and start building different characters in your head as you’re walking…everything is beautiful. When it is time to write/type the story, all emotions sometime disappear and we start focusing on what we think the character(s) should say.

    To summarize what I am trying say, if we feel the story, the words will just flow. That’s my opinion.

    Oh by the way I love the little bit about wine and chocolate.

  2. I can definitely see where you’re coming from. I’m not an outliner, I tend to formulate in my head and write the first draft. I’m bogged down on my latest only because I can’t see where the “B” story is going. It isn’t ringing right for me, and I think you’re correct, I’m not emotionally invested in it ,yet. Really good point.

  3. I don’t know if I ever have a block. I do have a lack of inspiration at times, mainly due to everyday stuff sapping creativity and time.
    When inspired, it’s effortless. The characters take care of it for me and I give them credit for doing the work. When not, I just try to get whatever thoughts I have on the page and, when I get inspired, clean it up.
    On my first feature, I knew there needed to be a tie-in that was missing to link characters from three stories. I went on to something else. One day, it just came to me and filling in the hole was easy.
    I just keep remembering what John Cleese said at the Screenwriting Expo. If you get stuck, don’t force it. You’ll eventually get unstuck. You do.

  4. Ron, welcome to the blog! I agree, sometimes just letting things be can be the best remedy. My problem is, that I can get a little anxious when too much time (in my mind) has passed. But I do believe that you have to keep the faith that the break, and the inspiration, will come when it’s supposed to.


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