How To Write When You Have Nothing To Say
A major fear, I think, of people who set themselves the seemingly impossible task of saying something new and fresh on a blog, a novel—or any writing venue—once or more per day is, “what if I don’t have anything to say?”
I am immediately reminded of the audio comedy sketch wherein the Sports Reporter is interviewing the centipede as the many-legged bug is waking along the street.
“How do you keep from tripping over your own feet,” he asks. …at which time the centipede starts to think about it, trips, and falls down.
“But, Reverend Wright! What does this parable mean?”
Heh. Glad you asked. Brothers and Sisters, we are talking about a myth. The myth of Writers Block. It does not exist.
“But wait!” You exclaim, “It does! I have it even as I type this… Oh. Wait a minute. I think I get it.”
I think you get it, too. But for the rest of us in the hall today, perhaps you could elucidate?
“I think what you are saying is that Writer’s Block isn’t so much as a stoppage as it is a cause for taking a detour.”
Right in one. Look at it like this: You’re in the middle of an important scene. Your character is held captive by a gun-toting baddie with little or no respect for human life. Hero is bound. Time is running out, and you need a good escape, but nothing springs to mind. Your brain shuts down, and you find yourself humming the lyrics to Beethoven’s Fifth under your breath. In other words, you’re dead in the water.
This is the time to stop what you’re doing. If you buy into the myth that you are blocked, you will be. If, on the other hand, you set the troublesome scene aside and move to another scene, one that is perhaps amorphously outlined, one that can, perhaps, go just about anywhere, you will find you have side-stepped the supposed blockage.
“But, reverend, that means…”
Yes. That means that what appears to be a Writer’s Block is no more than a ROAD block. And what do we do when the road is blocked?
“We… we… well, we back up, and look for another way to get where we’re going. I see! I see! It isn’t that I don’t have anything to say, it’s just that the particular road I’m on RIGHT NOW… is the wrong road for me. Today.”
There you go.
“But… but, what if I try to switch roads and STILL find I have nothing to say?”
I um… I’ve got nothing to say about that.
Note: Actually, Reverend Wright has lots to say about that, and will be getting to it in the near future.
Writer’s Block: When your imaginary friends won’t talk to you.