First chapter of my new book Write Something!
Why you should read this book
One of my first memories with writing, was of seeing my mother sitting at our kitchen table leaning over her typewriter. She wrote screenplays, and when she wasn’t working her butt off to put food on the table, she directed plays at a local children’s theater. I always got bit parts in Pinocchio, and The Legend of Sleepy Hallow. Alas, my career as an accomplished actor was never to be, I was horrible at it. I had no desire to be an actor, I enjoyed the backstage, I liked reading the script, more than I liked acting out the script. At a certain point in my young life, I realized that I wanted to write the scripts. I wanted to come up with my own stories, I wanted to get lost in my own worlds.
I used to sit and stare at my mom as she wrote for hours, churning out page after page. She was unstoppable, she connected words into sentences like a machine. One day the table would be devoid of paper, and by the next day there’d be a stack that seemed to reach for the ceiling. In a week or so, she would be looking at a first draft. My Mom was a writer! I wanted to be like my mom, I wanted to write. I mean what little kid sits and watches somebody write? My mom, in her infinite wisdom picked up on that and gave me one of her notebooks to write my masterpiece.
I was filled with a sense of pride as I sat at table with my mom and wrote my first story. It was about Star Wars, and it would be more awesome than the original. I was writing fan fiction before fanatical fiction was even a thing, I was pretty progressive if I do say so myself… My notebook filled with my small vocabulary, (hey I was seven years old.) I would adapt my story into a play, complete with props made of grocery bags, and moving boxes. My niche was found, I had a clear grasp on what I wanted to do with my life. Those were great days, writing was my escape when I didn’t have any friends. Sometimes it was my therapist on days when I had no one to talk with. As I got older, a way to unload my mind of all the dramas that had happened throughout the day. Writing became my identity.
I think I still have the notebook somewhere. Considering I can never throw away anything I have written down on a piece of paper, (I might need that notebook someday, don’t judge!) Boxes of my writing that will never see the light of day sit mouldering in my garage. Reading books and writing were always second nature, much like it is with you. I never had to work hard with writing, the words I could pluck out of thin air. I didn’t know where they came from, they would just pop into my head, and I would write them. I never had to sit down in front of a computer screen or a piece of paper and think until my brain turned to mush. Until one day about three years ago, my writing turned on me. My friend for years had left me cold and alone, in a state of shock. My computer had turned into Medusa. If I stared long enough it would freeze me in mid sentence. For the first time in my life I was experiencing what those “other writers” called Writers Block.
I woke up just like any other day, ate my breakfast and sat down to write, and nothing came out. After a few minutes of just sitting in frustration I got up from the computer, dismissing my lack of writing on being preoccupied about something. After about three months of this I became scared. Writing would come in fits and starts and that flow that I had experienced all my life had escaped me. I asked myself many scary questions over those three months. Would I ever be able to write again? What would I do other than writing? Did I have a damn brain tumor? After writing numerous words a day, and a blog post on any given day, I was down to a trickle of words. The anxiety of never being able to write again had me in its grip. Whether I liked this situation or not, writers block was here to stay. Unless I did something proactive to cast this curse away.
For months I rambled around the Internet trying to find any articles on Writers Block. Why does this happen? What were the causes? I needed answers! All I found were sympathetic blog posts, stupid memes of people pulling their hair out, and goofy ideas on how to get rid of this dreaded block. I came to realize that no one who writes wanted to talk about writers block, almost like football players never want to go see another injured teammate in the hospital. The writers I encountered, just wanted to give it a label and be done with it. Giving no advice to the person experiencing the Writers Block. Giving not being able to write, a label does nothing for the person experiencing Writers Block. Getting them to realize that Writers Block isn’t one thing all to it’s own helps a writer! Writers Block as one thing does not exist, it’s many things that stop you from writing. Once you can see these specific anxieties for what they are, you can do something about them, and get back to your writing.
Over the next month, I narrowed these causes down to 6 major factors that make up Writers Block, and created a system to deal with them, so I could get my words back on the page. It was slow at first, but going deep into my mind and figuring out why I wasn’t writing did more for me than the vague blog post ever did. The system I used I will share with you in the coming pages. I call what I did a system, but it’s just a group of no nonsense exercises that are very easy to use when Writers Block rears its ugly head, rendering you paralyzed. These exercises will open your mind, and dissolve the block so to speak.
As a writer like you, I can sympathize on how frustrating it can be to see the words are accumulating in your head, but they won’t go from your brain to the page. It’s a desperate feeling, almost like walking around a dark room without a flashlight. I teach you how to fashion a flashlight out of thin air, and show you that the flashlight has always been waiting for you in that dark room you call your mind. My writing came back because of these exercises, and now I always have a flashlight when I am in the dark with my writing. I am back to writing when ever I want, and how much I want. Which is a good thing. Because if you’re like me writing is a big part of your life. The road back from a trickle to a rhythm and flow took a little while, but it was worth it.
So, I am just like you. I question myself, I sometimes lack faith in my writing. I toil night and day over something I have written. The best advice will always come from someone who has experienced what you have experienced, and come out on the other end with a new passion for their skill. I have experienced all the things in this book to the fullest degree, and I am still writing, still creating. You are no different, but sometimes in life we need someone to tell us it’s going to fine, you will get through this.
This book is for you. From students racking their brains at night trying to write a term papers, to the aspiring fiction and nonfiction author who wants to finish that book that nags at them every time they see that pile of notes sitting on their desk. Your writing yells out at you to finish, but you just can’t seem to get around to it. This book is for the writer that lies awake at night dreaming of that story they know will be great if they could just get it down on paper.
Everything is writing. Anything that has seen the light of day on this Earth had to be drummed up in someones mind and written down on a piece of paper. You need to get back into the game… The words you write are important to our collective culture. If you have ever struggled with writing please read this book. I wrote it for you.
Want to read more? Write Something is available For purchase on Amazon. Click here