Dealing with the dreaded Writer’s Block.

January 15th, 2011 by Ron

The Script Blogger

Dealing with the dreaded Writer’s Block.

There is no question in my mind that the fear of facing this phenomenon is worst than meeting it.

It is a bit like people saying, they have a fear of heights, or spiders or any other agoraphobia. Often the fear is worse than the reality.

Imagine a surgeon stating he has a fear of blood or a pilot saying he has a fear of flying.

So if you consider yourself to be a writer, claiming at any point in your career that you are suffering from Writer’s Block is a bit like the surgeon refusing to operate because today is one of those days when the surgeon has a Blood Clot.

Or a pilot taxiing around the airport because he can’t face seeing things get smaller as the aeroplane climbs higher, because he is suffering from Altitude Sickness.

Most screenwriters understand the advantage of preparing before starting a script by writing an outline. And almost every writer will admit in their writing process at times their mind goes blank for a short while.

But if you are aiming to be a professional writer making a living from your writing, you have to be able to deliver when others need you to.

Somehow you have to be disciplined enough to force yourself through any real or imagined barrier.

Earlier this week I was contacted by the director of a feature screenplay of mine scheduled to go into production in a few weeks time. He told me that because the budget had been reduced some characters would have to be omitted and the location would be changed to meet the requirements of a co. production company.

We discussed how we could implement some of the changes that would have to be made, then he dropped the Bomb Shell he needed the new draft by Friday.

Three days to completely rewrite ninety eight pages, with character changes, including the complete removal of one main character, new locations and changes to the concept to reduce the special effects requirement.

Not a time to meet Writer’s Block let alone fear it.

I’ve been lucky in that I have never experienced Writer’s Block. Sure there are times when I ponder where to go with a story or how to make pieces of a jigsaw fit when I haven’t got all the pieces, but that doesn’t stop me writing. I write something else until the missing pieces of my jigsaw drop into my mind.

I have a disciplined routine of starting every morning by 8:30, dealing with emails first then visiting the various message boards I frequent, then into the project of the day.

If I find I am struggling for inspiration on one project I switch to another, even if it is just researching the feasibility of an idea, visiting the boards again or writing a Blog.

But the real saving grace when working on a screenplay is having an outline. It gives me a template to work to and in a way that means the creative process has been managed.

Years ago when I worked for Sony, I had to write reports that were often required on the Marketing Director’s desk the following day.

If I claimed I was unable to complete the task because I was temporary suffering from Writer’s Block, no doubt my seven years with that company would have been cut short.

I’ve read that some writers go for a walk; some even have dogs just so they have the perfect excuse to leave their desk.

Others set themselves a meter of writing in allotments of 20 minute spells then at least a couple of pages get completed, especially if only one allotment is endured before an onset of Writer’s Block takes hold.

The truly important aspect of this is to recognise if you are going to be a professional writer somehow you have to find a way to avoid, prevent or get over a bout of Writer’s Block because otherwise it will develop into An Income Block.

Remember, if you are not writing somebody else is and they could take your place.

When you have difficulty with anything you are writing change to something else but keep writing, it will only be a short time before you can resolve what seems insurmountable and you are back on course.

A professional anything cannot say I cannot perform today because I am suffering from a block.

In my mind, self discipline is as much a necessary ingredient as an active imagination is.

4 responses to “Dealing with the dreaded Writer’s Block.”

  1. Sam says:

    Just found your blog (through your post on Shooting People). Really enjoying it! Congrats on getting your script produced, and thanks for the insightful posts.

    All the best.

  2. Schimmel says:

    If most webmasters and bloggers produced very good content as you do,the usefulness and significance would be overwhelming.

  3. Mark Gilvary says:

    Great Post Ron!

    Happy New Year To You!
    … Hope It’s A Great One For You!



  4. bert says:

    Visit the post linking to Ron’s blog on the SimplyScripts discussion board!