I’m mostly a fiction writer, but I think the process to overcome writer’s block that I am about to detail will work for almost all kinds of writing. In fact, this process may work for Creativity (in general). This process won’t work for every artist, but hopefully it helps a few.
Writer’s block is a nasty illness that leaves a writer unshaven and with bloodshot eyes. Times of blocked creativity can bring a writer to the edge of mental breakdown and/or suicide. It’s important to see writer’s block as a phase, and as a phase, a writer can indulge in his writer’s block and move into the block, become the block, and finally, by doing so, dissolve it.
But that has nothing to do with my process of removing writer’s block. My process is the quick and easy way. My process, which I’ve just discovered, circumvents the real issues nestled in that famous quagmire called the Writer’s Block, but aides the writer into overcoming the block with a new stage of rebirth and re-enhancement.
I don’t care for excessive drinking. I’m not 18 any longer. As the reclusive writer, E.I. Lonoff, in Philip Roth’s The Ghost Writersays: “I turn sentences around. That’s my life. I write a sentence and then I turn it around. Then I look at it and turn it around again. Then I have lunch” (17, 18). But if you’ve been turning around sentences for days, weeks, months, or years, and you’re just not ‘feeling it’ any more, it might be time to put your physical body at risk. E.I. Lonoff says it perfectly, and the fellow writer knows that sometimes turning around sentences every day is the most banal and damning thing to do, yet the writer oftentimes knows nothing else. Which is why I’m giving you my secret.
Alcohol dims your lights for awhile. Alcohol deadens your brain. Alcohol slowly poisons your body (the good news is you can recover from that poisoning, if you don’t take it too far).
Use this government sanctioned poison for one evening. Start early, maybe 4pm, and start sipping beer, or rum, or whatever you prefer. Enjoy the process of getting drunk. Listen to Guns N Roses, or Vivaldi. Whatever does it for you. And loosen up. Take pleasure in killing your brain cells. Take pleasure in stressing your liver. This is only Step 1. So have fun with it.
The process gets ugly after this.
Go Out (to the bar with friends, if you have any)
It’s important that you go out to the bar after you’re ‘buzzing’ hard. You need to encounter people now that your brain is deadened and your inhibitions are loosened. If you’re a male (this article is directed at male artists because I’m drawing from experience here, and I happen to be male in this current incarnation), go out with males. Don’t take a female or anybody to whom you’re sexually attracted. Go out with the boys, as they say. And get ‘drunker’ at the bar. Buy a round for your friends, and let them buy you a round. Dance if there’s a band.
When you feel like you’ve had enough alcohol, let your buddies buy you another round. Take it to the edge. Tonight is special; you’re breaking something that needs to be broken.
Females & Eros
For the reclusive writer, this next step is usually difficult. Not every writer is reclusive, and some may find this part easy. Either way, it’s necessary in the process to overcoming writer’s block. While you’re drunk and hopefully dancing around, spilling beer on strangers, you need to grab a girl’s hand. If she’s even slightly attractive to you, that will do (don’t expect Helena Christensen [she may be out of your league], but read about Helena, Sex & Cheese here). Grab her, dance with her, touch her back, rub her neck, feel her hair, and then move in for the kiss.
For those of you male writers who have trouble with the opposite sex, and wish to keep it legal, try Nutmeg, the Viagra for Women: A Fitting Look at Sex & Spice (read here)
You will want to move fast because you’re going to need to take her home when the bar closes. So make a heavy impression, and don’t leave her the option of ‘getting away’.
To wrap this up, I’m going to fast forward to the moment after you’ve just engaged in risky behavior on the couch with the female you’ve brought home from the bar (either to your house, or your buddy’s house, or maybe she took you to her house). Now that you’re too drunk, and you’ve relieved your animal’s desire, it’s time for the next step.
Puking & Purging
If you’ve done everything right, you will feel nauseous at this point in the process. Writer’s block is still on top of you, not to mention “what’s her name”, but now you have to run to the bathroom. Don’t be afraid to purge what you’ve binged all night. This is part of your rebirth. Nobody likes to puke, but since you’re plagued with writer’s block, trust me, puking feels kind of good.
Escaping From “What’s Her Name”
I hope you didn’t fall in love with her. She’s not someone you’re supposed to fall in love with. Love will ruin this process, and you will have to start over at ‘Getting Drunk’, and since that’s mostly unpleasant, I suggest you don’t fall in love.
For insight into love: Sex Doesn’t Manufacture Love, an Angel Says, so Sex Should No Longer Be Called Love-Making (read here)
I suggest you call what happened with the female from the bar an ‘episode of relief’. I suggest you call it ‘fun’, and nothing else. But, it was necessary, and now you must escape. Get rid of her; send her home. If you’re at her house, leave while she’s sleeping. If you leave before the sun comes up, that’s good. And if you still feel sick at that point, even better.
So far, blocked writer, you’ve done an excellent job.
Eating, Coffee, & Rebirth
The rebirth is beginning, and if your night was ugly enough, you will feel like a new human. You will feel sick, but you will eat something amazing like steamed Brussels sprouts and lentils. And then you will have a cup of strong coffee without cream, and without sugar. I stress that last point. The coffee needs to cleanse you. It will make your bowels move. No lattes or mochas. If you do that, you will have to start over at the beginning.
While you’re sipping that strong cup of coffee, you must sit at your computer or notebook and “turn around a few sentences.” You must look over whatever you’ve been working on, or, if you haven’t been working on anything, begin by writing something new.
At first, this will be painful; your head hurts, your liver aches, you’re dehydrated (so drink a lot of water with your coffee), and you miss that girl. Turn on your favorite rock ‘n roll (or opera), and kick out a few sentences. Ride the rebirth. The coffee will take hold, will bring you back from that ugly mess you created last evening, and you will reach a new creative height.
Part of this stems from knowing you’re not drunk any longer, and the worst is over. You may wish to empty your bowels to aid in the feeling of ‘lightness’. Rejoice! You are no longer puking, and the hangover is slowly subsiding, and will only get better.
And write with this new high. Write a new sentence. Give it a shot. Turn that sentence around. Try again. You’re brand new! (watch an example of being “brand new” here) You just forgot.
Here are a few sentences to get you started (feel free to use them [and email me if you have any success; I’d love to hear from you]):
Beneath Johnson’s left eye was a cluster of freckles patterned like the Big Dipper, and I connected them with my favorite ballpoint pen while Johnson was passed out.
The floorboard squeaked when he stepped through the saloon’s door. “Don’t take another step,” somebody said.
The hare, caught in Sheila’s headlights, jumped straight into the air and slammed into the car’s windshield.