Since Mason has gone on a soul searching mission (or something, I wasn’t really listening), he asked me to write a few posts in his absence. This was a bit daunting for me. This whole year, I have been suffering from a debilitating case of writer’s block. I’ve meant to start writing my own scripts for university, but have been incapable of finding an idea. So Mason decided I write a post about it, as a true cop out.
To me, writer’s block is something I get every time I get given an assignment. For the last couple of months, I’ve had a void of motivation. I love writing, but there is nothing scarier than creating a story. But it is something that you have to deal with as a writer. If you let it get the best of you, you will never finish a script. So, I’ve compiled a short list of methods that can help you shift an idea.
The first is an exercise that was taught to me by one of my lecturers. Think of a four letter word. Any four letter word. Not that one, get your mind out of the gutter! Next, think of four words, each one having the same first letter as each letter of the first word you thought of. The weirder the better. Then see if you can make some sort of sentence or phrase out of those words. Finally, see if you can think of a story from that. It’ll most likely be a strange and brief concept, and it may never go further than that phrase. But it’s forcing your brain to start processing the story. You may start thinking of characters and action sequences. I’ve used this several times as a warm-up before a writing session, and it really does help.
The second tip is something that also gets the mind working. Go for a walk. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a place you visited before or a totally new area. When you’re a writer, you should see everything from a different angle. See how you can make a story from the couple arguing. From the old timer putting their shopping away. Keep your eyes and ears on, because the real world is brilliant. How about getting the train or bus somewhere? Every person you see has a story to tell. See if you can give them a story just by watching them. Mason and I have spent a lot of time people watching, and have decided whether we like that person from a few seconds of visual cues. But they can give some great character ideas. The second week of uni, we went to Blackpool, and were given the task to find something that gives you inspiration for a story. I looked everywhere, from the location to the people to the seagulls. One of those things can be the pebble that is thrown into a pond, subsequently creating large ripples that will follow you to the final full stop.
The third tip is something quite simple: start writing. Can you see how to untie a tricky knot by just looking at it? No, you have to start pulling at it before you can unravel it. Your first few paragraphs may be pointless and unintelligible, but it can help you focus and straighten up. If you can’t figure out how to start a script, leave it till last. Work on a particular scene. Write the ending, then work your way backwards. Writing does not necessarily have to be linear. It can take ages, working at it from several approaches. Personally, I hate endings. Sometimes I just want to write a thousand pages, rather than try and wrap the story up. So I will write nearly the whole script, then wait for days whilst I figure out the perfect end. The mountain isn’t going to move by looking at it, you have to start climbing. Yes, you may get stuck, but that summit will also keep you down until you conquer it.
Please note that there are many ways in which writer’s block can be broken. It is a horrible feeling, but it is possible to defeat. Mason has had it, I’ve had it, it’s normal. But just do something, don’t let it beat you.
That’s all for today, I will continue posting on this page for a while until the prodigal son returns. After all, I am the captain now.
“Don’t waste time waiting for inspiration. Begin, and inspiration will find you.”