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Posted by Jess - - 5 Comments


I've been a little under the weather lately. Don't worry, it's nothing contagious--or, at least, I don't think it's contagious.

Oh gosh, I hope not. You might want to stop reading now, just to be safe.

You still here? Goodness, you're brave...

My symptoms included
  • lethargy
  • forgetfulness
  • sore fingers
  • carpal tunnel 
  • headaches
  • mild irritability
  • talking to myself
  • sudden outbursts of elation followed by periods of frustration
I checked WebMD and the results were overwhelmingly positive for Brachyscritturapexy*, otherwise known as "Common Writer's Block".

*Sobs* How long does my book have, Doc?

Chill, wouldya? Writer's Block doesn't have to be fatal for your novel. In fact, like broken bones and chicken pox, brachyscritturapexy can actually make your novel stronger and healthier.

Promise.

All you need to do to recover is to remember that old axiom for fixing a strain--you know, that whole "R.I.C.E." thing.
Rest - Give your mind and your body a break. Read a book. Take a nap. Go for a walk. When I was working as a Post-Production Audio Editor at KBYU-TV, my boss taught me to take occasional breaks because, as he put it, "your ears get tired, too." When your ears--or your brain--are tired, you are less effective. You miss things that you normally wouldn't, and you will get frustrated more easily.
Ice - Let it cool. Take a break from the manuscript. Stick it in a drawer and try to forget about it. Think about anything but your book. By the time you come back to it, you will have a fresh perspective. That subconscious of yours is pretty good at working things out without you. Trust it, and give it a chance to prove itself.
Compression - Put a little pressure on it. I started writing another book and the first one got jealous and started cooperating again. But if you don't want to start another book, pick up a new hobby. Learn to crochet. Start a charitable foundation. Get married. Have some kids. Do whatever it takes to make sure you don't have any time for the book and then it will practically force itself into your brain. I can almost guarantee it.
Elevation - Work on improving your manuscript without actually working on the manuscript itself. Do some research. Hone your craft. Read blogs and websites and books about writing books. Participate in other endeavors that stretch your mind beyond writing. Have someone else give you constructive criticism. I like to read more polished sections of my book out loud to friends and get their feedback. The things that they say often trigger other ideas that help me get past the block and start writing again. 
But just as there are a hundred bazillion different pieces of "medical" advice for every malady, there are a hundred bazillion different ways to overcome brachyscrittur--Writer's Block. The R.I.C.E. method worked for me. What methods have you found effective for overcoming Writer's Block?

P.S. Funny story: When I was conducting the mini photo shoot that produced that photograph at the top, my dad walked in and saw my whole set up. He just shook his head and laughed when I said, "There is a purpose behind this, I swear." By now, he knows better than to ask what that purpose is...

*That is my highly uneducated attempt at making up a latin word by combining the roots for "slow" (brachy-), "writing" (scrittura) and "fixation" (-pexy).

    5 Responses so far.

    1. Oh that's so funny. I was about to say ditto, because I've been poorly all week (very unlike me)and all along you're talking about your book. I should have taken more notice of the picture! I love your R.I.C.E. method especially C very funny. Good luck getting back into it!

    2. Love this post, and the new word you created! I've used the whole RICE method for beating writer's block, but never had a label for it. Now I can use the acronym to figure out which element will work best at the time. :)

    3. This is just too funny! Great picture, and love your RICE method (whoever would have thought it would apply to writing as well) :)

      Rach

    4. KO says:

      It's thanks to brave people like you that the victims of Brachyscritturapexy no longer have to live in shame and fear.

      Love it! I definitely use "read a book" and "work on another MS" as cures.

    5. AKG says:

      Ha—Clever! All useful advice.

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