How To Bust Writer’s Block

It’s never happened to any of us here at TVWriter™, but we hear that this thingie called “writer’s block” can be a real bitch. So, as a totally unselfish public service, we’re happy to bring you yet another article on breaking through if you’re stymied. A very helpful article, in fact. Not that we’d have firsthand experience. Oh no…

shutterstock_94123525by Collyn McCoy

It happens to the best of us. We sit down in front of our computer ready to summon genius from the void and nothing happens. It’s frustrating even if all you’re working on is a thank-you note to grandma for the reindeer sweater she knitted you. But for those of us writing against a deadline, it can be terrifying and potentially career-ending.

Alas, there’s no Cialis for writer’s dysfunction and if you’re a bit OCD like me (hold on a sec, have to go wash my hands for the 47th time), ruminating on your lack of productivity becomes a vicious circle that only makes the problem worse. Of course, a deadline can be a great motivator. And there’s nothing like a pending mortgage payment to set quill to parchment. But sometimes, even the pros need a little help popping the creative cork.

“Don’t think about the whole script or the whole book or the whole play, that can be too abstract and overwhelming.  Write a sentence.  Just one.  How hard can that be?  If you can’t write one damn sentence then why are you pursuing writing?  Good, now that you’ve done that try a second sentence.  Repeat as necessary.” – Adam Rifkin, screenwriter/director, Reality Show, Detroit Rock City, The Dark Backward

“Set the bar low, start writing, and don’t worry about it; you are going to rewrite it anyway.” – Mitch Watson, writer/producer, Beware the Batman, Scooby-Doo! Mystery Inc.

“Just write through it. Take the scene you know you can’t write and write it. Write it badly. Own the fact that it sucks and revel in it. Because the thing we all forget when we’re in the throes of ‘writer’s block’ is that we’re going to be rewriting the damn thing anyway. Writing is a muscle, and sometimes it just needs to be worked out. Start writing the scene badly, and you’ll surprise yourself how quickly it stops being bad. You just have to throw yourself into the groove and trust your muscles. They know what to do even when you don’t.” – Josh Olson, screenwriter, A History of Violence, Masters of Science Fiction, Puppy Love

Read it all