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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

That Ugly Writer's Block by @lanceerlick



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That Ugly Writer's Block

Writer’s block plagues many writers at least sometime during their writing careers. They stare at a blank page and nothing comes forth.

I’ve been fortunate in that so far I’ve not run into writer’s block as described by others. I attribute this to my approach and understanding of how writing works. The human mind has two ways of experiencing the writing process: creative and editorial critique.

It’s a natural response to parental, teacher, and peer critique of our writing over the years to have an editor sitting on our shoulder. That critical editor says things like, “That won’t work.” “That’s not the right word or best way to say it.” “You can do better.” “That’s trash.”

If we don’t turn off the editor in our head, the editor will stifle the creative process and we’ll get nothing written. There will be plenty of time later to rework our story and polish it. Creative writing is like modeling clay. We can’t properly mold the clay until we get it on the spinning wheel.

Assuming we can silence the critical editor on our shoulder, the other problem I’ve seen with writer’s block is trying to write before we’re ready. We’ve gotten our protagonist into a fix and have no idea how to get him or her out. For these problems, it helps to step back and let the subconscious mind mull the problem over.

While writing Rebels Divided, I ran into this problem. I needed Annabelle and Geo to meet in such a way that would throw them together despite their mutual distrust. Rather than trying to push through this dilemma and face writer’s block, I moved around it to write other parts of the story. When I come back later, the answer seemed to present itself in what I hope readers will find creative and satisfying ways. Forcing the answer rarely seems to provide good results, at least for me.


Meet Lance Erlick
Lance Erlick grew up in various parts of the United States and Europe. He took to stories as his anchor and was inspired by his father’s engineering work on cutting-edge aerospace projects to look to the future. He studied creative writing at Northwestern University and University of Iowa.

He writes science fiction, dystopian and young adult stories and likes to explore the future implications of social and technological trends. He’s the author of The Rebel WithinThe Rebel Trap, and Rebels Divided, three books in the Rebel series. In those stories, he flips traditional exploitation to explore the effects of a world that discriminates against males and the consequences of following conscience for those coming of age.

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