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12/18/2001 - THE ONE AND ONLY 100% GUARANTEED CURE FOR WRITER'S BLOCK
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THE ONE AND ONLY 100% GUARANTEED CURE FOR WRITER'S BLOCK


My Fellow Writers,

Writer's block sucks. But it's a fact of life. It's like coughing and sneezing are to breathing - an annoying, yet inevitable function of it all.

Speaking of bodily functions, this week, I'm going to talk about one that is the one indisputable cure for writer's block: Vomiting.

I went to lunch this week with a veteran series writer and talked to him about writer's block. This is a guy who has been a producer on one of the STAR TREK series, as well as a ton of others. This guy has kicked out a lot of good scripts over the years. When I asked him what he does to get around blocking, he said it just like that: "You've just got to vomit."

This doesn't mean you need to become bulimic. It means that there are times when you need to absolutely kill the critic and write whatever comes to mind on your project. Vomit it out - most of it will be absolute dreck. If your critic tries to judge any of it, write twice as fast - until that damn critic shuts up for good. Call it "vomit," and that way you'll have no standards for it.

This works no matter where you are in the process. If you haven't figured out how to research, then vomit. You'll find yourself writing about how to research. And maybe by the end of the spell, you'll have some kind of idea of where to go next. If you find yourself unable to write a scene, vomit. Soon, you'll be writing one terrible scene after another. And if you write long enough, you may even come up with a line or two that you can use. But even if you don't, you have to go through the exercise. Get your fingers working again. Open up that part of the brain that has been blocked by your morbid fear of putting something crappy on the page.

Wait, in fact, don't think of your computer screen as the page - it's too much of a commitment. Think of it as a workspace - the place where you put your thoughts down so you can edit them. That might help to further quash any standards you might otherwise have for your rough draft writings. Because we all know that being critical of rough draft work can just be a paralyzing experience.

That's it. The cure for writer's block. Now you've got no excuses.

I'm off to regurgitate a few scenes myself.

Blah,

Grady

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