I’ve written about writer’s block before. I’ve written about the soul-eating ennui that makes writing seem impossible. I’ve written about pushing through writer’s block to defeat it. But the number one way I’ve found to defeat it, not only to produce pages but to get yourself on the creative wavelength again, is this:
Find somebody. A friend, an acquaintence whom you get along with. Maybe they’re a writer, or maybe it’s their first time playing with development. And then talk about an idea one of you has in development. If you click on that idea, and you start bouncing off each other creatively, I’ve found it has the magic effect of not just making you more interested in that project, but all creative works. It defeats the block. Why?
Because the block is composed of an inability to get excited, usually because you’ve been working on an idea for days and there’s no fresh elements you can use to pump yourself back up again. You love the ideas you have, you love your characters, but it’s like the idea has settled: you have love, but it isn’t generating any creative energy. Once you get going, once your creativity is flowing, moving forward is easy; you just need that burst of energy and excitement to get moving.
It’s what comes at the core of my Write Through the Block post: in order to generate creative energy, you need to put in regular energy until your brain picks up on something in the project that’s new and exciting. As I wrote, “Two characters start a conversation that just works, driving forward with ease. An action sequence turns when you realise the best obstacle that pulls you in and makes the tension more urgent. Your characters enter a location that blossoms within your minds eye, creating a playground you can’t wait to enjoy painting in Final Draft for everyone to see.”
Those can come from the agony of writing without an energy source, but the creative process of development is much more effective because it builds its energy almost effortlessly, when it works. You can go from talking tentatively about the idea to generating new ideas, new criticisms, new potentialities very quickly, and that energy doesn’t typically vanish when that conversation is over. I’ve found it to be transferable, as long as you don’t let it fade.
Give it a shot, when you’re in a funk. Call your best friend to discuss that graphic novel you never wrote. Pitch your screenplay idea to your roommates. Ask your mom about that short story she wants to write. The creative process is a powerful, powerful thing.