Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
How to Conquer Writer's Block in the Time of CoVid-19
So normally Carrie writes the podcast part of the podcast and this week she had no idea what to write. Should she write about Covid-19 and try to help people with things to do during their lock downs and times of social distancing? Should she totally ignore that and we go the other route with a happy, fun, dorky and totally non-informative episode? Should she cry?
It turns out that Carrie was thinking too much and giving herself writer’s block. Writer’s block is something Carrie never gets. So, she had to overcome it, right?
So here are some quick steps to overcoming writer’s block in the time of Covid-19.
- Go for a walk if you can go for a walk without coming into contact with anyone else going for a walk.
- Eliminate distractions. If there are other kids in the house or cats, lock them out of the room so you can focus.
- Read a book.
- Write something that isn’t what you’re pressured to write.
- Set a timer and tell yourself that you only have 15 minutes to write so you better hurry up.
- Disconnect your Wi-Fi.
- Close your eyes and listen to a song that you’ve never listened to before. Then open your eyes and write.
- Do a Graham Greene (old British author) and keep a dream journal. Every morning write what you’ve dreamt. This will come in handy some day and it counts as writing.
- Visualize scenes in your story without writing. Just sit and try to daydream. Can you do it?
- Allow yourself to make mistakes, jump around to scenes you can see. Writing does not have to be linear when you draft.
Back in 2016, Maria Konnikova wrote “How to Beat Writer’s Block” for the New Yorker, which touches on the research into writer’s block and it’s pretty interesting.
And way back in the 1950s, a man named Bergler wrote “Does Writer’s Block Exist?,” which was published in American Imago. Bergler said a writer “unconsciously tries to solve his inner problems via the sublimatory medium of writing.” A writer wasn’t lazy or bored. They hadn’t used up their muse and ideas. They just needed therapy. Later psychiatrists learned through studies that most writers blocked for three months or more were indeed unhappy. Was this correlative and how did the causation factors work?
I can’t find that, but what they did determine was that these unhappy writers seemed to be one of four blocked groups:
- Anxious and Stressed Out Authors – Writing no longer gave joy because of emotional distress. They’re are the ‘nothing is good enough’ authors.
- Irritate AF Authors - They were lashing out at others. These are the ‘I don’t want to be compared to others’ authors.’
- Whatever Authors – Apathy rules and they figure there is no point. These are the no daydreams, rules are mean and constricts my creativity’ authors.
- I Am So Freaking Mad Authors – They aren’t sad. They’re really sick of it all and they are so angry and hostile. These are the ‘I am getting no attention’ authors.
I (Carrie) just was teaching an online class to some writers and admitted that I don’t daydream anymore, which is a big deal for me because I used to daydream all the time. A lack of daydreaming is a symptom of a writer who is blocked.
Other symptoms Of Writer's Block:
- Less able to form images in their brains
- Images they do form are more vague than in the past
- Less ambition
- Less joy
- Less creativity
So work on creatively visualizing different things in your book and your life. Imagine what your character eats, what’s happening at the grocery story right now, the best kiss ever. Reawaken your creativity in ways that don’t involve judgement – yours or anyone else’s.
Writing Tip of the Pod:
Turn the wi-fi back on and look up some creative visualizations for authors. Check out the steps we mentioned earlier. You’ve got this.
Dog Tip for Life:
Go with the flow, man.
Writing Tip for the Week:
Imagine your main character is in a Nashville bar the night before the world ends. What music is playing? What does it smell like? How is your character reacting?
WRITING AND PODCAST NEWS
Over 170,000 people have downloaded episodes of our podcast, DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE, you should join them. There will be a new episode tomorrow!
The music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song? It’s “Night Owl” by Broke For Free.
I HAVE A NEW BOOK!
THIS IS WHAT IT’S ABOUT
Rosie Jones, small town reporter and single mom, is looking forward to her first quiet Maine winter with her young daughter, Lily. After a disastrous first marriage, she’s made a whole new life and new identities for her and her little girl. Rosie is more than ready for a winter of cookies, sledding, stories about planning board meetings, and trying not to fall in like with the local police sergeant, Seamus Kelley.
But after her car is tampered with and crashes into Sgt. Kelley’s cruiser during a blizzard, her quiet new world spirals out of control and back into the danger she thought she’d left behind. One of her new friends is murdered. She herself has been poisoned and she finds a list of anagrams on her dead friend’s floor.
As the killer strikes again, it’s obvious that the women of Bar Harbor aren’t safe. Despite the blizzard and her struggle to keep her new identity a secret, Rosie sets out to make sure no more women die. With the help of the handsome but injured Sgt. Kelley and the town’s firefighters, it’s up to Rosie to stop the murderer before he strikes again.
You can order it here.
IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!
My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!
It’s with Steve Wedel. It’s scary and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Buzz Books for Summer 2019. There’s an excerpt of it there and everything! But even cooler (for me) they’ve deemed it buzz worthy! Buzz worthy seems like an awesome thing to be deemed!
Order this bad boy, which might make it have a sequel. The sequel would be amazing. Believe me, I know. It features caves and monsters and love. Because doesn’t every story?
Buy limited-edition prints and learn more about my art here on my site.
Brought to you by Carrie Jones and Shaun Farrar of Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation