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Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Writer's Block

Writing Exercises | Milo

A short piece about procrastination and writer's block by Milo

"Ok I'm happy with this paragraph," I think aloud to myself because I talk aloud when I write, and my voice is a low, raspy drizzle of slurred words and nonsense. It works for me though, it helps me to stay on track and to check whether the sentence I have just written flows nicely. 

I start the next paragraph and the first sentence is easy enough: 

"Therefore, he had to take this investigation to the next level, he had to speak to Marta and Paulie and find out whether they held him responsible for what happened."

Fuck, what do I write next?
"Come on," I mutter but the trick isn't working. I force myself to write and to be creative, however the song I am listening to in the background...I don't like this song right now, it's putting me off, I switch to another track. I don't like this one either, I don't like that one, no sorry not in the mood for Cities Aviv, not in the mood for Thrice, not in the mood for Kuedo. I'm pacing my room and I'm looking at the clock; maybe I should take a break? A break will help right? Or better yet, maybe I should just jack off? Yeah I'll jack off.

I'm stuck with that sentence for two weeks and it's glaring at me, staring at me every single time I open up that Word document. I'm bored of it. Ah fuck it! I’ll take another break from writing today, and maybe I’ll be more fortunate tomorrow. 
Another night has passed and I decide to re-read and edit instead of adding something new to the mix, and so I go back and edit what I have previously written. Oh my days, there are so many mistakes! Did I seriously think this was well written? Just proves that you can't trust anybody, not even yourself...

I need something to set me straight, and so I look up at the inspirational print outs posted on my wall; all plucked from the webpages of Brain Pickings. I see tips from writers as diverse as Zadie Smith, Walter Benjamin and Henry Miller. This one picture in particular stands out to me, and it is a black and white image of Henry Miller with the caption:

"When You Can't Create You Can Work."

Hmm, I like that. It works for me. I was too worried about trying to "create", I was too stressed about building the house when weeds still existed in the foundations. I can work. When the words do not flow and you are lacking in inspiration, and you find yourself procrastinating then stop trying to create: work instead. Work on your technique, work on your grammar, check your spellings, read a book, read your book, grab a sheet of paper and map out your story. You can even buy books or search online for writing exercises, but whatever you do it make it easy and work.  

You can jack off afterwards.

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