A couple of months ago I had an opportunity to (once again) hear the amazingly talented, Kelley Armstrong give a reading and Q & A session at Toronto’s Word on the Street Festival.
Now, I’ve seen Kelley do readings before and I’ve been to quite a few Q & A sessions with her, but there were a couple of things she said this time around that really resonated with me. I know I’ve talked about writer’s block before and my feelings haven’t changed about it…I don’t think it exists with regards to the “muse” and all that, but I wanted to share Kelley’s opinion on battling writer’s block as I felt she really nailed the causes and solutions for it.
What Kelley said:
1) Never sit down without a plan – She told us that she never sits down to work without knowing exactly where she is going in a ms. She said that she always has a direction and if she gets stuck then she takes a break, goes and does some brainless task and lets her mind fix the problem. Like me, she said that she doesn’t do a detailed outline but definitely knows where she’d going before she actually starts writing anything.
2) Don’t let fear take control – She says that sometimes writer’s block can be caused by folks getting scared of the what if’s…like what if this sucks and what if no one likes it and what if…you get the point. Kelley said: you can’t fix a blank page. If you don’t write something you have nothing to work with…and no matter how bad you think it is, it’s probably not that bad….and if it is, well, then that’s what revising is for.
She said a lot of other things too…but these two points really stuck with me and validated what I already believed about dreaded writer’s block.