Thursday, December 18, 2014

How to Overcome Writer's Block

You've been sweating it out behind the desk, smoking pack after pack of cigarettes, drinking like Hemingway, typing the same sentence over and over again like you're in The Shining. Your dream of becoming a successful writer is being held back by your lack of imagination. Here's a handy dandy guide to getting back on track.

1. Start drinking/smoking/abusing substances more. Every great writer was a drunk. The aforementioned Hemingway, Truman Capote, F. Scott Fitzgerald. David Foster Wallace was addicted to marijuana, somehow. So start slamming back some brews and start typing what comes to mind. If it's nonsense, so what? You've written something. Congratulations.

2. Read more. Doesn't matter what. Cookbooks, advertisements, subway scrawl. It's all relevant and part of the human condition. If an actual novel sneaks its way in there, all the better. I personally become inspired by reading Glamor and Cosmopolitan. Such periodicals really hammer home the banality of existence.

3. Let Yourself Go. This kind of goes with number one. Grow out your beard, stop shaving your legs. Dress in antiquated clothing, but make sure it's filthy and stinking like the clothes of a homeless person. Fart in public. When someone offers you their hand, spit in it. Stop brushing your teeth. Gargle with mayonnaise.

4. Embrace the Occult/Scientology/Black Jesus. You need to believe in something if you're going to be a writer. The crazier the better. A writer is a spewer of bullshit. A writer is a true believer. A writer is one step away from becoming a politician.

5. Put It All Together. The disparate parts of your life, the pieces that don't seem to fit, stick them together with duct tape. Some bastard cut you off in traffic? Murder him in your horror novel. Tired of the predictable banter of your average sitcom? Write a subversive riff on the genre.

6. Start a Blog. No one will read it, but who cares? The blog serves as a sketch pad, an arena for doodling. Art must be presented to other people to be consider art, according to a professor I once had. He was a dwarf with a speech impediment who wrote about Hitler's mustache in his poems.

7. Just Do It. Life is a Nike commercial. 

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