Ironically, it has taken me days to write this stupid intro that I now hate. I stared at the screen, wrote a sentence or two, then started over… multiple times. I even wrote a couple of drafts of crap that I hated, not caring what it said as long as it said something, ANYTHING and yet I still wasn’t able to find the right words. Writer’s block, you’re a frustrating little bitch!
The way I see it, the brain is a muscle and just like Michelle Obama’s arms, if you exercise it, it will get stronger (and sexier). By exercising my brain and writing everyday, I’m telling it I’m in charge, it’s not. Yes, I know that my brain is the very thing that even allows me to think this way, but somehow I’m able to trick myself.
Of course, sexy as my brain may be, I still get stuck. To get out of it, sometimes I work on another project, other times I’ll go for a walk, or watch a favorite show that’s similar to my own project in hopes of a creative spark. A vast majority of the time, if I literally tell myself not to worry because the idea will come, and then trust in myself that it will, at some point later in my day that idea will indeed show up.
Whether standup, sketch comedian, screenplay writer, playwright or an adorable (and charming) writer for Serial Optimist, we all get stuck, so I asked other comedians, “How do you get out of writer’s block?”
How do you get out of writer’s block?
“I think writer’s block is really just a lack of confidence. I keep writing and, eventually, something that’s funny w/substance develops. Then, I work at shaving it down to see if it can become a new bit. It can take FOREVER, but it’s worth it.” –|
“I write to my muse an apology letter of why I haven’t been writing on schedule. Corny, but you would be surprised at the response I get back. My alter ego is an old black woman who doesn’t take BS for excuses.” –|
“For sketch and playwrighting, I have some wine and just write. The first draft doesn’t have to be good, it just have to be done. You make it good during drafts 2-7… sometimes 2-20.” –Erin Lane | @TheErinLane
“I wait until nighttime, then pick a threatening bright spot in the starry sky. I shout “GET OVER YOURSELF, TELFER!” at it. Then I pretend a hostile alien race will one day receive the message, travel towards Earth with a war armada, and demand to know whether I got over myself. Hopefully I will then be motivated enough to have written something by then.” –Dan Telfer | @dantelfer
“If I just can’t come up with any ideas, I try to intake a bunch of new information for 30 minutes (read blogs, listen to music, look at art, etc.) and then I try free writing to see if anything comes out. Rinse and repeat.” –Dave Urlakis | @daveurlakis
“Change locations. I have about four different cafes I really trust working in. If I find that I can’t work in one I immediately get up and go to another. Luckily, bike weather has returned!” –Ted Tremper | @tedtremper
And then there were those who follow the philosophy that there is no such thing as “Writer’s Block.”
“Don’t believe in it, never have. You either write or you don’t. You can’t have improviser block and writing is like improvising but on paper.” –@jcpoole94|
“First off, I never call it writer’s block. There’s no such thing. People often panic when they’re unable to come up with anything for a little while and that panic is more dangerous than what’s actually going on. Everything ebbs and flows, including creativity. If a person was constantly coming up with gold day after day, they’d probably become exhausted. If you’re sitting down saying, “I have to write something, I haven’t written in ___ amount of time…” then you’re screwed.” –Lisa Laureta | @LisaLaureta
SO Note: Monique Madrid is a comedian out of Chicago. Follow her @moniquemadrid.
*Image via Shutterstock