K is for Kryptonite

Artwork by Tom Torre (@CopernicusNerd)

Artwork by Tom Torre (@CopernicusNerd)

By Dawn Frederick



There’s nothing more exciting than being inspired. Being inspired to write a book, let alone create new worlds and characters is the essence of the being an author. It’s a special trait that motivates any person to join the path of writing and the birth of a book idea.

Of course along the way, Kryptonite happens. As Superman experienced, there are moments when one hits a figurative wall, the muscles are weak and the ability to keep moving forward with the book comes to a screeching standstill. Yes, we are talking about writer’s block.

This happens to everyone. It happens to writers, sometimes editors, and even agents. It’s the point where the idea feels a tad bit cloudy, and a sense of indirection enters the picture. It’s never a fun thing, but there are ways to overcome this barrier. There isn’t one correct way to deal with writing kryptonite, but alas many of have found ways to get around the temporary wall.

1. Take a walk. Go for a run. Maybe take care of a personal task (like housecleaning). Just do something (anything) that is not related to writing! — There’s something very special about adrenaline, in that it allows a person to get shake off all the nervous energy, and is a great catalyst in helping clear one’s thoughts. Even a stroll outside can get the blood flowing again, and help one’s spirits.

2. Read a book — The best way to get a break from over-focusing on your own idea is to go back to being a perceptive reader. Plus, it puts the writer back in the seat of the audience s/he is hoping to reach as well. There’s nothing wrong with taking a break and appreciating the success(es) of other writers.

3. Take that pent up energy and do new research – Margaret Atwood mentioned during her recent Talking Volumes interview that it’s absolutely necessary to do the research for a book. And that sometimes it will take the author (and the story) to new levels. Maybe new elements and events can be added to the plot. There’s also the possibility new facts will be learned that can influence how the rest of the story moves forward. Speaking for myself, when doing research, I often learn new things I’d never known beforehand, which can be used a later date.

4. Watch a bad TV show, or even a good one, it’s your choice – Yes, I just encouraged writers to watch TV. Not to be a couch potato, but to have a moment to rest the brain. I have no qualms in admitting my love for odd TV shows on A&E, HBO, Bravo, Showtime and even the History Channel. There are days where even watching an episode of Walking Dead will give the brain the necessary rest to do the rest of my work. It should never be allowed to interfere with accomplishing one’s goals, but even a small dose can go a long way.

Writing block is inevitable for any author. The silver lining is that when this kryptonite does visit, new experiences can be had during its brief visit. And know you’re never alone when it happens, this too shall pass.

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