Your story has been barrelling along: the plot is in full swing, the characters are practically jumping off the pages, they’re so real. *Rip the needle off the record* All of a sudden, from out of nowhere, writer’s block shows up like an unwelcome guest, like a bad smell you can’t quite trace and sits on top of your computer or your notebook, eating all the cookies in the house and refusing to budge. Not only that, but writer’s block is starting to whisper in your ear, telling you that smell is you, that you’re a hopeless imposter who really can’t write and you’re just embarrassing yourself.
Before you go all Don Music, slamming you head into the metaphorical piano keys, screaming “I’ll never get it! NEVER!” Let’s take some well-worn advice from writing guru Anne Lamott, author of Bird by Bird, Advice on Writing and Life. Start by giving yourself a short assignment. Worry not about the rest of your story:
I go back to trying to breathe, slowly and calmly, and I finally notice the one-inch picture frame that I put on my desk to remind me of short assignments. It reminds me that all I have to do is to write down as much as I can see through a one-inch picture frame. This is all I have to bite off for the time being.
The next time writer’s block drops over like an unannounced relative asking for money, show it the door by taking Anne’s advice to heart with a short assignment. Pretty soon, writer’s block will shove off for good, to darken someone else’s door.