Monday, September 15, 2008

Deadlines & Writer's Block

I have a book manuscript due in two weeks. I'm roughly (and I mean roughly) halfway through. Don't tell my editor.

Sigh. I wish I wouldn't always work right up until the deadline, but inevitably I do, whether it's a research paper or paying bills or washing my son's football uniform--I'm always pushing the deadline.

For me a deadline is like a carrot dangling just out of my reach. The closer I get the faster I run.

Until I get stuck. Like now. Several times this weekend I opened the computer file containing my book manuscript. I scrolled to the place I where I last wrote and...

Nothing. Zip. Zilch. Nada.

This morning I woke up early hoping that cavernous empty page would be less imposing after a good night's sleep.

Nope...still nothing.

So I cleaned the bathroom.

I also did something else that actually got me over the hump. I took my topic with me and mulled it over while I scrubbed. I determined not to think about anything else until I figured out what I was supposed to write next.

And it came to me.

Writer's block is no fun--especially when there's a looming deadline.

The next time you're up against a wall, try taking a proactive step away from the computer. Take a piece of your story with you and ponder it while you're doing something completely unrelated.

You'd be surprised what comes to you as you peer into the toilet bowl.