Saturday 14 November 2009

Writers Block

If you're a GM writing a game (or a gamer writing a blog) sometimes you will hit a brick wall. The ideas will cease to flow and getting the words out will feel like your trying to pass a gallstone the size of a rock. Writers block can strike at any time and is unmerciful in the face of a deadline. So how can you get round this? Here are a few tips I have used on several occasions to beat the dreaded blank page.

  • Brainstorm - Take the original idea and run with it. Grab a sheet of paper, write a keyword in the centre and write down all the words that pop into your head.
  • Take a break - Don't force it out, you'll do yourself an injury. Sometimes all you need is a break away from the page or keyboard. Take a short break and think about something else for ten minutes.
  • Keep a notebook - I always carry a notebook of some kind around with me. If I have a good idea I write it down. Often this will be a little as a title but it might also be more detailed notes on an encounter or plot theme.
  • Be Inspired - Play some music or look at some pictures or at rulebooks for inspiration.
  • Be Busy - Work on more than one thing at a time and flip between them when you get stuck. This change of tack fends off boredom and might throw up some unexpected crossover ideas.
  • Re-read your work - Sometimes going over what you just wrote can provide you with a fresh look at the concept you’re trying to communicate.
  • Write in Pencil - This is a strange one but I've done it, and it works. Write your last few sentences down on paper using a pencil and watch the words flow again. Changing your writing medium can unlock your mind and writing on paper is at a different speed and uses different parts of the brain to typing on a computer.
  • Surf the net - The Internet is a wealth of ideas and stimuli. Google random stuff, read blogs, look for pictures and just ramble through the strange other dimension that is the world wide web. Inspiration is just a click away.
  • Write about Writers Block - If all else fails write about writers block and how to overcome it.....

Above all remember this excellent quotation:

"At least half of all writing involves just sitting and staring into space. Letting your brain out to hunt down ideas, bringing them back all warm and bloody between its teeth."
(re quoted from WWdN: IN Exile)

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