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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 20th day of Collecting, Yr 19
The Neopian Times Week 100 > Articles > Coping With Writer's Block

Coping With Writer's Block

by yukinarei

DEEP CATACOMBS - I'm sure many of you have faced this very depressing conversation sometime:

You: Hey, Mom, I came up with a complete cure for writer's cramp!
Mom [mildly interested for once]: What's that, honey?
You: Writer's block.

In essence, the term "writer's block" can be summed up like so:

writer's block (n.): a very irritating event in which a writer attempts to write something, but can't because nothing comes to mind.

I believe the scariest and hardest ordeal in writing is just staring at a blank page of notebook paper (or typewriter paper, or even a blank document in your word processor) and knowing that, no matter what approach you use, you just can't think of anything to write. The more you drain every thought out of your brain, the more nothingness comes to mind. It makes you feel like chucking your notebook, typewriter, or computer monitor outside your bedroom window and into the middle of the speedway.

However, there are very many approaches that you can take to avoid this stressful situation. Some will work, and some will not; it varies from person to person (like a username).

TAKING A BREAK

In all my short history as a persevering young writer, taking a break from writing, nearly always works for me. When I stupidly gaze into my notebook with my exhausted eyes, I close up my writing materials for at least three days. This gives me the opportunity to actually crawl out of my pickle jar and communicate with the outside world without having to worry about how Fiona the Flotsam will escape the dreaded ghost pirates of Kondonu. It also lets my very unsophisticated brain relax and take a break from the fantasy world (unless, of course, I'm currently reading the latest edition of the courageous Shoyru Squadron or the heroic Pant Devil Devil).

So you -- yes, I'm talking to you, the one with the pen, you neenerhead -- should just put your writing utensil back in its box for a few days and actually engage in some kind of sport of concentration and physical ability like Gormball, Deckball, or preferably Headhunting. Relax! You deserve it after punching your screen day and night while trying to come up with a competent story.

JUST WRITE!

Sometimes all you need to do is write. Just write. Here's a little something that I had written when I had to cope with writer's block.

"No! I won't let you" Allison the Acara screeched loudly. Heads from all across the Neopian Bazaar sharply turned their gaze from their editions of the Neopian Times and took a break from their shopping to Allison's terrified eyes.

"Allison... Allison... Allison," her owner, Miss_Mireland, said softly in a tiny chant. Allison gazed up from tear-filled eyes into the hardly sympathetic gaze of her ungrateful owner. "I know this is for your own good. Trust my judgement. I know you would not enjoy living in the pound, as all the owners would have no use for such a pathetic pet. And I know that this is the only way to go if I am to fulfil my reputation as the greatest pet-raiser of all time."

With a strong shove against the Acara's tiny shoulders, Allison felt tears streaming from her helpless eyes onto her red, swollen cheeks as she fell... was this to be her doom? To fall forever into the Wishing Well. She could just barely make out Miss_Mireland's expression turn smug as she was instantly greeted with an assault of insults from other Neopians, and as the Chia Police handcuffed her and viciously tugged her into the squad car...

My point is that once you start writing a random story that first comes to mind (like Allison the Acara falls into the Wishing Well, and then wishes she wasn't so pathetic and more people would care about her, as I have written above) that seems really dumb at first, you can build off of that one particular idea and that once-dumb story suddenly becomes extremely interesting. This means you can start writing a story about that plot, and you have cured your own writer's block.

WHAT IF...

Ah, the final suggestion for digging yourself out of that deep trench. What if? You can build several stories off of just one What if? question. Random examples:

1. What if a giant Grarrl emerged from the ground in Neopia Central and started crushing the whole of Neopia?
2. What if an unlikely hero was suddenly transported to the far side of Neopia?
3. What if my Neopet suddenly turned against me, rebelling for its freedom in the wild?
4. What if Terror Mountain turned out to be an inactive volcano?
5. What if a mad hacker broke through into Neopia and used certain codes to cause terrible things?

It took me less than a minute to come up with five, semi-decent story ideas just off the What if? idea. I could have easily doubled the list in size. Trust me. You have to make a list of What if's yourself, even if your ideas seem really dumb and pointless like mine, to grasp the hand that will pull you out of writer's block.


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