You guys, this post is from one of my favorite people on the planet. She was one of the first 3 Ohio authors I met and helped inspire this event. I’m so glad to have her back, welcome to Thin Space author Jody Casella!
Coloring My Way through Writer’s Block
by Jody Casella
A few years ago someone asked me at a book-signing what I did when I was stuck in a writing project. I threw out a handful of strategies that had worked for me over the years. Basically, the advice boils down to putting your butt in a chair, whether you feel like writing or not, and writing. Set a timer and a word count goal. And get to work.
The truth is–what I did not admit to the questioner–was that I did not believe in Writer’s Block. Sure, I’d had days when I struggled, when I stared for a while at my blank computer screen, the cursor blinking annoyingly, but, frustrating as those days were, I saw the issue as something more akin to laziness than to whatever people meant by Writer’s Block.
And then I hit a wall.
It happened in the midst of a complicated novel. Suddenly all of my usual strategies weren’t helping. I couldn’t move forward in the narrative. I couldn’t figure out what should happen next. I didn’t understand what I was writing or why I was writing it.
I had Writer’s Block, is what I am trying to say, and I had no idea how to break through.
Because I am a writer and because it is what I do and because I can’t imagine doing anything else, each day I parked my butt in the chair. I set my timer and counted my words… and most of those words sounded crappy.
My daughter bought me one of those adult coloring books for Christmas. It had been sitting on my desk unopened for months, and one day, during a particularly stuck writing day, I opened the book and started coloring. The activity was strangely mesmerizing. My mind went joyously blank, no longer thinking about whatever plot-hole I’d been messing with or the idiotic bit of dialogue that I couldn’t get right. Instead, I was staring only at my marker, the intricate design, the colors.
Something inside me shifted.
Maybe it was the activity itself which reminded me of childhood. Or the mindlessness of the marker swirling across the page. Or maybe it was simply that I was giving my brain a rest. But whatever it was, the answer to my plot-hole popped into my head. The stubborn bit of dialogue loosened up. I knew what was going to happen next in my story.
Okay, I’m not saying coloring is the magical cure for all Writer’s Block, but the next time you’re stuck, pick up a marker. You never know. It might help. If nothing else, you’ll have a pretty, cool-looking colored picture to show for it.
Looks like I need to dig up some of those adult coloring books I have lying around. Thanks Jody! If you want to win a copy of Jody’s book Thin Space hop on over to our giveaway.
From our shelves to yours,
Erin and Jody