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Turn Off Your Reader

You’ve got writer’s block?


Have you tried turning it off and on again?

Your reader, I mean.

If you’re stuck and you can’t get your book moving—turn off the reader inside your head lest they destroy you and everything you want to stand for.

Here’s my theory about writer’s block (or at least one of my theories):

Our inner reader waits for us to build up a good head of speed on the writing bicycle—then sticks an immovable rod in the spokes.

What happens next?

Faceplant, that’s what.

A sudden stop followed by mild-to-serious concussion and stinging abrasions all down the front of your body, because our inner reader doesn’t like what it’s seeing, so it stops us in our tracks.

Because what our inner reader is seeing is our Shitty First Draft, and that’s not ready for eyeballs yet.

Not even our own eyeballs.

It’s hard to love a shitty first draft because it is, by its very nature, shitty.

If we give it a chance, though, it can turn into something wonderful—but we have to let it happen.

So—and I’m aware of how ridiculously difficult this sounds—try turning off your reader before you start writing because you don’t want them getting involved. Not at this stage.

Couple of ways you can do that:

  1. Drape something over your computer screen so you can’t see what you’re writing, then the unspeakable horrors of your early efforts won’t smack you in the face.
  2. Download an app onto your computer that makes your writing invisible once you’ve written it.
  3. Or, you know, use Word or Pages or something and change the font colour to match the background, so you write and write and write, but you can’t see it until later when you change it back.
  4. Speak your first draft into your phone’s voice notes app, then deal with it later.
  5. Video yourself creating your first draft in the medium of interpretative dance. (This isn’t as ridiculous as it might first sound—movement loosens up our brains as well as our muscles.)

Will this solve your writer’s block?

I have no idea. But it’s worth a try, right?

Sometimes this works for me, when the problem is that I can’t bear what’s coming out of my fingertips.

But sometimes the problem is elsewhere and you’ll need a different tactic.

Let me know how this one works for you, okay?

And if it doesn’t—well! This is exactly why I created my 90-minute Book Breakthrough Jams. Head to this link for more info.

Psst: did you know you can book a 90 minute Book Breakthrough Jam session with me to get your book started? If you’re stuck and would like my help to get going on your book again, click the button below and book a slot.

Notes in the Margin

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About the Author Vicky Fraser