Ah, writer’s block. The bane of every author’s existence. Like the common cold, at some time or another we’re all gonna get it. How do I deal with it? I talk to myself. No, really. I do.
Sometimes, when that blank screen is glaring an empty vast void of white back at me, I just have to get away from it. No amount of staring and growling and whining will make it fill with pretty black letters that any human will be able to understand, much less enjoy reading. So I run away--but not empty handed.
I take off with my handy, dandy digital voice recorder and go where I can talk to myself and people won’t think I’m crazy. Driving out into the country and back is usually a good bet. I don’t have to worry about traffic and the only things that see me are the cows in the fields and they could care less if I’m babbling to myself. This gives me an opportunity to let my mind wonder. Call it verbal stream of thought. I head down the road, thinking about my characters and their story and then start talking. Usually it starts out with a lot of “ums” and “uhs” and “no, that’s stupid” but it’s not too long before the good ideas begin flowing. And boy, once I get going, it’s like a landslide. I’m jabbering a mile a minute and there’s no way I’d be able to type that fast if the scenes and dialogue were coming to me while I’m sitting at the computer. Often, I take a mental road in the story I never would have taken if I’d been sitting on my butt instead of DWB (Driving While Brainstorming). When I play it back later, not all of it makes sense and I sound like the biggest hick on two legs. But mixed in with all dead silence and incoherent ramblings I often find the gem of what I needed to get the story going again. It may be a diamond in the rough, but that’s what second drafts are for.