I Think I Have a Bad Case of “Whatchamacallit” by Debralee Mede

Imagine this:  A most evil, malignant and immortal wizard who throughout his villainous reign has plagued some with fear by acting like a “raging psychopath and sadist deriving pure amusement by inflicting pain on others.”  He does so without remorse: “killing Muses, oh, I mean Muggles, just for fun.”  Now is this J.K. Rowling’s Voldemort or is it someone else.  Is there another atrocity lurking about waiting to destroy Muggles, I mean Muses?  What or who is it that attempts to consume the genius and imagination of his victims by temporarily restraining them?  What or who ultimately destroys the inner muse so that his writer is consumed by an inability to work leading to his abandonment of his career?

Okay so I am speaking of Writer’s Block, or the character in the Harry Potter series known as Voldemort?   But like the character in the Rowling series, this annoyance should also go unnamed.  This, like Voldemort, is “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named” because naming it makes it more real, gives it more power and then makes it come to life.  Like a child saying that he has a tooth ache in order to avoid going to school he may come to believe that he has a toothache.  Once at the dentist though a miracle occurs: he no longer has pain and can’t even remember which tooth was painful.

Some causes for this malicious malady include: a biochemical problem causing misfiring in the person’s brain chemistry (yes, there are studies being done on this); a writer just not being ready to write due to unforeseen circumstances like a health issue; a writer trying to compose the work mentally without writing new ideas on paper and then forgetting; a writer feeling like they have to be perfect; a writer fearing that their current work will be the last they can ever produce; and a writer accepting undue and excessive criticism about their writing.  Some ways that they express this include: struggling to find topics to write about; struggling to make time to write; they may self-edit excessively or just stop writing all together.

Now for the cures, but remember these are some tat have worked for me. There are many. Just keep trying until you find what works for you.  A good deal of my ideas have come from two books that you can get easily at a bookstore or local library: Steven King’s “On Writing” and Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way.”  Cameron’s book is very helpful especially with what she calls “morning pages.”  She says that it is important to get three handwritten pages done every morning no matter how you feel. By writing these pages first thing in the morning the writer can quiet their “inner censors” and instead, allow the “inner child to shine.”  She says that when the writer is able to reach their own quiet center, and go past the censor’s production of fear and negativity, they will arrive at the place of their triumphant selves.  (p12) What is interesting is that by doing this I find that I also manage to keep my promise to myself to keep on writing.  I also have saved these pages and have returned to them later finding material for future works.Steven King’s book “On Writing” is an excellent help for writers especially in this area.  The ones that I refer to the most are:Showing up; Keeping the door shut; Work Consistently/Write and Read a Lot; Don’t Care Too Much About What Others May Think; and finally Remember Why You Started To Write in the First Place.
  • Showing up: King says that you should establish a writing schedule that you can stick with and show up everyday.  :
  • Keeping the door shut:  Find a space you will enjoy being in, be sure it is well-lit, quiet enough; and be sure the door is closed to minimize interruptions.  King says that he plays loud rock music and then he can’t hear the distractions.  He does this while he is doing his first draft but the door is open with his final draft because “once you know what the story is and get it right — as right as you can, anyway — it belongs to anyone who wants to read it. Or criticize it.”
  • Work Consistently: Establish your working hours or parameters like writing a certain number of pages or for a certain hours per day.
  • Write A Lot: King says that in order to become a better writer you need to write so just write and don’t wait for inspiration.
  • Read A Lot: He says that reading broadens and deepens your knowledge.
  • Don’t Care Too Much About What Others May Think: King says that if you listen too much to your critics you won’t get much done.
  • Remember Why You Started To Write In The First Place:  you need to touch base with why you love writing.
So whether you are a Harry Potter fan or not, or you call this Voldemort, the Muse-Killer or anything else you chose, one thing for sure is that you have more than likely experienced this “You-Know-Who” in your writing life.  Drag out your Invisibility Cloak, Resurrection Stone and Elder Wand or try a few of these; either way destroy the evil wizard lurking over your writing who is trying to destroy your muse, your dreams  and get writing.Debralee Mede


About Susan Hanniford Crowley

Paranormal Romance, Fantasy, and Science Fiction Author
This entry was posted in beating writer’s block, creative writing, Debralee Mede, editing, fear, goals, Helping Other Writers, Recommended Books, Writer's Life, writer’s block and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to I Think I Have a Bad Case of “Whatchamacallit” by Debralee Mede

  1. Jamie Pope says:

    I write (or try to write) a thousand words everyday. I also read A LOT and make sure I set a deadline for myself. I feel like that helps me tremendously because I am one of those people who can’t be late for anything.Great post.

  2. Toni Andrews says:

    I try the “go somewhere else” method — get in my car and go to a coffee shop where I do not have access to my chores, cats, or countless other distractions. I love to write on airplanes, but don’t travel as much as I used to.

    If circumstances keep me at home, I UNPLUG THE CABLE MODEM so that I have no internet. Otherwise…

    • Debralee says:

      Yes Toni I know the feeling with the internet. It can be a huge distraction to me. I like the idea of changing my venue as well. It sounds like it really works for you. Thanks for commenting.

  3. Preach it, sister! No wi-fi, like Toni says. That’s been my savior. That, and The Place Where Only Writing Happens. I can do my other writerly duties at home, but when it comes time to crank those pages out, I head for my little office.

    • Debralee says:

      Amen Kristan! I like the idea of an office, a sanctuary for writing. I totally agree with the absence of wi-fi/internet and no phone would work too. Alleluia!

  4. Like Toni, I change the location. Generally if it is nice weather I will sit out on the deck for a while (not in winter of course). If I really have a “log jam” I go for a walk. Sometimes just taking some time to step away from your work, clears your mind and allows time for new thoughts to emerge.

  5. J. Gilbert says:

    I seem to enjoy distractions, running water, sounds of people passing by, or even the throaty sound of a muscle car on my street. I do agree with King keeping the door closed. Having someone try to strike up a conversation with you, or someone else who enters the room is a complete distraction. I enjoyed this article, keep them coming.

  6. Debralee says:

    Thanks for you input J…So a few distractions don’t bother you.. I appreciate your comment.

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