Dale Launer


A Simple Cure for Writer's Block.

But there was a time when trying to write - trying to be creative - was difficult and painful. So painful that I almost had a nervous breakdown.

You don't have to do that.

Not with my Simple Cure for Writer's Block .

And it's painless. Not just painless, it's fun. I can't promise it will work for you, but unless you're severely clinically depressed it might not work. But then again, it might cure that.

Because, you see, writer's block IS a form of depression. You're stuck, you can't move, you can't seem to write your name, let alone a story.

Sound familiar?

Let me tell you this - everything is gonna be all right. Come along...

The first you're going to have to do is to bear with me on a central conceit - which is what is creativity ? And more importantly - How does it work? I'm gonna tell you.

Here's what I think it is. Creative act take two parts of your personality.

1. The Child.

2. The Parent.

The Child is the part that simply sits down and plays . Just has fun. That's what you did as a kid - no responsibilities, no financial worries, no one to impress - just play . Fingerpainting is a good analogy - because you just get your hands dirty with paint - and you move them around - it's a very elementary creativity because you're smearing and smooshing paint around with little consequence - because it's fun.

And then you stop. And take a look at what you did. And you immediately critique your little masterpiece? And you get an instant gut feeling Is it Good? It is Crap? Whatever judgment you make - it is The Critic in you - which I sometimes call The Parent.

The Child is the pure artist. He/She Who Creates.

The Parent is the one who judges - "Is it good?"

I call it the parent because our critical analysis generally starts with our parents - that little voice that says "Uh oh, I'm gonna get into trouble..." or "I'm a worthless piece of shit." You know where that voice comes from.

As a writer you come up with stuff - dialogue, plot, whatever - with a different hat than you do when you read your work. Two stages.

In my 20's - my critic was well-developed - a muscle-bound impossible-to-please critic. A little too loud, a little too strong. A cynical dialed-up and pegged to auto-trash attitude that I'm gifted - I just can't write. That's because my parent/critic side had formed and evolved ahead of my artistic side. And this can freeze you up for life and you'll never write. But having a strong critic is good - if you didn't you'd end up writing crap and not knowing it. That's a real career stopper.

And when that happens - when your critic is bigger than your artist? You try writing, then you read it, and beat yourself up. It isn't pretty. Nor is it fun. In fact, it can be unbelievably miserable. And if that critic is loud enough and strong enough - you can beat yourself straight into clinical depression.

Or writer's block. When you can't write - it's not because the well has gone dry - which is one of two great fears exacerbated and encouraged by the internal critic - that either you never had it, or you had it and it's gone. If you have the right habits the well never goes dry.

So what are those habits? Let's deal with the dark side.

If you're feeling negative in your life - if you just seem to see the fly in the ointment, and no ointment. If everything in life doesn't seem good enough - you don't like your car, or your record collection, your haircut, your house, your love, pretty much everything just...ain't...right. Nothing is good, nothing's right and certainly nothing is perfect . You can't even imagine a nice thought without your imagination involuntarily slipping in a tsunami in the distance.

If this sounds like you - you're depressed. You might seek therapy.

But for now, for the writing part of your depression - here's the cure.

You're gonna tell your internal critic to SHUT THE FUCK UP. Tell them to go away. Take a break. Because you're going to write, and you're going to...have FUN. FUN. Some serious fun.

You are to write, and you are to make it playful. If you're stuck on a part - don't think about it - that's what got you into this in the first place - just start writing, don't stop, allow yourself to just run free, go forward, indulge yourself and enjoy writing, enjoy creating - put yourself into overdrive and go off on a wild-ass tangent and know that whatever you do - you don't have to keep it. Just push hard, go fast and have fun. Don't be afraid to write some crazy shit - in fact that's the place you should go - go overboard, take it to the limit and go over the line, break the speed limit, turn the meter off, just make sure the critic is off duty. Let your story go someplace different, ridiculous maybe, or too dark, or something - just get over the barrier and keep going.

You may have a hard time unwinding. Maybe a drink or two, a hit off a joint. Shake it up and roll the dice.

Just sit down and write...and write...and write. Nothing bad is going to happen.

The point is - writer's block is a dynamic where your critic has become a pumped-up, sand-in-the-face kicking steroid freak that has the inner child so spooked they won't come out and play.

Some of the funniest stuff I've ever written has been preceded by a voice that said "You've gone too far" - only to reconsider it and leave it in. And to think it might have gotten nixed because some asshole deep inside me didn't have the foresight to see a good thing when they were supposed to.

Yeah, go beat up your critic. It will be liberating.

That's it. Now go out and have some fun.




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