Writer’s Herpes (formerly the Blah Blah Blah Trick to Writing a Blockbuster Novel)

(Blah blah blah.)

I started this blog a few weeks back with good intentions and a promise that I would write something (almost) every week. I made that promise because it’s extremely important for people in this line of work to show some consistency and motivation and a desire to be good at this by working on it EVERY DAY. I may not blog every day, but that’s exactly how often I need to write to make sure I’m adding to my overall word count, making progress on my half-dozen or so in-progress books, and allowing myself to constantly learn and grow as a writer. It’s like any job. If you want to be good at it, you have to do it a lot.

(Blah blah blah blah blah.)

That’s why I write every day and I blog every week. Unfortunately for most authors, there are some days – and weeks – where you got nothing. Absolutely nothing. Twiddling your fingers, browsing on the internet, staring at a blank page (HEY!) nothing. And even worse, this happens A LOT. Sometimes it’s writer’s block. Sometimes it’s laziness. Sometimes it’s procrastination. Whatever you call it, it’s keeping you from being productive.

(Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.)

And even worse, when you accept this lack of writing, it turns into a disease that you just can’t shake. Like herpes. In fact, let’s call this Writer’s Herpes, just to make it sound appropriately ominous (NOTE: this is NOT the ‘sticking your quill in some dodgy ink’ kind of herpes*). One day of slacking off turns into DAYS of slacking off. You start to find any excuse you can for not writing, usually under the pretense that you don’t have the inspiration today to write fantastic prose, ignoring the fact that most writers spend 364ish days a year unable to write fantastic prose (hello, good editing!).

(Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.)

So what do you do when Writer’s Herpse threatens to strike?

Well, that’s when you use the Blah Blah Blah trick.

(Okay, enough blahs)

Step 1 – sit down in your writing area and take hold of your writing utensils.
Step 2 – write.
Step 3 – if you’re sitting in your writing area, wracking your brain for some insightful prose to ingrain into the human lexicon for all of history, and nothing’s coming…


No, you go to:
Step 4 – suck it up and write some words down on that paper/blank screen/papyrus/sheepskin. Even if those words are crap. Even if it’s a meaningless, stream-of-conscious jumble of gibberish (look for this in an upcoming post). Even if it’s just…

wait for it…

Blah blah blah.

The very act of typing, no matter what you type, sometimes starts your brain juices flowing, and gets you thinking about some aspect of the story you’re trying to write. And even better, writing down a procession of crap is INFINITELY BETTER than writing NOTHING AT ALL. It does something extremely important in the writing world. It gets you to actually WRITE!

Even though I call it the blah blah blah trick, I typically don’t write those actual words. I have done it a few times, but what I usually end up doing instead is writing some other scene or some background details, or just general notes on the characters or the location or the event happening in the book. Maybe I’ll spend some time thinking about the sequel (there’s usually one coming with my books). It’s all ‘Writing’ in one fashion or another, and even if it isn’t actively getting me closer to finishing my book, it’s at least keeping me somewhat productive during my ‘writing time’.

And it does something else that’s REALLY SUPER IMPORTANT. It keeps me from relying on the old excuses of “writer’s block” or “I’ll do it after I finish this” or “I just don’t have it today. I’ll write tomorrow, instead.” Once you start letting excuses like that take hold, they don’t let go. They spread, and itch, and probably seriously affect your love life.

Writer’s Herpes.

So don’t get herpes. Write some crap instead.


*thanks to Alistair McIntyre for his always-opportune jokes about venereal diseases. Keep ’em coming, buddy!

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