So you can’t write. :-/ You sat down at the keyboard, saw the blank page, and did one of the following:
- You FREAKED out and got scared that you didn’t really have anything to say. So you ran away from the keyboard and got busy with something else.
- You started typing and then started criticizing your words until you were too badgered to continue. You got up from your computer and limped away with your tail between your legs. (Been here too!)
- You typed and typed and then looked at the word count and was like… “THAT’S ALL?! WELP…”
- Or, you started typing, were on a roll, and then realized that your story was going straight to Nowhere’sville at 1000 mph, and you got frazzled and stopped.
Yes, I know your pain, boo. Because I’ve been to ALL these dark and terrible places. But I’ve also found my way back out of these places, and I’m here to help you do the same. Introducing my fantastical, fool-proof ways to crush the F*CK out of writer’s block!!
I’m going to give you the first 5 tips today, and then next week, we’re going to get more intense with the remaining 5 tips.
(Notice, though, this post gives you a light and airy, #chill way to crush writer’s block. Meaning, that you don’t have to actually do any hardcore writing. For now.)
So what’s the first #chill way to crush the F*CK out of writer’s block?
1. THE “SOMETHING NEW” METHOD
Go do something fun, new, and / or scary. And then write a quick (or not-so-quick) journal about it.
As the delightfully infamous Shonda Rhimes tends to say: “Say YES to doing something that scares you.”
And I can’t agree more.
Some of the most exhilarating and emotionally powerful experiences come from trying new things and facing our fears! From flirting with that cute barista to starting a blog, from traveling abroad alone to even taking a swimming lesson, every single one of us has a fear (or multiple fears) that we avoid on a daily basis to maintain our comfort zones. But by challenging our comfort zones and pushing boundaries, we invite ourselves into a new threshold of emotional experiences.
And as we experience new emotional arcs, growth, and depth it becomes way easier to transfer those experiences to our characters. Our experiences make their experiences more real.
2. FIND THE MUSE IN THE MUSIC
Music is one of the quickest routes to the soul and to human experience. Use it to your advantage.
I have to tell you, when I hear Sam Smith’s “Writing’s on the Wall”, my heart is literally rendered in two. Every time. I LOVE that frickin’ song. The music is dramatic and soul-wrenching. The lyrics are poignant. And Smith’s singing literally lifts you into another world. “Writing’s on the Wall” makes me think of two people, standing back-to-back, literally fighting the entire world to win, for each other.
I wrote some of my best scenes in my The Books of Ezekiel series while listening to this very song (and if you read up to book #7 (The Final Descent) when it comes out you’ll know exactly which scene I’m talking about)!
So I want you to create the ultimate “Writer’s Block” playlist, and use it to find instant inspiration for whatever scenes you need to write!
3. BE THE POPCORN PIMP(TRESS)
Collect ALL your favorite books, movies, TV shows, short stories, and more in the genre you want to write, and just CONSUME.
This is the ultimate excuse to kick back and relax while also hanging a huge “WORKING” sign on your door. And I’m dead serious. Studying your craft, learning about who and what came before you, immersing yourself in story, and mastering your genre through art study is SO FRIGGIN’ IMPORTANT to being a badass writer.
Personally, I like to focus on books and movies. I choose books and movies that I pretty much worship, want to emulate, or have a sincere emotional connection to. Consuming these— and seeing how my idols and mentors have executed their dreams and visions on the page and on the screen— gives me some great ideas and really gets me amped up to write.
The only danger in being a Popcorn Pimp is that you’ll substitute writing for “studying” with the excuse that you’re working. And you are. You are working, but you also need to be writing. Being a popcorn pimp or pimptress isn’t just about studying the craft. It’s also about putting that werk in them wordstreets, son.
4. BUILD YOUR CREATIVE DOJO
Take writing, craft, business, and marketing classes that will both educate and inspire you to get out, take action, and hustle your way to your author dreams!
Even if you are writing regularly and hitting your word counts, sometimes you’re just feeling plain ole overwhelmed and worn out. When this happens to me, I put the laptop down and replace it (temporarily) with bingeing on a series of vlogs, podcasts, sound bites, interviews, classes, movies / tv shows / animes, blog posts, etc., that are related to what I want to do!
For me, hearing about writers, artists, filmmakers, and others who are successfully doing what I want to do (and against great odds, nonetheless) really gets me revved up to go.
Don’t underestimate the power of watching others climb to the top. It will motivate you to do the same. For one, it cracks open the loneliness that sometimes comes with being a writer or creator. Secondly, watching others hit the milestones you want to hit is just plain ole inspiring! It shows you that it can be done, and that you can do it too. It’s sort of like watching porn to warm up a cold sex drive. Seeing the, uh, artistic imagery gets your mind open to the variety of— erm— possibilities, so to speak. Lol.
Not only that, often these artists are sharing invaluable pearls of wisdom and actionable tips. AND ALL FOR FREE!! It’s just up to you to take this knowledge and apply it to your craft and creative business.
4. CHOOSE YOUR SECRET SENSEI
Pick 3-5 artists whose careers you want to emulate and study literally every single thing they’ve done, are doing, and will do.
This may look a little cray cray on the surface, but in reality, this is an excellent way to crush your writer’s block and skim a little inspiration off the top as well! While in doing exercise #3, you’ll find some super inspiring stories, you’ll want to look for some heavy hitters who can unofficially become your senseis as well.
Mind, I’m not telling you to go and bug Joss Whedon about being your mentor. But, I am telling you to choose a few heavy hitters like him, who are super successful in their genres, and who you want to emulate. From there, you are going to study their careers, their life stories, their uneven and asymmetrical paths to success.
You are literally going to make them your secret sensei, of sorts. Long-distance and non-stalker stylez.
5. GET VISIONARY.
Create a career plan, vision board, and a ridiculous goal list for your career as an author, filmmaker, or creator in general!
One of the easiest— and most awesome-est— way of getting inspired to write is to envision and plan your career as a writer. With your eye on a goal that inspires you, it’s a heck of a lot easier to keep on your writing path and crush your blocks. And when you feel stuck, doing a visionary exercise will shake up your routine, get you to be more engaged and tactile, and break the monotony.
There you have it! An entire #chill as hell arsenal of activities and worksheets to help you crush the F*CK out of your writer’s block like a G! But stay tuned, I’ve got a SECOND article and yet another arsenal of writer’s block activities that are more intense, more involved, and just insanely #NOchill. So keep your eyes peeled for the second and final installment of the Writer’s Block post series, “10 Badass Ways to Crush the F*CK Out of Writer’s Block, Part II of II: The #NoChill Method”!
In the meantime, what are your secret weapons to crushing writer’s block? Any secret sauce swag any of us should be on? Drop your thoughts below! I’d LURVE to hear from ya! Write on, rock on, and, as always…
I See You Trollin.
You Tryna Catch Me Writin’ Dirty!
– A Colby R Rice & Chamillionaire Collaboration.
With an apt re-appropriation of Chamillionaire’s lyrics and catchy beat, we delve into the dark realm of trollery. But never fear, good comrades, we doth not need stray into such a grim and treacherous journey alone. We have each other, my dear cheerful compatriots, as well as our shields of good humor, our pen-swords of justice, as well as ales of courage to make hearty our inner strengths!
No, but seriously, how DO you deal with trolls? First of all, before we go about describing how to slay a troll, let’s discuss what a troll actually is.
What’s a Troll?
Let’s start with the New Oxford American Dictionary definition:
Troll |trōl| noun: a mythical, cave-dwelling being depicted in folklore as either a giant or a dwarf, typically having a very ugly appearance.
Strangely, enough, although this definition reaches into the deep and dark warrens of antiquity, it is still a very apt description of what we understand a “troll” to be in modern times. Other kinds of terminologies, such as “hater”, “bug-a-boo”, “cynic”, “pessimist”, “loser”, “douche bag”, “petty VIP”, and a whole host of other very colorful but explicit monikers can be used to describe this creature in all its complexity and lol-inducing beauty.
The History of the Mighty Troll
Trolls have been around since the beginning of time. Even Jesus had to beat the trolls off. He will go down in history as one of the most famous troll hunters of all time, in fact, a martyr to the cause of goodness in a dark world. Trollery is a problem that humanity has had much trouble solving, as trolls are the most timeless and resilient creatures on the face of the planet. They’ve survived wars between Greek gods, the extinction of the dinosaurs, the bubonic plague, all forms of pestilence and woe, the advent of Raid— I mean, holy hell, these fuckers are nearly impossible to kill.
Trolls: A Darwinian Analysis
They also evolve extremely quickly. Whereas in medieval times, trolls were a bit more gangster and would come out of their caves to eat little children, trolls do understand that in modern times, people (and children especially) carry mace. So with the advent of modern technology, these creatures of the abyss have evolved. Somehow, thanks to capitalism (and partially due to Apple’s back-to-school discount programs), they all have gotten hold of Macbooks, tablets, and Android phones, and they have decided to bring their trollery into the 21st century with straight prejudice, telecommunicating their terror and angst from the safety of their caves. Their sole purpose is to destroy and devour everything. ANYTHING. And oftentimes, innocent civilians get caught in their paths of destruction (this is intentional on the part of the trolls, fyi).
Trolls: A Behavioral Analysis
Trolls tend to target people who they deem socially weak, undesirable, unlovable, or simply, they target people who are actually doing something positive and constructive in their lives. The last offense is the one most egregious and offensive to the troll and his stinkery. In truth, he hates his cave (or bridge, in other cases). He hates his life, his warts, his lack of success— he hates and doubts everything about himself (or herself), and he wants you to hate and doubt life too. So, he comes onto your webpage, your YouTube videos, your webinar (whatever he can get his grimy little fingers into without sliming his keyboard) and begins the volcanic eruption of his self-hatred all over your internet space. He writes insults, sexist or racist comments, poo-poos your ideas without any critical insight, or is generally just a hater who loves to criticize rather than critique.
How to Hunt and Expel Trolls
So getting to the point, how do we defeat this onslaught of trollery and negativity? Well, here are four old wives’ tricks and tips I’ve found helpful:
1. Be Smart!
Speak intellectually and logically. If a troll has something nasty to say, address it, don’t attack it. Ask them “how would you improve this product/book/your face?” Logically point out the weaknesses in his argument or critique, and request that the troll say something constructive. More often than not, this will kill trollery in its tracks. Why? Because trolls simply get perplexed by the idea of producing something positive or constructive. When challenged to do so, they will simply limp away from the confrontation confused, breathing morosely through their mouths and dragging their ugly knuckles behind them.
Or, in other cases, they will go into what I call “berserker troll” mode. As your intelligence has overloaded their tiny brains, they will need to let off pressure and emotion. The common troll knows no other way of doing this except to go berserker and “troll out”, which may be expressed by ranting, raging, becoming violent, drooling, and spouting nonsense. At this point, the only viable solution is to hit the “block” button or ignore them. They will go away eventually.
2. BE POSITIVE. Then, IGNORE and RELEASE.
I call this outpatient troll therapy. Sometimes, trolls just need to be disciplined and loved all at the same time. Being happy and upbeat will help these poor intellectually-disfigured creatures, and it will also help you look like a social media rockstar. You should even thank the troll for its contribution. Then, make sure you let the comment go. All too often, we allow our self-esteems to be deeply wounded by a wayward troll. We blame ourselves or we might even think our work and our voice isn’t good enough, so we stop climbing the ladder of success! Don’t stop. Instead, ignore and release this troll’s hateration. Always remember the natural instinct of this boggish creature: to spread cock-jerking negativity. It is a troll’s natural calling and pleasure to bring misery and woe, just like it is your natural calling and pleasure to be creative and be fabulous. Let nature, fair and foul, take its course. Release.
3. Continue being successful, and EMBRACE trolls as a sign of your success.
The only thing a troll invasion tells me— other than that a wave of cyberfunk has cast its shadow over my holy land— is that I’m doing what I’m supposed to do: being awesome as fuck.
The opposite of love is apathy, ladies and gentlemen, not hate. “Hate” is still a passion, and one that provides a troll’s intrinsic motivation to live. The troll can not live apathetically; he can only thrive where certain issues strike the chord of passion in him. He just chooses to channel his passion through his ass rather than through his heart. So, take it as a compliment.
The fact that someone is paying enough attention to you to even kick-off some troll shit on your page speaks volumes (positive volumes) about the quality of your work and about your success (or potential for success). Keep shining. The trolls will come, but keep shining nonetheless.
4. Please spay and neuter your stray trolls… by not becoming one.
Trolls aren’t like puppies and kittens, where people actually want them in their homes. So these unfortunate creatures roam the cyberstreets, pick a certain cyber-corner, and, instead of being cute and chasing its tail to catch the loving eyes and hearts of passersby, they attack the villagers. In their hearts, they understand that they are not lovable creatures, and this anger and frustration becomes vitriol that the troll ultimately vomits on the masses.
We need to reduce the troll population.
But how? Well, I already told you that they have survived Man’s worst plagues and pestilence, so “how” is a legitimate question.
Well here’s the key: you see, “trolldom” and “trollery” isn’t like going to the Land of freaking Mordor. There is no external physical journey to trolldom. Also, trolls, those sneaky bastards, are able to hide beneath human flesh! So really, probably about 1 in 100 people you pass on the street are actually trolls in hiding.
Trolldom is actually an infection of the soul, a disease of the inner being, a blight on one’s internal happiness and fulfillment. The sad fact is that 95% of trolls were not even born trolls. They actually became trolls through the poisoning of their happy spirits by other trolls (that I call “carrier trolls” or, in the cases where the trolls are actually parents, “progenitor trolls”). Some of these “carrier” trolls were bullies in high school, terrible parents, other bloggers who have an axe to grind, bad dentists, unpublished or unproduced creators who love to hate— I mean the list goes on and on. Therefore, it is our duty to spay and neuter trolls, and the only way we can really do that is to not become trolls ourselves. Stay positive and keep your head up, and you are just that much closer to reducing the size of the troll kingdom.
So these are MY four different ways to deal with and even slay trolls, but what are your ways? What kinds of situations have you faced wherein you’ve had to call in the troll-hunting calvary? Come forth, my mighty troll-hunters, and share Ye Oldest of Troll-Slaying Tales. And of course in the meantime, keep it badass.
From your fellow troll-hunter,
<3 Colby R Rice