Dead Ends, Part 3: Guest Post by Robert Hruzek

This post is brought to you by my good friend Robert Hruzek.  It’s a blogging experiment based on a 3 part series published simultaneously at 3 different blogs.  Read on!


[Note: This here post, as it says right up there on the label, is Part 3 of a 3-part series (finally!). The topic is “Dead Ends”. To read Dead Ends, Part 1 or Dead Ends, Part 2 (highly recommended, if I do say so myself), please click on one of those cute little links.]

The Curse of the Deadline

Have you ever faced a writing deadline, and found yourself completely at a loss as to what to write? Do you break out into a cold sweat when facing a blank computer screen?

Are you frustrated that you and your muse never seem to have the same working hours? And what about Mary Lou? (OK; I made up that last one about Mary Lou.)

Well, take heart, Bubba; you’re not alone. Rest assured these and many similar situations have faced every writer who ever lived since the art of writing was first invented sometime around the 4th millennium.

Yup; I think we can all agree that sufferin’ from writer’s block is a lot like the fella who took this photo must’ve felt. You can’t go right, left, back or forward. All you can do is come to a complete stop, and then Bubba, you’re stuck!

So you’re probably askin’ yourself, “Alright, wise guy; what am I supposed to do when I hit a dead end while writing?”

It’s a fair enough question, and just to demonstrate how smart aleck I am, I’ll give you my answer in words of one syllable. Are ya ready? Get out your pencils folks, ‘cause this is gonna be worth writin’ down. OK, here it is:

You… stop (sound of coming to a screeching halt).

A Simple Technique

Hey, I’ve been there. I’ve spent literally hours sitting in front of a screen or piece of paper and agonized over just what the heck I wanted to say. We’ve all done it, right? But I ask you; why do we put ourselves through that?

I’ll tell ya; although I’m not the most experienced writer out there (far from it!), one thing I’ve discovered is that the best thing I can do when the ol’ muse takes a coffee break is to take one myself. That’s right; I get up, move around, read the paper or a favorite book – hey anything that will jog those little grey cells will do the trick.

Personally, I’ve found that reading a favorite book or playing a game with Mrs. MZM is a great way to get my mind out of the circular rut it’s in. It never fails; while I’m busy doing something else, sooner or later it all clicks (sound of clicking noises), and then suddenly the whole thing falls into place!

This post is a case in point. Up until the moment I started actually writing, I had no idea what I was going to say. I mean, it’s not that I was rushed; I had almost a month to work on it!) But lo and behold, in the process of doin’ other stuff, one day it just… hit me! (sound of dull thud)

Hey, if you’re like me (and sincere condolences if you are) then once that happens, you’d better get me in front of a keyboard, ‘cause Bubba, whatever’s in there is comin’ out! (sound of terrified scream)

So if you find yourself suffering from a bit of writer’s block, then in my opinion, one of the best things you can to do is (and you can trust me on this) stop trying. Go do something else. Let your subconscious mind do its thing while you keep busy (or heck; even catch a nap). You’ll be surprised how such a simple thing can completely change your writing life!

Trust me, it really works!

What About You?

Have you ever experienced writer’s block? What did you do? How long did it last, and what was the trigger for how you broke through (assuming you did)? Care to share your favorite block-busting techniques with the rest of us?

We’d love to hear ‘em! Just take a moment to pop ‘em in the comment box. We’ll leave the light on.


This is part 3 (finally!) of a 3 part writing experiment inspired by my friend Joanna Young. Looking for the other two parts of this experimental blog series? Hey, no problem! Just follow these links:

Dead Ends, Part 1 (at Middle Zone Musings)

Dead Ends, Part 2 (at Scrambled Toast)

Dead Ends, Part 3 (You just read it, Bubba!)

Photo: Dead End, by Robert Hruzek

Robert Hruzek

Robert Hruzek is an ordinary fellow with an extraordinary sense of the absurd. Apparently back when talent was being allocated, he missed his helping of propriety and ended up with a double dose of a sense of the ridiculous.

Fortunately (and before his head exploded) he found relief from the dreaded SHINE (Seeing Humor In Nearly Everything) Syndrome through his writings at Middle Zone Musings.

Don’t worry ‘bout a thing, folks; he’s feeling much better now.

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25 Comments

  1. Brad Shorr · · Reply

    Hi Robert, Getting away from the work helps me, too. Chores around the house, running errands - anything where I don’t have to think too hard. Once I mentioned to Robyn McMaster that when I got stuck on a crossword puzzle and left it alone for a while, the answers would magically come to me. Robyn said there is a chemical explanation for this. Our brains think through problems even when we’re not consciously using them for that purpose.

    Brad Shorrs last blog post..Still Time to Win $500

  2. Middle Zone Musings » Dead Ends, Part 1 · · Reply

    [...] Dead Ends, Part 3 (at Confident Writing) [...]

  3. Christa Allan · · Reply

    One afternoon, in a fit of frustration following fruitless days [anyone need alliteration today?] and before I threw my laptop into the fireplace, I vented to/at the screen?

    Two pages of single-spaced, angry, whining, confusion laced with fear, gleck.

    Then, she appeared, a character with a piece of a story. . .

    Christa Allans last blog post..FACES IN THE CROWD: Reaching across cultures for Christ

  4. Karen Putz · · Reply

    I do remember a time when I was really frustrated with my writing- I decided to stop and take a hot bath. In the middle of reading a book and munching on some chocolate, I suddenly realized what I wanted to write. It wasn’t a pretty site, me sitting at the computer with a towel wrapped around me and dripping wet hair.

    Karen Putzs last blog post..When Life Vanishes in a Flash

  5. Robert,

    I think you have hit the nail right on the head. There appears to be little point in continuing in a non-productive state of mind.

    Personally, I go for a two minute jog down the street, and then come back to it with a fresh perspective.

    Andrews last blog post..Guest post from Brad Shorr

  6. Robert Hruzek · · Reply

    @Brad - A chemical explanation? What is this, the 60′s? (Just kidding, Robyn!) :-D

    Hey, that’s how it works for me. Oh, well; I guess that explains all those voices in my head!

    Robert Hruzeks last blog post..Dead Ends, Part 1

  7. Robert Hruzek · · Reply

    @Christa - I might have to try that technique next time I’m stuck. Sounds like yet another way to get the ol’ little grey cells shaken up a bit.

    But remind me to sit a little farther away from you when you get angry! :-D

    Robert Hruzeks last blog post..Dead Ends, Part 1

  8. Robert Hruzek · · Reply

    @Karen - Hey, I thought this was a ‘family’ blog? :-D

    I know the feeling, though. It’s not unusual for me to get that “EUREKA” moment, either; and at the most, er, importune times, if ya get my meanin’.

    Robert Hruzeks last blog post..Dead Ends, Part 1

  9. Robert Hruzek · · Reply

    @Andrew - Hey, I like that! Next time I hit a dead end I’ll, er, visualize myself going for a 2-minute (oh what the heck; since we’re merely visualizing here, let’s make it a 30-minute) jog!

    Wow, I feel better already! Thanks, Andrew!

    Robert Hruzeks last blog post..Dead Ends, Part 1

  10. Lillie Ammann · · Reply

    Robert,
    I’ve followed the trail of bread crumbs around the Internet to read all your posts. Now I think I’m ready for that coffee break. :-)

    Seriously, good advice in all the posts and a lot of fun chasing after you.

    Lillie Ammanns last blog post..Seven Things I’m Thankful For

  11. Robert Hruzek · · Reply

    Thanks, Lillie! Hope it didn’t get too tiring with all that running around and everything.

    Go fix that cuppa now…

    Robert Hruzeks last blog post..Seven Things I Am Thankful For - A Writing Project

  12. Sorry, Robert,don´t know what you are talking about. My problem is the TIME BLOCK, i.e. too many ideas in my head and too many things to do for getting them to the screen!

    Ralphs last blog post..How to cope with aggressive outbreaks

  13. Robert Hruzek · · Reply

    Wow, good for you, Ralph! I, on the other foot, usually have to struggle to come up with ideas. But I’m gettin’ better at it. (I think.)

    Robert Hruzeks last blog post..The Generosity of Others

  14. Hi Robert, thanks again for the guest post and handling all these comments - much appreciated. I am still laughing at the fact that I inspire you to write about dead ends :-)

  15. Luke Gedeon · · Reply

    Ralph, Maybe you and I should donate some of our ideas to Robert and see what he does with them. Not sure it would work, though. By the time you have written enough to transfer the idea, it is already too late. Your brain won’t let you not finish it.

    Luke Gedeons last blog post..Save the environment and eliminate traffic jams by building more cars!

  16. @Brad, much to learn from Robyn always about how best to get our brains to work…

    @Christa - hello and thanks for stopping by, especially with such an alliterative comment!

    @ Karen, what a great visual, thank you!

    @ Andrew, you’re right, we need to work out how to cut our losses and let go of unproductive states. That being said you’re still unlikely to find me out jogging!

    @ Lillie, thanks for following him round and back to here. You just never know what he’s going to get up to next!

    @ Ralph, it might still help to stop and get away from the screen, because the ideas are all pressing down too hard and too fast for you to be productive. You need to find a way to reassure the good ideas that their time will come, and pick just one who’s allowed your time and attention - and I’d think the only way to do that is to get away from the work for a while… Or do you have other tricks you’ve learned?

  17. Luke Gedeon · · Reply

    Robert,

    Glad to see that this series of posts did not lead to a dead-end. I thought for a minute you were going to lead us to the End of the Internet http://www.shibumi.org/eoti.htm.

    Luke Gedeons last blog post..Save the environment and eliminate traffic jams by building more cars!

  18. Robert Hruzek · · Reply

    @Joanna - That IS kinda funny. But I promise - it’s not you; it’s me. :-

    Robert Hruzeks last blog post..Dead Ends, Part 1

  19. Robert Hruzek · · Reply

    @Luke - Y’know; I always wondered where that was. Now I know! Thanks, Luke!

    Robert Hruzeks last blog post..Dead Ends, Part 1

  20. Robert, Luke, I’m glad this isn’t the end too :-)

    But what a great link…!

  21. I used to have a very strict deadline and always afraid that I cannot make through it.

    However, after I changed my job, the deadline wasn’t the biggest thing, as my recent company always said that, “Quality over quantity!”…

    wilsons last blog post..The Secrets of Acai Berry is Waiting For You to Reveal it!

  22. Wilson, I heartily support the idea of quality over quantity in writing!

  23. Robert Hruzek · · Reply

    @Wilson - Amen to that one from me, too! Just putting out quantity leads to mediocrity, if you ask me.

  24. [...] Hruzek brought us all to a shuddering halt with a guest post on Dead Ends.  This was part of a 3-part writing experiment, with linked posts at the Middle Zone and another [...]

  25. [...] Dead Ends (Part 3) (now who could resist a title like that?), 3 Keys to Powerful Writing and the unmissable  Two Simple Steps to Writing with Authenticity [...]

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