Monday, September 19, 2011

Plodding or Plotting Along

It's happened to all of us at one time or another. The dreaded WRITER'S BLOCK.

Dun dun dun duuuuuuuuuuun.

You totally got the shivers, didn't you? It's because, for a writer, there is nothing worse to productivity than writer's block. I think the cause of writer's block is different for everyone. Take me, for example. I'm a plotter, so when I get writer's block, it's not because I don't know what's going to happen next. It's usually because I'm just not feeling it. That could because my kid has a fever, I just opened the power bill, the dog barfed on the rug, or any number of things that would put me into a bad mood.

Unfortunately, when you have a contracted sequel to write, an editor isn't likely to care if you were having an "off" day. You're going to have to write despite those days when your brain is elsewhere. So what do you do?

I'll share my personal secret weapon with you. Granted, some of you already know about this program, but for those of you that don't, it's a lifesaver.

Write or Die

What is this awesomely awesome website of awesomeness, you ask? Let me break it down.

First, you can use the features on the website for free, or you can buy the desktop edition for ten dollars. I bought the program. Totally worth it. Next, enter the amount of words you wish to write and the time you wish to write them in. I usually put in 1000 words and I want to have them done in thirty minutes.

Next, select your consequence. You can choose "Gentle Mode" which will have little dialogue bubbles pop up on your screen and reprimand you if you stop writing. This option is for wusses. You can also choose normal mode which will play annoying sounds (like car horns and babies crying) if you stop writing. This option is for school girls.

Or *insert devilish grin* you can choose kamikaze mode which will delete the words you've written if you stop writing for several consecutive seconds. That's right. It. Will. Delete. Your. Words.

This is the only option I use because it's the only one I've found that can adequately motivate a mush-brain such as myself. And it works. Ohmigosh does it work. Now I realize that you're worried that the words written under such pressure are most likely going to be crap. And you're right--they will be crap. Complete crap. But that doesn't matter when it comes to writing what I like to call "The Zero Draft." All that matters is breaking free of the "I can't do this today" block and getting the words on paper.

So there's my secret. I'd love to hear yours. What do you do to break free from writer's block?

When Cole Gibsen isn't writing books for young adults, she can be found rocking out with her band, sewing crazy costumes for the fun of it, picking off her nail polish, or drinking straight from the jug--provided no one is looking.

Her debut novel, KATANA, will be available March 8th, 2012. For more information about Cole you can check out her


  1. Cole, this is pure genius! And I am working on the dreaded sequel, so very timely as well. I am definitely doing kamikaze mode. Thanks for the post!

  2. Love it - "the Zero draft." Wish I'd thought of it!

    I'll check this out, but I'll admit going in, I'm going for "school girl" mode. Seeing words disappear would send me into epileptic shock. (Or apocalyptic shock, as the case may be.)