Saturday, August 18, 2012

August is Awesome Because of Odessa Black

Today's awesome guest is one I'm compelled to follow on Twitter.  She packs a lot of humor into 140 characters.  Her tweets completely derail whatever train of thought I'm on and lead me down avenues of belly laughs and utter amazement.  

Following her has at times been like putting total trust in a blind tour guide that doesn't speak any languages you know.  But the destination is unimportant.  I follow for the fine company and journey.  

And of course, her awesomeness is magnified by the fact that she lives in the same awesome state I do.  Give Odessa a big welcome and follow along as she takes you through her journey to find the cure for writer's block!


Beating Writer’s Block
and other Writing Tips
Odessa G. Black

Writing doesn’t always come naturally.

Have you ever perused through a work and thought, “What a seasoned and educated writer. I bet he never has writer’s block!” I guarantee you, he probably has. It actually took me days to find the inspiration to piece together this blog. I got so frustrated that I almost swore off writing altogether. I couldn’t believe the subject matter I so wanted to write on was the thing I was having the most trouble with.

Which inspired me.

It’s not so bad when one writes for fun and has a case of the horrid dead fingers and numb mind, but what should one do when faced with a deadline and writer’s block hits?

Take a second to laugh at all the things I did to get past the infection:

1. I made cupcakes, of which a stray cat found its way in my kitchen and ate five of the 24.  (I live in the country and left our door open because the landlord hasn’t yet fixed the washer drain so we're running a pipe out the kitchen door to wash clothes. We poor writers have to start somewhere!)  So...

2. I walked in the rain. It wasn’t lightning, so I was safe. Staring at an open laptop where a flashing cursor taunted me to almost madness led me outside when I heard the rain on the metal roof. Mind you, to do this, I had to scale the piece of gutter pipe we’re using as a washer drain hose. My feet took me--through a puddle of soapy mush—down the dirt road behind our house to the barn. The sounds of nature were relaxing but a few rustling things in the bushes and unfamiliar sounds behind some hay bales sent me back home before any really good ideas blossomed in my mind.  So...

3. I did chores. I know I should have tried to relax, but the frustration at having had writer’s block had enveloped me, so I’d banged my broom against every corner, sloshed water all over everything and learned how to fold all of my clothes so they would fit into one drawer by watching some chick on YouTube. (Watch this video…it really works!  So...

I’m normally the expert on what works the best, but then I get hit with this dreaded disease. As you can see I am easily distracted with interesting but stupid stuff that pulls my attention from what I need to be doing. Chores normally soothe me and help me focus, much like Zen.  So I had been avoiding my laptop for weeks other than to check Twitter, Facebook occasionally and to research tips about how to beat this writer’s block monster. All the articles I came up with seemed cliché. I’d heard them all before.  So...

4. I developed a twitch in my right thumb. That’s my overstrike thumb, or younger folks might call it their space bar thumb. Seriously. I went to the doctor and asked her why I suddenly had a thumb I couldn’t control. She answered, nerves. So, avoiding the problem had caused me a neurological twitch. Wow! So finally a few days before my article was due, I decided to try something that was just out of this world, something that just couldn’t possibly work...

5. I opened my laptop and began writing. I used something I had told others to use before but I hadn’t practiced what I’d preached. It is the second part of Newton’s first law of motion. What is sent into motion will more than likely stay in motion as long as something doesn’t interrupt the motion such as an aggravating internet video of a woman showing you how to fold your underwear into a one-inch by one-inch square or your washing machine blowing water all over the floor because you didn’t connect the gutter pipe correctly with Hello-Kitty duct tape.

So, all in all, if you start, you normally will keep going. Sure, you may have to edit out some unneeded material about your crappy landlord that might not flow, but in the end you will have a polished work that will have come from simply putting your fingers to the keyboard and setting Newton’s law of motion into effect. Try it. It might just work and save you an unneeded twitch.

About Odessa Black

Odessa Black is awesome!
I recently finished my bachelor's degree in psychology. I crunched four years education into three years so I could get into my character's heads. Maybe I wanted to understand myself a little better, considering my characters are in my head. Confusing? See why I took the classes?

I'm a mother of four, which leads back to the need for psychology classes. I live on a farm in the middle of North Carolina where we say, "If you don't like the weather, just wait a few minutes..."

Odessa blogs at:
and tweets from @WritersBlokHead


  1. Hello Odessa, nice to meet you. I do believe in writing to overcome writers block. As you said you may have to delete some stuff, and you may need to work on a different project, but the words will flow.

    1. Sometimes the process of actually writing will loosen things up a bit, even when every word you're forcing is throwaway.

  2. I don't pressure myself to write. I jot down a few ideas and come back later and just go for it.

    1. Outlining during writer's block works well! Or making maps. Or research. Or even editing. All give me a sense of progress even when drafting is a challenge.

  3. The treadmill and the shower. That's what is working for me now.

    1. The shower works well, or driving. Usually inspiration waits to strike when I'm unable to jot down anything.

  4. I always tell people to just keep writing. Write something. Anything. If you're stuck on your article, write something else.

    So you majored in psychology, huh? Did you come out of it with more voices in your head? :)