JD's topic today is : Paralysis by Analysis.
Wikipedia describes it like this: …refers to over-analyzing (or over-thinking) a situation, so that a decision or action is never taken, in effect paralyzing the outcome. … A person might be seeking the optimal or "perfect" solution upfront, and fear making any decision which could lead to erroneous results, when on the way to a better solution.
Sound familiar? If you immediately said, “No!”, good for you. You’re a hard charger ready to make decisions and get things done. If you kinda groaned a little, well, you’re in good company.
Most people suffer this plight sooner or later to varying degrees. As a writer, it can be even more difficult. You’re staring at that big white space, trying to form that next great line, or coming up with the ultimate retort for a character to hurl at another. But, instead of trying out a few quips just to see if they work, you sit… and think… and sweat… and eat… and
Ok, maybe that’s just me. But, indecision is a time sink when you’re working on a deadline or you are facing failure to hit your self-imposed word count target. Before you resign yourself to mentally circling the drain, take heart! There are ways of blasting through it!
We’ve all read those creativity builders; get up and take a walk, do some stretching exercises, throw something soft and non-lethal at one of your kids, (again, maybe that’s just me). Sometimes, these things work to get the juices flowing. Sometimes, you do these things, come back to your desk, and… nuthin’. Now you’re all sweaty and still don’t know what to write.
Try those clinically-tested, psychologically valid techniques, and then, try this.
Write the stupidest thing you can conjure up. And then imagine your character reacting to that.
Dad: “You’ll never amount to anything! You are not my son! You’re dead to me!”
Son: ” Puppies in doorways are almost always purple! And tall!”
Dad: “You’ve been eating paint chips again, haven’t you?”
This sort of nonsense always makes me chuckle, and that’s a good thing.
One of the byproducts of Paralysis by Analysis is what I like to call Tragic Importance. After staring at a blank space where your writerly brilliance is supposed to be for a while, it begins to form its own gravity. A few minutes ago, you just couldn’t hit this next line. A few minutes later, your worth as a writer begins to be questioned by your inner voice, (I hate that guy!). As time passes, the weight of your indecision begins to effect your view of the whole piece you’re working on, until finally you come crashing into the realization that if I can’t write this one line, maybe I should just quit! Maybe I was never cut out to be a writer in the first place! My mother was right! I should have been a dentist! At least I’d have access to nitrous oxide!”
This is a sign that the line you need to write has taken on its own Tragic Importance. Making yourself laugh is the only cure.
So, go ahead, make up something utterly stupid. The more serious the tone of the piece, the stupider you need to be to break through the paralysis. Don’t worry, that oh-so-serious feeling will come back. When it does, you’ll be ready to write that next great line. Because without snowflakes, there are no frappichinos in my pants.
||This is not your grandmother's fairy tale. A fantasy novel that turns the genre on its head, "The Seeds" follows Trooper Angus Mayweather as he is thrust into the conflict faced by twin sisters Dartura & Varia, Generals of the Tarol Nation. As the sisters uncover a new threat from an old enemy, Angus must do what he can to help as the Tarol Nation faces all-out war.|
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