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Vomit Your Bloody Guts Out

Katie Davies

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Have you ever been in the process of writing your novel with a momentum of The Orient Express (the train or the novel, whichever works for you) and suddenly your prose gets derailed because you can't think of a word to say? Have you ever had the moment where trying to continue your narrative is more painful than having a tooth removed? Ever had the dreaded writer's block?

I've faced this problem many, many times, not just in novel-writing, but also in nonfiction-, poetry-, and everyday-writing. Most of the time, I've let this problem overwhelm me and let it fade away by not doing anything about it. For me, overcoming this obstacle was hard because not only could I string together a coherent sentence, but I also didn't want to face the possibility that anything that I would write in this moment would be some of the worst crap you would ever have the displeasure to write. For me, writing crap was way worse than not writing anything at all, so I did the latter and felt somewhat satisfied. 

However, I have learned one thing you must do when you find yourself in this scenario: word vomit. Word vomit until you feel like your literary diaphragm is sore. Just think of word vomiting as clearing a block in your drain: if you keep applying pressure to the blockage/the crap that comes out of this blockage, the sooner it'll be cleared so that your prolific prose can get right back on track. Don't worry about what you're writing about being crap because knowing that what you write in this moment of writer's block will be absolute garbage should help you continue forward.

So, when you find yourself under the terrible curse of writer's block, open a blank document, open your notebook to a new sheet of paper, grab your favorite average-pen or pencil, and word vomit until all of the toxicity in your writing system is out. Force yourself to write about anything: where you think your character's journey is going to go, what you had for breakfast, how you feel about what's going on in your life, just a stream-of-consciousness ramble, anything your mind draws itself to the most. Then once you feel like your system has been purged and the words start coming to you easier and easier, get back to your magnum opus and continue to make it magnificent.

Sure, getting up and doing something else can be helpful in moments like this, like taking a walk or eating something to re-energize your system or watching some videos of cats doing cat things online or taking a nap, and you should do that in your personal necessity for self-care, but if you feel like you can write, write until you vomit your bloody guts out.

*In hindsight, y'all probably knew this already, but I just thought it's good to be reminded of these things if/when you're in the thick of it. ?

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