Friday, October 17, 2014

Football and Writer's Block

   I have found myself in a bout with Writer's Block. I just cannot find the motivation or the ideas to write anything. Instead, I've found myself far too easily distracted by football (American), or television, or podcasts. However, that got me thinking and I came up with an idea I've never seen done before (but it probably has been): Football and Writer's Block.
   See, in football there is something called the line of scrimmage. That is the line where the football starts at every play. At the line of scrimmage there are two lines: the defensive line and the offensive line. The offensive linemen are trying to stop the defensive linemen from tackling the person holding the ball. Thus, in this analogy the line of scrimmage (and the various blockers located there) will form the place of Writer's Block in this analogy. This might be a little confusing for nonfootball fans, so I'll attempt to explain and keep it simple.
   See, sometimes when serving as the offense or defense the blockers just seem to get in the way. No matter how hard I try I just can't seem to get fend them off or get around them (depending which side I'm on). This is exactly how it is sometimes with Writer's block. That's why I've come up with 5 ways to beat it.
   1. Push
   The first way is pretty simple. It is merely to keep pushing. This may or may not get you through. Sometimes, it just takes hard work and perseverance to defeat writer's block. Unfortunately, that doesn't always work. That's when it's time to try a different tactic.
   2. Juke
   In football there is a move known as a juke. This means to dart quickly to one side, so as to throw the blocker (or anyone, really) off the trail. For a writer, sometimes this means to look at the story from a different angle. Try throwing in a twist or change perspectives in an attempt to get the story flowing.
   3. Look for the Hole
   When the offense wants to run the ball instead of throw it, the offensive lineman attempt to form holes in the defensive line in order to allow the runner through. However, the runner must still see the holes in order to run through them. This is a useful tactic as writers: look for the place where the story would naturally flow. If the tactic if throwing a twist in or a change of pace doesn't work, then try to look for where the story would naturally go. What is the motivation of the main character? What action would he/she take with that motivation? Thinking of the story with those aspects in mind might be helpful in defeating writer's block.
    4. Look Ahead
   In a passing play, the offensive line will form as blockers, leaving the person throwing with plenty of time to look for the receivers. If done correctly, the passer should be able to keep his eyes on the receivers down-field and not look at the defensive lineman at all. As authors, the idea of looking ahead can sometimes be helpful. In your story, what is the place where you think it will resolve itself? Keep your eyes on that goal, then make sure to set up and keep pushing toward it. Fun stuff can be thrown in along the way, but that resolution should always be the ultimate goal. Keep your eye on the end and it might be helpful in giving you ideas in how to get there.
   5. Punt
   In football, punting is when the offense cannot continue driving forward. The remedy for that is to kick the ball down-field, giving the opposing offense a longer distance to cover before they can score points. For authors this can be one of two things. It can be taking a break from writing in order to clear your head. This can be helpful, as long as the break doesn't become a form of avoiding the writing. The second way punting can be used by authors is to get rid of the story entirely. Some stories just aren't meant to be written. As sad as that is, sometimes writers just need to get rid of the story and start something new. This should only be done as a last resort and not literally destroyed. Sometimes working on something new can take your mind off the strain and you'll actually come up with ideas for the blocked story again! Therefore, not deleting things is a good idea (I know this from experience).

There you go! That's my football and writer's block analogy. What did you think?
Do you have any ideas for defeating writer's block? (Or any favorite football teams)? Comment below and tell me what you think!


  1. This. Is. BRILLIANT! I love the analogies!

    And the Green Bay Packers, all the way. ^_^

  2. Thanks! It was fun to do. Some of the descriptions were a bit tricky.

    Packers are great and, as cheesemakers my family owns a cheese-head hat. However, growing up in Steeler Country, I've always been partial to the Philadelphia Eagles.