Blog Tour: Gary Ghislain

Today, TeachingBooks.net welcomes author Gary Ghislain as he stops by on his blog tour.

Writing comedy means writing jokes and funny lines page after page. Some days, you wake up, you drink a gallon of coffee, you do twenty push-ups, fifty sit-ups, and then you go and sit behind your laptop and … nothing. Nothing at all.

The jokes just won’t come, the funny lines won’t pop. There’s nothing you can do about it, really. It’s like a bad date, where no matter how hard you try, the girl won’t smile and then you spill red wine on her knees.

There were plenty of mornings like this for me while writing How I Stole Johnny Depp’s Alien Girlfriend (Chronicle, 2011). It’s not just writer’s block. It’s mood block!

I use the following three tricks to try to reignite the jokes …

First, I listen to really loud music until I can’t hear myself thinking anymore. I think writer’s block often comes from thinking too much. I’m thinking of income taxes, bills I need to pay, rooms I need to clean, emails I need to send, etc. These thoughts and worries stop me from getting into the right mood to write funny stuff. So, I use music to turn all those thoughts off. Especially movie soundtracks, R&B, and pop music. Dishes pile up in the kitchen. Dirty laundry gets dirtier. The phone’s ringing. I don’t care. Once I have my headphones and music by Hans Zimmer or Beyoncé or Lady Gaga at full volume, nothing really matters to me anymore.


Photo provided by Gary Ghislain, 2011

The second thing I do is draw. Whenever I can’t write, I do all sorts of sketches to re-organize the different sequences and events in my story. I find this very useful. Instead of just being frustrated with myself for not writing, I am able to take a step back and get a good panoramic view on my writing so far and on the writing yet to be done.

My last trick is to get away from my laptop. Computers can be very distracting. For me it’s Facebook, blogs, and Twitter. I have a thousand things calling me away like sirens in a virtual ocean. So, I pack a notepad, a few pencils, and some snacks and I escape to the beach or a park. After spending some time scribbling on paper, I’m back in the right mood. Then, I run back to my laptop, lay my plot sketches on my desk, put on my headphones and resume being funny.


Photo provided by Gary Ghislain, 2011

Hear Gary Ghislain pronounce and speak about his name. Listen Now


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