Overcoming writers block and being stereotyped into a genre … by Casey Carlisle

When your path is obstructed, dig under it in a futuristic tunneling machine, fly over it on your dragon, or will it into non-existence with your psychic powers….


In a recent discussion with an interviewer for an upcoming podcast, I was asked how I overcome writers block, and if was I afraid of being typecast as a YA Author. I thought I’d share some of my ponderings here and leave it to other writers for comment; what do you do to blast away that creative geyser? How many of us write in more than one style? Granted keeping within a certain demographic for marketing is beneficial for the dollars to come rolling in, but does that satisfy your inner muse?

For me, the key is to ignore the fear of switching to another project when inspiration for the one you’re working on dries up….

I feel you don’t have to get stuck writing within a single genre for the rest of your career – write about what ever takes your fancy – it’s all practice and helping to hone your skill as a writer. If stepping too far away from your signature style raises issues with your publisher or fans, there is always the option of publishing under a ghost name, right? Or simply the satisfaction of having vacated ideas out of your system, knowing it will never see another set of eyes than your own?

Interspersing your writing with short stories and blogs acts as a pallet cleanser for me – allowing the cerebellum to take a brief hiatus from the subject matter, all the while still flexing its IQ muscle, before returning with a fresh take to pick up where you left off with renewed vigor. Those small projects also add a sense of accomplishment, reinforcing the satisfaction from pulling a piece of literature out of the ether and jotting it down on paper (or the computer screen if you will).

I don’t think I will ever stick to a certain genre, certainly I will repeatedly return to my favorite, a comfort zone where I can let my freak flag fly, but essentially I crave variety and will occasionally meander to invent a new reality in the written word.

I always find it somewhat annoying, and amusing, when asked what types of books I write, or what are they about… do you have a spare day or two? A short answer will never satisfy or truly capture my work; I live eat and breathe the world inside the pages, growing with each keystroke. It is all consuming, and to sum it up in a few sentences feels insulting. No-one ever wants a long diatribe of your characters, arcs and plot line (they’ll read your book for that)… but that is exactly what writers have to create. We all need a blurb, a teaser, a summary, something to hand over to marketing and publishing professionals, hopefully with enough zing to get your masterpiece on the shelves to reach the masses. I’ve found the best solution to help me with this challenge is to ask my beta readers to write their own versions of blurbs: the results can be so left-of-field and exciting.

So my old noggin is always churning out prose, scattered among way too many projects, but over the years it has enabled me to keep the flow, and stick to a routine of writing daily. No more staring blankly at the screen waiting for inspiration.

The whole notion of being typecast for my writing – well I gave up worrying what people say or think about me in high school. If a finished work does not look like it will gel with my existing brand, then it’s like to add another brand! I like to think about reaching for the stars, it can only take you that one step closer to something extraordinary.

My biggest problem now is not having enough time… that and cake. Yes there is never enough cake!


© Casey Carlisle 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.