Writer’s Block is something most writers deal with, in one form or another, and it’s something that’s been plaguing me these past couple months. It can take on many forms, from a lack of motivation or time to paralyzing indecision with regard to where you want your story to go.
The first step to defeating writer’s block? Deciding that you HAVE to write SOMETHING, regardless of the block. The next step, of course, is figuring out how.
I’ve gone over some of my anti-block techniques in my post about winning NaNoWriMo. Here’s what works best for me:
- Don’t Stop at a “Good Stopping Point” – this is more a technique for preventing writer’s block before it happens. If you stop writing at a “good stopping point” then the next day you have to come up with a new scene or a new direction from scratch. Instead, stop yourself in the middle of a scene, in the middle of action, so that the next day you can start with that momentum.
- Write Only What You Feel Like Writing – so you’ve stopped writing in the middle of an action scene, and it’s time to pick up writing again today. But maybe you’re just not in the mood for action? Maybe you just want your characters to chat over a cup of tea. Maybe you want to describe the scenery in incredible detail. Maybe you want a character to go on a wild rant about dragons or krakens or medieval politics. DO IT! If you’re stuck on what you think you *need* to write that day, move on to something else. That action scene will still be there later, and that conversation over tea might turn into a central plot point.
- Don’t Be Afraid to Write Multiple Versions – if you’re at a crossroads and not sure which direction your story should take, feel free to experiment. Just choose a direction and go. Maybe you’ll wind up at a dead-end. Who cares? Discovering what doesn’t work for your story can be just as valuable as figuring out what does. Give yourself permission to make mistakes and backtrack until your story feels right.
- Unleash A Little Chaos – sometimes it’s easy to get caught-up in the outline of our story (if you’re a planner) and we end up feeling caged-in. The creative juices just stop flowing. In this case, throw in something crazy that your characters have to react to. Trap them in a horrible storm, attack them in a dark alley, have someone fall horribly ill. I know, authors can be real monsters sometimes.
- Alternatively, Outline Your Story – if you’re a pantser, sometimes it may help to make an outline for a change. Know you don’t have to stick to that outline, but it can help organize your thoughts so you can figure out where you want your story to go.
What tactics do you use to beat writer’s block?