From the seasoned one…

Today’s tip:  Writer’s Block

So every little while, I hear from people that say they are suffering writer’s block.  The question I have for you is why?  Instead of cursing the muse who has seemingly left you, ask yourself why you can’t write?  Are you on a section of the story that isn’t that thrilling and you’re having issues pushing through it?  Do you kind of know where the story is going, but not sure how to get there?  Do you have tons of ideas in the shower, but seem to forget them when you sit down to write?  Does the white of the blank paper or the cursor blinking in a blank Word Document seem to close your mind down?  Anything above sound familiar?

Having suffered from writer’s block myself, I’ve done some reading up on it.  Every blog that has ever dealt with writer’s block has said the same thing.  The only way out of writer’s block is to write.

The question is, write what?  I haven’t seen many answers on that.

To help out my new twitter/fanfiction friends, I’ve come up with a couple of ideas.  Are these tried and true methods?  Not necessarily, but they seem to work for me.

  1. As I said before, if you’re stuck, you need to ask yourself why.  When you know why you’re stuck, you’ll find it a lot easier to fix the problem.
  2. If it’s the blank page staring at you, give yourself a writing prompt.  Something short, intended only for you to get some words written on the page.  I have a tendency to go for silly in these situations.  So think of the funniest thing that has happened to you lately and write it down.  Now, apply that funny situation to characters in a story and rewrite it with them in it, embellish as necessary.  Even if it has nothing to do with your current story, it’s something you can always look back to later to give yourself a chuckle.
  3. Perhaps you’re stuck at a point in your story and don’t know exactly how to move forward.  Instead of staring in frustration at the blank page, and if you haven’t created one already, do an outline.  I love using Literature & Latte’s software Scapple for this.  It’s great for freeform mind mapping.  Once you have the major plot points on the screen in front of you, lines and arrows connecting the movement of the plot points, it’s easier to see where you need to fill in a hole.
  4. Back to being stuck at a point in your story.  If it is just the current section you’re struggling with, move on!  Write the next scene or even move further on and write out the third act.  Whatever is flowing freely in your mind at the moment.  There’s no rule that says you have to write a story from start to finish.
  5. Do you have a story idea juggling around in your brain, bursting to get out, but you’re ignoring it while trying to work on your current project?  That idea just keeps interrupting the flow of your work and driving you nuts?  Get the idea out of your head by starting a new document or write it out in a notebook.  Call it the story slush pile that you can return to later when you are ready for a new project.  I have a huge slush pile…some of which should probably hit the recycle bin of bad story ideas.

So, are you ready to write?  Go for it!  Anybody else have ways that have worked for them to get out of writer’s block?  Feel free to comment below and add to the list.

Until next time…

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