Monday, April 16, 2012

Writing 101: Writer's Block

It happens even to the best of writers: the dreaded block. It can strike without warning, and it can last for a long, long time. So how do you deal with writer's block? Waiting it out isn't really an option, so you've got to find a few tricks that might shake that creativity loose again.

Facing Writer's Block

Only you know when you've got it. For many writers, even admitting to writer's block can be a problem. If you've spent several days on one particular scene, or can't seem to get motivated to write even after several days, you might have writer's block. It's okay to admit it, because you've got to confront it if you're going to beat it. And there's lots of ways to beat it.
  • Begin at the beginning. Stumped by a story? Go to page 1 and start reading. Read it not like a writer, but like a reader. Let the tale re-engage you, and read all the way up to the point where you're stuck. By the time you get to it, you may have new energy and motivation. Simply reading where you've been can help you figure out where you need to go. 
  • Study your outline. If you don't have an outline, you should. Refer to your outline when you get stuck, and you should have a guide to follow. When you know where the story needs to go, it's a lot easier to figure out how to write it. 
  • Walk away. Stress can make it hard to write. It's possible that you're blocked because you're over-thinking your plot. Take a break from your work for one or two days, and do something absolutely not writing-related. Play a game, go on a short trip, visit with friends and family -- do something else.  After your break is over, come back to the story with fresh eyes and a cleared mind and you may find that the block is gone. 
  • Work on something different. If you're not feeling the same passion for your project, it might be because another project is on your mind. Go ahead and work on another book, another idea, research notes for an entirely different work, whatever. After a few days, you may find yourself thinking of your blocked story again. Sometimes, just getting back into the flow of working -- even if you're working on something else -- can help you overcome the block. If a certain story is completely blocking you, start working on a different story to get back into the habit of writing.
Writer's block isn't a joke. Many great writers can suffer from this malady for months or even years. Be willing to try every trick in the book to overcome the issue. Remember that it doesn't matter what you're writing...just that you are.

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