Who else has been there? You’ve got this great idea. You know why you’re writing, who you’re writing to, and what the general outline looks like. The words are flowing out your fingers like ten firehoses goin’ strong. Then, THE WALL. Perhaps you have no idea how to get from awesome Item B on your outline to awesome item C. Maybe your great idea for a novel turned out to be a short story…a very short story. Or maybe Duck Dynasty, Candy Crush, or another munchies run is simply the path of least resistance. You’ve got writer’s block. Dun dun dunnnnnn.
Given the depth of some of the subject matter in Healing Hereafter and the fact that I was usually writing between the hours of 10pm and 3am, I got blocked a lot. I still marvel how 4 hours could go by and all I had accomplished was writing a few sentences or revising a few paragraphs! Frustrating yes, but obviously it didn’t deter me from finishing. So what did I learn to power past a literary Tim Duncan that might help you avoid the block too?
1. Stop trying to write and have some creative fun with your block.
Get up off your chair, away from the keyboard, and just brainstorm. Pace around the room and entertain (yes, even out loud!) creative ways to get to the next great plot point, expand the story or a character, or rearrange the book to make more sense. It’s worth the time it takes to get excited to write better to avoid the frustration of forcing a suboptimal story.
2. Pick somebody’s brain.
Whether it’s a friend, fellow writer, or reviewing a book you researched for yours, others’ words and ideas have a way of bridging our blocks. Obviously, you’re not out to copy them, just to get thinking in a different direction.
3. Make a movie instead!
Well, kind of. A great way to detail your outline to make it more fluid and force you to fill in the blocking blanks is to write a rough script of your book, or even storyboard! This makes you decide at least what settings and conversation topics each scene would have, which helps the story become more continuous and sensible in your mind, making it much easier to write.
Any other handy hints to share? Best of luck getting unstuck! 🙂