Tools – Writer’s Block Breakers

Writer’s block can strike anybody, anytime. This menace has been attributed for the death of many a budding career. I know people who claim to have been blocked for years. Here are some ways to move past it.

Look at it another way. For me, getting stopped on a project indicates that I went the wrong way and need to backtrack. Something else was meant to happen there. The character was telling me their story and I either stopped listening and started trying to fill in what happens next myself, or I wrote it down wrong. Either way, they won’t keep talking till I go back to where it was working, and try again from there.

Jump the gap. If you find that you know about another scene farther in, but can’t get there from here because you don’t know how to answer a question or resolve a problem in this scene… just remember that there isn’t any rule that you have to write it all in order. Jump to the bit you do know about, and you will probably find that it’s easier to connect it up later.

Start a whole ‘nother project. While this can become an epidemic in its own right, if you find yourself plagued with occasional writer’s block that you can’t get out of, this is a good idea. Many writers work on two projects at the same time, going back and forth from one to the other, to keep things supple.

Have something stupid happen. Blocked in your eighteenth century mystery novel? Bring in a spaceship full of aliens blasting away with lasers. Yes, you’ll have to change it later, but if it gets you going again, that’s fine.

Ignore the rules. For many, writer’s block is about the shoulds. I should have done twenty pages today. I should have been writing perfectly. This story should be going along in this direction. I should be able to figure this thing out, dammit! Please kill all shoulds. Instead, recognize and remember that you started doing this because it was fun. Do some writing that IS fun, whatever that might be. Listen to your characters talking, give the guys in the basement a break, take the muse out to supper, whatever your writing metaphor might be. Relax.

I hope these are helpful! Let me know if you can think of any others.


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